The Rob Report - Illinois

It turned into another day when the Hawkeyes lost running backs but won the game in Champaign. Senior Writer Rob Howe was at the contest and offers his news and views from the press box. He includes injury updates on Aaron Mickens and Champ Davis, sideline reactions from players and coaches, a shoving match between Illinois QB Jon Beutjer and a former teammate on Iowa, and much more in this premium weekly feature.


Aaron Mickens - Senior fullback left the game in an ambulance after a helmet-to-helmet hit in the first quarter. Early reports in the press box indicated that Mickens suffered a mild concussion, and some back and neck pain. The report also stated that the Texas native was awake and talking while being attended to by physicians.

Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz said that Mickens was well enough to travel home with the team. (Please see news and notes below for more details on the play).

Champ Davis - It appeared the sophomore running back took a shot to his right leg as he limped off of the field after a short run late in the second quarter. He left the field at halftime with a bag of ice on his right knee with the assistance by two trainers

He returned from the locker room midway through the fourth quarter on crutches. Iowa trainer John Streif assisted him back to the bench.

Ferentz said that it looked like Davis tore his ACL, becoming the fourth Hawkeye running back to suffer that injury this season.


Players in uniform for Iowa - Hinkel, Belleus, Miles, Christian, Mattison, Holloway, Jackson, Tate, Mickens, McMahon, Ferentz, Elgin, Jones, Gray, Allen, Johnson, Considine, Paschal, Greenway, Hodge, Lewis, Robinson, Luebke, Babineaux, Roth, Schlicher, Bradley, Fenstermaker, Brownlee, Champ Davis, Townsend, Sims, Phillips, Manson, Busch, Myers, Felder, Olsen, Grigsby, Bowers, Strube, Ausmus, Shelton, King or Moylen, Merrick, Gabelmann,, Spratt, Dawkins, Shada, Brevi, Godfrey, Majerus, Gates, Becker, Humpel, Plagman, Barkema, Iwebema, Eshareturi, Willcox, Chinander


Scary moment: Mickens spent about 20 minutes on the Illinois sideline after catching a first-quarter pass and colliding with Illinois defensive back Morris Virgil. The Iowa medical staff stabilized Mickens neck after helmet-to-helmet hit.

Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz walked over and appeared to be mouthing encouragement to his senior fullback as ambulance workers secured him on a stretcher and loaded him into the vehicle. Illinois Coach Ron Turner explained to his friend Ferentz what happened on the play.

The Coach's Arguments of the Day - It seems like officials find a way to irritate Ferentz at least once a week. Saturday's bones of contention came on a second quarter punt by Hawkeye David Bradley and an incomplete pass by Illinois Brad Bower later in the period.

It appeared an Iowa would-be tackler was blocked in the back on the punt. Ferentz ripped his headset off and barked at every official in earshot. No flag came.

It looked like Bower threw backwards pass that skipped out of bounds incomplete. Ferentz argued that it should have been a fumble.

Sims Sighting: True freshman running back Damian Sims entered the game for the first time on Iowa's opening offensive play of the second half. He caught a screen pass for no gain.

That a Way Holloway: Iowa senior Warren Holloway cleared a path to the end zone for fellow wideout Ed Hinkel on a 19-yard touchdown reception early in the third quarter. Holloway threw a crushing block on an Illini DB allowing Hinkel to cruise to pay dirt.

Holloway later came back with a huge first down catch on a third and long midway through the third period. He stretched out with several Illinois tacklers on his back, keeping alive Iowa's third scoring drive, which resulted in a touchdown.

On a related note, quarterback Drew Tate delivered a crucial block later in the drive on a reverse to Holloway.

Blockage: Miguel Merrick broke through the line to block a third quarter attempt by Illinois punter Steve Weatherford. The ball squirted out of the back of the end zone for an Iowa safety.

Hawkeye DE Kenny Iwebema returned the ensuing free kick by the Illini. Yes, you read that correctly.

Busch Wacked: Illinois broke through the Hawkeye blockers for a sack of Tate in the third quarter. Following the play, RB coach Carl Jackson walked onto the field and screamed at fullback Tom Busch.

There's a good chance that Mr. Busch missed an assignment.

He's a Beauty: Former Iowa quarterback Jon Buetjer entered the game for the Illini to start the fourth quarter. The Illinois native transferred right before the start of the 2001 season.

The Iowa fans at Memorial Stadium got a charge out of Beutjer's entrance, waving their arms and calling for the Hawkeye defense to get him.

Beutjer drove his squad the length of the field midway through the period, but the march was halted by an Antwan Allen pick.

Beutjer ended up engineering a touchdown drive in the final two minutes with Iowa in a prevent defense. He finished 12 for 25 for 129 yards.

On the final drive, Beutjer shoved Iowa defensive end Derreck Robinson after a play in which he thought the Hawkeye took an unfair shot at his offensive lineman. Robinson smartly walked away.

Home Away from Home: Of the 47,000 fans at Memorial Stadium, 6,000-7,000 were rooting for the Hawkeyes. A large group of Iowa fans clearly were heard cheering "Defense, Defense" in the contest's closing minutes.

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