Young Emerges From RB Pack

The season started with Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz talking about utilizing a running back by Committee approach. Albert Young canceled out that idea by showing his ACL repair had healed and his talents lifted him above the pack. Young talks about the committee idea, how he felt after 36 carries against Purdue, pain in the preseason that scared him, plus more in this Premium Feature by Senior Writer Rob Howe.

The Iowa football season started with fans, media and even head coach Kirk Ferentz talking about a running game by committee.

Albert Young appears to have shut the door on that idea.

The sophomore from New Jersey toted the ball 36 times in Saturday's 34-17 victory at Purdue. When you include receptions and kick returns, he touched the ball 40 times. He finished with 217 yards (165 rushing, 35 receiving, 17 returns).

"Credit goes to the offensive line," Young said of his big day. "Those guys were giving me lanes. I've just been taking advantage of it. The whole committee thing, you guys made a story out of that."

Actually, Ferentz did say his team would employ a running back rotation early in the season. He also said he didn't see anybody being able to elevate himself above the pack to become that feature back.

Perhaps Young caused the coach to view the situation that way.

"At the beginning or camp when I still felt pain in the back of my leg," said Young, who tore his ACL last season. "It didn't have anything to do with my surgery, but I was feeling something. Towards the end of camp, I was wondering how it was going to go.

"It sort of seemed like when game week came around, everything just went away and everything was good. Maybe it just had something to do with the excitement or the adrenaline. I didn't have time to think about it. But, there are no worries now."

Young ranks 22nd in the country with 98.33 rushing yards per contest. He has carried 95 times for 590 yards (6.21 per carry). He's had three 100-yard games this season.

In Iowa's opener, four different Iowa backs carried at least five times. Damien Sims (three) was the only other tailback to see action at Purdue.

"I felt it the next day, getting all of those carries," Young said. "That was definitely one of my longest days. It's something you expect, though, being a running back. The next day you're definitely going to be tight.

"During the game, you're mind is not thinking about it, and your body is still warm. When you go home to sleep and start to cool down, you get stiff."

Young said he averaged about 22 carries a game in high school. His biggest workload came during his final prep game, when he ran 42 times.

During media day in August, Young sounded pretty confident that he would emerge as the main ball carrier for the Hawkeyes. He wasn't acting cocky, just saying that's what all of the guys in the competition felt the same way.

Tuesday, he was asked why he rose to the top. He stayed humble and just smiled, saying, "Don't make me say anything that I'll regret."

As well as Young has performed, he still doesn't feel 100 percent recovered from his ACL repair. We'll likely see him get fewer carries against Indiana on Saturday (11:10 a.m, ESPN-Plus), especially if the Hawkeyes run away with the game early enough.

"I still feel OK in terms of cutting and everything," he said. "I still have a little ways to go. I still feel it here and there a little, but not enough to slow me down."

Young has been focusing on building up his breakaway speed, which has been the toughest aspect to regain after surgery.

"Each week I'm gaining in it," he said. "I felt it a little more last week."

Still, Young's longest run at Purdue was 13 yards.

"That's kind of short, but when you get a bunch of them, it's alright," he said.

BAD TRACK: Young was not impressed with the field conditions at Purdue's Ross-Ade Stadium. By game's end, huge chunks of turf were missing.

"There were times when I'd line up, and I'd see a big divot in front of me," Young said. "We were productive, but it felt like every time I was running I didn't have a good base under me. It always felt like I was stumbling the entire game. But we had 500 and something total yards, so we're not mad about that.

Young didn't anticipate field conditions being an issue in college.

"It's a shame, right? You expect that in Pop Warner or high school," he said. "I definitely didn't expect that in college. I thought all of the fields would be pretty well put together."

EXTRA POINTS: Iowa has won 13 of the last 19 meetings with the Hoosiers…The Hawkeyes are 7-8-2 all-time in games played on Oct. 15…Iowa has outscored its first three home opponents this season, 56-0, in the first quarter…Mike Elgin celebrates his 22nd birthday on Saturday, while Andy Kuempel turns 20…Iowa's only Indiana native is DE Bryan Mattison. Indiana does not boast any players from the Hawkeye State…Ed Hinkel is the only current Iowa player to start when these teams last met in 2002. The senior will miss this week's game with a broken arm…The Hoosiers rank 12th nationally in kickoff returns (26.92), while the Hawkeyes are 117th (13.5)…Indiana QB Blake Powers has tossed 18 touchdown passes in five games, ranking him third nationally…Hoosier freshman wideout James Hardy has caught 34 passes for 541 yards and seven scores.

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