Humpal played somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 percent of the game in Iowa's 3-4 defensive alignment, which was installed for the 2001 Alamo Bowl but used very little since then. That placed the sophomore on the field with stalwart linebackers Chad Greenway, Abdul Hodge and Ed Miles.
"Getting in there, you just make the best of it," Humpal said. "Playing with those guys, you don't want to let them down. You don't want to let the rest of the team down. You just get after it."
Humpal received some snaps during last week's win at Purdue when his team used the 3-4 on obvious passing downs. Saturday, with the Hoosiers throwing 57 times, Humpal settled in Leo position usually occupied by Miles, who then was sent in slot pass coverage.
"It's the same as in our regular defense," Humpal said. "We just have extra guy in there to help in pass coverage. That's about the only difference."
Often times, Humpal replaced DT Mitch King, leaving two ends and DT Matt Kroul on the three-man line. Last week, Humpal alternated with fellow LB Mike Klinkenborg, who missed most of Saturday's game after suffering an early concussion.
Humpal and Klinkenborg likely will be among the favorites to replace Greenway and Hodge next season. They've had three years to learn their trade.
"Watching film every day and going to practice and just observing what they do and just listening to what they say and kind of taking it all in," Humpal said of how he has bided his time waiting to start. "If they make a mistake, I just try to learn from it. If they do something good, you try to mold yourself after that."
ROOKIE ROUNDUP: A list of true freshmen in uniform on Saturday - Kanellis, Bain, Moeaki, Richardson, Greene, Stross, Wilson, Rowell, Jackson, Angerer, Doering, Kuempel, Bailey, Christensen, and Eubanks.
Moeaki received probably the most reps he's gotten this season. The tight end has improved his blocking skills quite a bit since the start of the season.
Richardson came into the game on the third offensive series. The Hawkeyes called his number when Albert Young ran to his side for a 31-yard score on that drive. Richardson didn't return until late in the fourth quarter.
INJURY REPORT: Backup LB Mike Klinkenborg left the game with a first-quarter concussion suffered on a special teams' play. He didn't return.
Scott Chandler took shot on an over-the-middle reception attempt at the end of second quarter. He returned.
Mitch King limped off of the field a couple of times on Saturday, including an exit with a pronounced hobble in fourth quarter when he favored his left leg. It appeared to be a cramp.
FILLING IN: Matt Melloy battled a fractured an ankle in the spring. After missing camp, he returned during the early season only to injure his quad.
Saturday, he became a regular member of the receiving rotation for the first time since last season. Ironically, the promotion came in large part because of an injury to Ed Hinkel last week.
"It's a terrible thing," Melloy said. "In football that happens; injuries happen. As a team you've got to keep moving on. I feel bad for him."
Melloy only started feeling healthy about two weeks ago. The senior never really worried that injury might cause him to never regain his place among the receivers.
"I was excited for the opportunity for it to arise, if it did arise," he said.
Melloy cashed in on that opportunity Saturday, catching an 8-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. He finished the day with two receptions for 23 yards.
ANSWERING THE BELL: After Indiana cut the Hawkeye lead to 24-21 early in the fourth quarter, several of Iowa's offensive players told each other that it was winning time.
"Brian (Ferentz) and Mike Elgin and Drew (Tate) and myself were on the sidelines saying, "We have to put it in. There are no ifs ands or buts, it's something we've got to do,"" Tight end Scott Chandler said "Albert (Young) had some great runs, and we put it in the zone."
The Hawkeyes drove 80 yards in four plays in a touchdown march capped by Young's 26-yard scoring run. Chandler got the surge started with a big 37-yard reception on second and 8.
"That was a play that we had been practicing all week," Chandler said. "I got one-on-one with the safety and Drew put it on me."
Chandler paced Iowa with four receptions for 87 yards.
EXTRA POINTS: Capital One Bowl representatives attended Saturday's game…Iowa used a timeout in the first quarter when LB Abdul Hodge had a helmet malfunction…during pregame warmups, tailbacks Damien Sims and Marques Simmons took most of the reps with the second team offense…Andy Brodell replaced Godfrey as the gunner on punt coverage…Brodell was credited with a partial block on a late second-quarter punt…Brian Ferentz was whistled for a personal foul on Iowa's first drive of the second half. The Hawkeyes responded with a 42-yard touchdown pass from Tate to Solomon on the following play…Marcus Paschal was called for a late-hit personal foul penalty on a receiver out of bounds…Officials hit Ed Miles with a personal foul call for a late shot on the QB in the fourth quarter…Shonn Greene played on kick coverage after sitting out last week with a shoulder injury. He dropped back with Young to return kicks after Sims fumbled on a return…Backup Iowa LB Zach Gabelmann delivered another of his bone-crunching hits on kickoff coverage during the third quarter…DE Kenny Iwebema came off of the field in the third period complaining to position coach Ron Aiken that he was receiving illegal hands to face moves from the Indiana offensive linemen…Young carried the tailback load until Sims replaced him late in the fourth quarter. Sims ripped a off a 30-yard TD run on his first and only carry…Iowa improved to 13-1 in October dating back to 2002. The Hawkeyes are now 22-2 during October and November dating back to '02.