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Peterson: Iowa football, Penn State injuries and Canzeri

[ 3 ] September 25, 2011 |

Jordan Canzeri

If Iowa chooses to proceed with its up-tempo offense when action resumes Oct. 8, it will play quickly against a Penn State outfit missing one top defender, and maybe another.

Linebacker Michael Mauti, the 3-1 Nittany Lions’ top tackler, is out the remainder of the season after tearing the ACL in his left knee during Saturday’s 34-6 victory against Eastern Michigan. Cornerback D’Anton Lynn was taken to a hospital after suffering a neck injury during the third quarter, and his playing status is uncertain.

Lynn can move all of his extremities,” coach Joe Paterno said after the game. “I think we’ve lost Mike (Mauti) for the year. He’s got an ACL. That’s two of our better players, but that’s the way it goes.

“I feel sorry for the kids. They’ve both worked awfully hard. It kind of takes a little bit off the win, but that’s the way it goes.”

It’s uncertain when Lynn will return, although newspaper reports say it’s unlikely before Penn State opens Big Ten Conference play Saturday against Indiana.

Iowa meanwhile, goes into its off-week knowing that it might not be as desperate at running back as some people may have thought.

While another dose of quick-paced offense dominated headlines after Saturday’s 45-17 victory against Louisiana-Monroe at Kinnick Stadium, tailback Marcus Coker’s less-experienced replacements showed bouts of brilliance.

“We’re all right,” Coker said of his understudies after the Hawkeyes improved to 3-1 with a week to prepare for the wounded Nittany Lions. “We’ve got guys who can play.”

The three who followed – Damon Bullock, Jordan Canzeri and Jason White — combined for 58 yards on 13 carries.

“We’re going to need all hands on deck,” coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Anybody can help.”

That included Canzeri, a 5-foot-9, 172-pound true freshman who showed considerable quickness during fourth-quarter 12-yard rushes on the first two carries of his career.

“Jordan gave us a little spark out there,” Ferentz said. “He looked comfortable and decisive.”

Canzeri’s bursts of speed drew considerable comment from teammates during post-game interviews.

“Oh yeah. Oh yeah,” said Coker, whose 113 yards on 18 carries included two touchdowns. “He’s fast, and he can break tackles.

“I knew he was physically ready.”

Players call safety Jordan Bernstine the team’s fastest runner, but is Canzeri possibly faster?
“I don’t think so,” Bernstine said with a grin. “He’s a fast little guy, though.”

Bullock, Canzeri and White are quick, while the 230-pound Coker sometimes plays with a fullback’s mentality.

“Coker – he’s definitely a tough guy,” Bernstine said. “He’s a big body.”

Coker is among the players who will use this week to heal, which in his case means rest for a shoulder he hurt early during pre-season camp.

“I’ll still practice like we’re having a game,” Coker said. “I’ve got to keep on working hard.”

The sophomore enters the week with 380 yards. He has 87 carries, and only seven tailbacks in NCAA I-A have more.

“He’s as tough as they come,” quarterback James Vandenberg said. “He takes a beating, not only when he runs the ball, but also blocking.”

Freshman Mika’il McCall was Coker’s immediate backup until breaking his left ankle during the season-opening victory against Tennessee Tech.

“We’ve been looking for a way to complement Marcus, for sure,” Ferentz said. “I thought we had that with Mika’il, but that kind of fell apart during the first week, so we’re pushing a lot of guys forward right now — and you’re never quite sure until a guy gets into a game to see what’s going to happen.”





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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Randy Peterson: Randy Peterson covers college football, college basketball and the Iowa Cubs for the Des Moines Register. Randy can be reached at randypeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter via @RandyPete View author profile.

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