EVANSTON, ILL. Sophomore running back Damon Bullock reminded the Hawkeyes what they were missing the past four games.
Bullock was back on the field Saturday for the first time since suffering a concussion against Northern Iowa in the third game.
He finished with 107 yards on 22 carries and caught five passes for 41 yards.
“It was great coming back out with the team, fighting with them,” Bullock said. “It felt great.”
Bullock started the season as the starter and ran for 150 yards against Northern Illinois and 53 yards against Iowa State before his injury.
He was expected to return several weeks ago, but suffered a setback in practice.
“I was doing drills, pretty much got hit in the head, and the rest of practice, I don’t remember it,” Bullock said. “My teammates told me a lot of things I was doing. I was doing some crazy stuff.”
Finally cleared, Bullock provided a lift after Mark Weisman — who replaced Bullock after he got hurt — left with an injury Saturday.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz didn’t get into specifics with Weisman’s injury. The sophomore sprained his ankle against Michigan State and played a limited role last week. He had 21 yards on nine carries Saturday.
For that reason, Bullock’s return may be even more important.
“It’s huge,” Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg said. “That was a positive for us today.”
HYDE AND SEEK: Iowa senior cornerback Micah Hyde has been taught to never give up on a play and it showed Saturday when he caught Northwestern running back Venric Mark from behind on a 72-yard run.
Mark blasted through a hole at his own 1-yard line and appeared headed for a 99-yard touchdown scamper when Hyde caught him from behind.
“It was just an effort play,” Hyde said. “Coach (Ferentz) talks to us all the time about doing stuff like that, try to turn a positive out of a negative play.”
Mark, who rushed for 162 yards Saturday, thought he had a clear path to the end zone.
“I didn’t know he was behind me,” Mark said of Hyde. “It was a huge hole and honestly I thought I was going to get to the end zone.”
NO REDSHIRT FOR OTT: Defensive end Drew Ott played for the first time this on Saturday. He entered the game briefly in the fourth quarter. Ott is the seventh true freshmen to play for Iowa this season.
“He did a good job in camp, but he’s steadily improving right now,” Ferentz said of Ott. “We just felt like with five games left, let’s get him in the water and get him swimming a little bit and help our team right now, which is certainly most important.”
Ferentz said Ott was receptive to playing this season.
O-LINE SHUFFLE: As expected, senior Matt Tobin moved from left guard to left tackle for the first time this season on Saturday.
Tobin was replacing Brandon Scherff, who went down with a season-ending leg injury against Penn State.
Sophomore Jordan Walsh got the start at left guard for Tobin, but junior Nolan MacMillan also took snaps there, and played most of the second half.
“They were both out there competing,” Tobin said of Walsh and MacMillan. “They both did well. We have a lot of confidence in them.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football