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One Hawkeye stepping forward for more time at running back

[ 0 ] November 19, 2013 |

IOWA CITY, Ia. – Is Jordan Canzeri the answer?

For the past several weeks, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz has fielded questions about his running backs. Injuries slowed Mark Weisman. Inexperience limited LeShun Daniels. Inconsistency seemed to be an issue with Damon Bullock.

And then, Canzeri turned in a breakout performance against Purdue, rushing for 165 yards and a touchdown, while averaging 8.2 yards per carry.

So, is the 5-foot-9, 192-pound sophomore ready to carry more of a load Saturday against Michigan?

Nov 9, 2013: Iowa running back Jordan Canzeri (33) runs through the line during the second half at Ross Ade Stadium. (Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports)

Nov 9, 2013: Iowa running back Jordan Canzeri (33) runs through the line during the second half at Ross Ade Stadium. (Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports)

“Well, he’s certainly in the rotation now a lot more prominently than a month ago,” Ferentz said. “And then the other good news is, with the bye week, I think our backs will be fresher.”

The Hawkeye rushing attack went into an October lull, averaging just over 100 yards during a four-game stretch.

Canzeri, who at one point seemed to be Iowa’s fourth option, was the catalyst for a 318-yard rushing effort against the Boilermakers.

“I won’t say they’re worn down, but like our whole team, I think everybody gets a little bit tired as the year goes on,” Ferentz said of his tailbacks. “It’s a long season.

“Last week gave our guys a chance maybe to get their legs back.”

Weisman, who has dealt with a sore foot and elbow, still leads the Hawkeyes with 777 yards on 167 carries. Bullock continues to show flashes, running for 85 yards against Purdue.

But Canzeri has provided a jolt, starting three weeks ago with a 43-yard run during the third quarter of a 28-9 loss to Wisconsin.

That may lead some to wonder if Canzeri can be a featured ball carrier, letting Weisman become more of a short-yardage or goal-line threat.

It seemed to work against Purdue.

“Mark was a little beat up at that point, but I think he’s feeling a lot better now,” Ferentz said. “So we’ll try to use everybody we can, like every position, but one is a little bit more prominent so everybody can see what’s going on there.”

The Wolverines rank fourth in the Big Ten Conference, allowing 111.2 rushing yards per game. Opponents are averaging 3.2 yards per carry and have scored eight rushing touchdowns.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Andrew Logue: Andrew has been with the Des Moines Register for 19 years, covering everything from preps to Hawkeye and Cyclone sports, as well as the Drake Relays. View author profile.

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