LINCOLN, Neb. — Who needs karma when you have Canzeri?
In the past month, Nebraska’s football team has seen its prayers answered against Northwestern, silenced Michigan’s Big House and found joy in Happy Valley with an overtime victory at Penn State.
None of those teams, however, can match Iowa’s rushing attack.
That’s why the Hawkeyes, a 3-point underdog, will win Friday’s 11 a.m. showdown as long as they keep things simple and keep giving the ball to Mark Weisman and Jordan Canzeri.
“We have a lot of good running backs,” Weisman said earlier this week. “We’re feeding off each other, keeping each other fresh out there.”
Damon Bullock shows flashes. LeShun Daniels has a promising future. But it’s Weisman and Canzeri who offer the best one-two punch.
Together, they’re netting 5.1 yards per carry this season, helping the Hawkeyes grind out 191.5 rushing yards per game.
“With Iowa … it starts with the running game,” Cornhusker coach Bo Pelini said. “They’re good at it. They’re well-coached at it.”
And there’s no reason not to pound that point home.
This is the least imposing Nebraska team the Hawkeyes have faced since Harry Truman was president — the Cornhuskers have played Iowa eight times since 1946, averaging 10.3 wins in those seasons — and Big Red seems ripe for an upset.
The Wildcats, Wolverines and Nittany Lions came frustratingly close, but fickle football fortunes favored Pelini’s bunch.
It also helps that all three rank in the bottom half of the Big Ten when it comes to rushing.
Northwestern’s Treyvon Green and Penn State’s Zach Zwinak each rushed for 149 yards against Nebraska, but neither had a sidekick who could keep the Cornhuskers’ reeling.
Canzeri and Weisman complement each other better than any offensive coordinator could hope for.
Weisman was the workhorse early on; he has rushed for 865 yards on 184 carries.
He showed a little wear and tear, before taking an off week to recover.
“He just looked tired,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “We put him over in the bullpen for a while.”
Canzeri, meanwhile, keeps gaining momentum. He’s run for 273 yards on his last 37 carries (an average of 7.4).
Weisman hits defenses like an anvil. Canzeri cuts like an ax.
It’s up to Ferentz and his staff to put these tools to use.
Andrew Logue covers Hawkeye football and sports media for the Register. Follow him on Twitter from Lincoln: @AndrewMLogue
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football