A national award for Josh Jackson, a strong finish for Hawkeye seniors and freshmen and a Cornhusker quarterback wonders just what went wrong in the second half of Friday’s loss to Iowa.
Here is today’s Hawkeye 10@10:
1. Iowa junior Josh Jackson was named this morning at the winner of the Jack Tatum Award, presented by the Touchdown Club of Columbus to the top defensive back in college football.
The Hawkeyes’ left cornerback is tied for the national lead with seven interceptions and leads the nation with 25 passes defended this season.
Jackson also is tied for second nationally with two interceptions returned for touchdowns and 18 pass break-ups. He also ranks third nationally with 163 interception return yards.
Jackson will receive the award named after the late Ohio State and NFL legend Jack Tatum at the 63rd Touchdown Club of Columbus Awards on Feb. 17.
The Hawkeyes’ Josey Jewell will receive the Jack Lambert Award as the nation’s top linebacker at the same event.
Jackson is the second Hawkeye in three years to win the Jack Tatum Award, which was also won by Desmond King in 2015.
2. The play of Iowa freshmen in Friday’s win at Nebraska was impressive, none more so than Geno Stone who stepped in at strong safety after Miles Taylor was injured and recorded eight tackles in the Hawkeyes’ 56-14 rout.
“He’s been doing a nice job on special teams all season long, and to step in and play like he had to, Geno came in and he didn’t look back,’’ coach Kirk Ferentz said. “I’m really happy for him and Matt Hankins (a first-time starter at cornerback) out there the same way.’’
3. After watching Iowa pile up 49 unanswered points in his final game as Nebraska’s head coach, Mike Riley conceded that his team had been “rolled’’ by the Hawkeyes.
“They played better than us, and rolled us at the end,’’ Riley said. “It’s like I told our team, that didn’t have to be like that. Those critical efforts for our team and the stage of where we’re at, we cracked and we couldn’t bring it back. These guys have to learn, I told them we’re going to have to learn to do that, learn how to fight through a tough time in a ballgame.’’
Riley’s three-year tenure that ended Saturday was marked by a lack of that, particularly against opponents from the Big Ten West.
Nebraska finished 1-8 against Iowa, Wisconsin and Northwestern under Riley’s watch, including 0-3 records against both the Badgers and Hawkeyes.
4. The work of Nathan Bazata in the Hawkeyes’ victory at Nebraska didn’t go unnoticed by coach Kirk Ferentz.
“Nate is almost a template of a lot of our guys. Not the biggest guy, not the fastest guy maybe, but a tough, hard-nosed competitive guy. For our linebackers, and we’ve got a pretty good group of linebackers who play, the way we’re built we need guys up front who are really unselfish, really tough minded,’’ Ferentz said.
“When you have those guys playing for you, guys who maybe didn’t garner a lot of attention in recruiting, but they play a really strong role, I think everybody embodies that. Nate’s been that way since he showed up.’’
5. Iowa accomplished a season first during its 56-14 win over Nebraska.
When the Hawkeyes scored on the final drive of the second quarter and its first three possessions in the third quarter, it marked the first time this season that Iowa has scored on four consecutive drives.
6. Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee completed 9-of-15 passes during a 14-14 first half last weekend against Iowa, but finished the game by hitting only 22-of-41 passes for 205 yards.
Lee was also intercepted three times in the final two quarters, by Iowa’s Josey Jewell, Ben Niemann and Kristian Welch.
“I felt like we were still doing the things that we were doing in the first half, but we struggled to get back into that rhythm,’’ Lee said.
“We faltered a few places execution-wise and in keeping drives going. We kind of let it get away from us.’’
7. The Hawkeyes’ 99-yard scoring drive in last weekend’s win of Nebraska was the longest drive of the season for the Hawkeyes and the second-longest drive in terms of plays and time of possession.
Iowa’s last 99-yard drive came a year ago at Rutgers and proved to be the difference in a 14-7 game.
Friday’s drive covered 15 plays and ran 7 minutes, 18 seconds off the clock before Akrum Wadley scored on a 20-yard run.
Iowa’s longest drive this season in terms of plays and time this season was a 16-play, 87-yard drive against North Texas which chewed 8:50 off the clock.
8. Demry Croft, the starting quarterback for Minnesota in its 17-10 loss to Iowa last month, announced plans to transfer on Monday.
Croft announced his decision on social media, expressing displeasure in a suspension that resulted from a situation where Croft claims he was falsely accused of damaging a door.
He said video indicates he was not responsible and has created an “uncomfortable environment’’ which prompted a decision he reached with his family to leave the program.
The Rockford, Illinois native completed 9-of-29 passes against the Hawkeyes, making the second start of his career.
9. Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight, who has not played since breaking three vertebrae during a game at Purdue on Sept. 23, announced plans Monday to leave the Wolverines program.
Speight, who completed 11-of-26 passes for 103 yards as Michigan’s starter in its 14-13 loss at Iowa in 2015, plans to compete elsewhere as a graduate transfer next season.
10. The Hawkeyes’ tight end tandem of Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson have consistently delivered results this season.
The pair have combined for 51 receptions this season and have collected touchdowns on 13 of those catches and first downs on 31 more of those plays.