Hawkeye injuries create uncertainty for Indiana matchup

Iowa’s lineup is shifting through returns and questions due to injury.


Nick Rohlman

Iowa cornerback Julius Brents (20) defends a pass intended for Minnesota wide receiver Chris Autumn-Bell (3) during Iowa’s game against Minnesota at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. Brents and fellow freshman defensive back Riley Moss both started for the first time against Minnesota and combined for three interceptions as the Hawkeyes defeated the Golden Gophers, 48-31.

Anna Kayser, Assistant Sports Editor

Iowa’s win against Minnesota was a give and take between the offense and defense, each helping to boost the other.

Heading into Indiana on Oct. 13, the notables from Iowa come from its defense and the holes in positions behind the defensive line that recently has forced the frontline to step up.


As of now, true freshman corners Julius Brents and Riley Moss will make their second starts of the season in place of Matt Hankins and Michael Ojemudia. However, the regulars are expected to play at least some against Indiana. Ojemudia played sparingly against Minnesota while recovering from a hamstring injury, and, along with Hankins, is just trying to get back to being 100 percent.

“I don’t know this week; we’re just playing,” Ojemudia said. “We’re rotating around so we don’t really know yet at this point. I’m just trying to take it day by day.”

The rotation in the secondary because of injuries has put even more emphasis on the defensive line, which hasn’t been a problem with the concrete nature of the lineup. Leaders Anthony Nelson, Sam Brincks, Matt Nelson, and Parker Hesse have been able to pick up the slack from the uncertain backfield when needed.


For the first time against Minnesota, the Iowa defense saw Amani Hooker in at linebacker instead of safety. Against the specific offenses that Iowa face in the coming weeks, this could become more regular.

“[Indiana is] spread, so we want to be able to protect the pass a little bit,” Hooker said. “You’ll probably see me down there at outside linebacker sometimes and then put back at safety.”

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At linebacker, Nick Niemann is still at least one week away from returning to the lineup, which would create the regular look at linebacker and keep Hooker at safety.

Iowa also has other players stepping up to fill the holes at linebacker, including sophomore Barrington Wade.

Amani Jones is out for the first half because of a targeting penalty at the end of the fourth quarter against Minnesota. Kristian Welch is starting in his place, and head coach Kirk Ferentz said it will be a situational decision on whether Jones comes back in at middle linebacker for the second half against Indiana.

Tight end 

Following the matchup against the Gophers, a concerning point from voices outside the Iowa program regarded the use of Noah Fant.

Fant, who is questionable with an injury after exiting the game on Oct. 6, has seen fewer snaps than his counterpart, T.J. Hockenson.

“We’ve got two really good tight ends right now, and they both play really critical roles on our team, but most important thing is — and I don’t know about the noise outside, I’m aware of it — but what I know is what I see from the guys in terms of their demeanor in the building,” head coach Kirk Ferentz said.

Running back Ivory Kelly-Martin is also questionable for Saturday’s game. No update was given on the specifics of the injuries to either Kelly-Martin or Fant.

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