Daviyon Nixon a bright spot in Iowa football’s Week 2 loss

The junior defensive tackle was a monster in the Wildcats’ offensive backfield on Halloween.


Katie Goodale

Iowa Defensive Tackle Daviyon Nixon raises his fist as the Hawkeyes take to their home field for the first time in the season during the Iowa v Northwestern football game at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. The Wildcats defeated the Hawkeyes 21-20.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

Iowa has had its share of problems two games into the 2020 football season, but defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon hasn’t been one of them.

The 6-foot-3, 305-pounder recorded one of his best games in a Hawkeye uniform Saturday against Northwestern. Nixon tallied 11 total tackles, six solo stops, 1.5 sacks, three tackles for loss, and a forced fumble.

Because the Hawkeyes came out on the wrong side of the final score, though, in Nixon’s mind, his performance could’ve been better.

“It wasn’t enough,” Nixon said postgame. “It just wasn’t enough. If we don’t get the win, I never feel like I did enough from the defensive standpoint.”

Nixon had to fight through double-teams from Northwestern’s offensive line for most of the game. As a first-year full-time starter at Iowa, that’s new for Nixon in his time as a Hawkeye. But it’s a situation he’s faced before his time in the Black and Gold.

“I did get double-teamed a lot this game,” Nixon said. “It’s something I’m used to now. You know, growing up with my stature and my size, I’m always getting double-teamed. I’ve had it in high school where teams would watch film and change the whole game plan because of me. I still just got to be as productive as possible.”

Nixon’s ability to eat up space on the defensive line and to force Northwestern to commit more than one player to blocking him opened things up for other members of Iowa’s defense against the Wildcats.

One of the beneficiaries of Nixon’s big presence on Saturday was sophomore linebacker Seth Benson. The Sioux Falls, South Dakota, native – making his first start as a Hawkeye – recorded 13 total tackles, with 10 unassisted stops. He also got to Northwestern quarterback Peyton Ramsey twice for two QB hits.

“Daviyon’s a good player,” Benson said. “When he gets back there in the backfield it really helps us out. When he’s playing blocks, he keeps the offensive linemen off of us. He allows us to be able to make plays – he just brings a great energy every day. He sparks a fire in us.”

Nixon didn’t only bring that energy to the field against Northwestern but, in crunch time – he did it from the sideline.

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The redshirt junior tried his best to pump up his teammates and the players’ friends and family in the stands before quarterback Spencer Petras led the offense onto the field for the final, potentially game-winning, drive.

“I’m telling them ‘We just gotta finish,’” Nixon said. “It’s a family thing and if we all come out there together and stay, even on the sideline, we gotta stay together as a unit and stay together as a team and we just gotta finish. I need everybody participating, I need everybody hyped up, I need all the juice from the sidelines, fans, anybody that’s out there.

“We came out here for a reason and that’s to get the job done. So, if we’re out there, you gotta be out there in the moment and you gotta love it.”

The offense didn’t score, and the Hawkeyes are now 0-2. But Nixon has been disruptive on seemingly every defensive play this season. Through two games, Nixon may be the team’s best player.

Iowa and Nixon will have another chance to win at Kinnick Stadium next week against Michigan State before the Hawkeyes are on the road for two weeks straight versus Minnesota and Penn State.

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