Campbell, Benson fly all over the field in Iowa’s win over Colorado State

Linebacker duo Seth Benson and Jack Campbell lead Iowa’s defense both on and off the field.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell tackles Kent State running back Marquez Cooper during a football game between Iowa and Kent State at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. The Hawkeyes defeated the Golden Flashes 30-7. (Jerod Ringwald/The Daily Iowan)

Austin Hanson, Sports Editor

Iowa football’s defense registered 90 tackles in the Hawkeyes’ 24-14 win over Colorado State at Kinnick Stadium Saturday. Two players were responsible for nearly a third of those tackles: juniors Jack Campbell and Seth Benson.

The linebacking duo registered 29 tackles against Colorado State. Campbell came up with 18 tackles, while Benson produced 11.

The pair attribute their on-field success to the bond they share off the playing surface.

“Yeah, I’d say just, it starts with building that relationship off the field,” Campbell said. “[Benson and I] do like numerous Bible studies together. Being a Christian, it’s pretty cool to have someone right next to you who you’ve talked to about hard things with and you know you can trust.

“When game time comes, like if I’m not doing my job, he’ll get on me. He’ll get on me. He’ll let me know. I know that he’s giving that out of love.”

Benson and Campbell’s friendship was most evident Saturday when Campbell recovered a fumble that eventually led to a game-tying touchdown from wide receiver Tyrone Tracy Jr.

Trailing 14-7 with a little over eight minutes remaining in the third quarter, Campbell and the Hawkeyes had Colorado State backed up to its own 11-yard line for a second-and-23 play. Shortly after Ram quarterback Todd Centeio snapped the ball, it popped free and Campbell fell on it.

Campbell recovered the football at the 6-yard line by the center hashes. As soon as Campbell got up, Benson dashed from Kinnick’s east sideline near the 10-yard line to celebrate with him.

“I’d consider him one of my best friends,” Benson said of Campbell. “He’d do anything for me, and I’d do anything for him . . . If he’s down, like, I’m always going to pick him up. If I’m down, he’s always going to pick me up. I know his mannerisms. He knows my mannerisms.

“Seeing someone go about his business the way he does, it just wants to push you to be greater, and that goes for the whole defense and the whole team. He’s just someone you want to be around. He’s just someone you want to hang out with, someone you want to get to know.”

Benson and Campbell’s friendship hasn’t just helped them play better. Iowa’s entire group of linebackers has benefitted from Benson and Campbell’s chemistry.

“That’s something that we’ve been trying to build since I got here because [Benson] was a year ahead of me,” Campbell said. “. . . The relationship with [sophomore linebacker Jestin Jacobs], just trying to have conversations outside the building. Jestin’s a great kid. And when we get out on the field, it’s the same thing. We both hold each other to high standards.”

Campbell believes the connections he and Benson have made among Iowa’s linebackers has helped the Hawkeyes’ entire defense, not just its front seven.

“Just being able to have those connections within the linebacker group, but then you sprout it out to the defense is gonna be a major key in just keeping pushing this thing forward.”

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