Iowa football notebook | Hawkeyes earn two Big Ten Players of the Week, Jestin Jacobs out for the season

Kaevon Merriweather and Tory Taylor garnered the weekly honors, the conference announced Monday.

Iowa+punter+Tory+Taylor+warms+up+before+a+football+game+between+Iowa+and+Rutgers+at+SHI+Stadium+in+Piscataway%2C+N.J.+on+Saturday%2C+Sept.+24%2C+2022.+

Ayrton Breckenridge

Iowa punter Tory Taylor warms up before a football game between Iowa and Rutgers at SHI Stadium in Piscataway, N.J. on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Editor


Senior defensive back Kaevon Merriweather and junior punter Tory Taylor earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors on Monday following Iowa’s victory over Rutgers.

In his first career defensive player of the week performance, Merriweather recovered a fumble forced by cash Sebastian Castro and returned the ball 30 yards for a touchdown. 

Later in the game, Merriweather intercepted Rutgers quarterback Evan Simon and returned the ball 33 yards. He also had a fourth-down pass breakup and three tackles.

“Oh, I was pretty surprised,” Merriweather said of his player of the week honor. “You know, I didn’t really think I did anything crazy. I just kind of played off of what the game was giving me. Castro made that [fumble] play. So without Castro, that fumble recovery wouldn’t have happened.”

Taylor earned his second special teams player of the week honor on Monday. He downed four punts inside the 20-yard line and averaged 42.6 yards per punt. Scarlet Knights returner Aron Cruickshank only attempted one punt return, losing two yards in the process.

Taylor is on the Ray Guy Award preseason watch list — presented to the nation’s best punter — as well as a preseason second-team All-American by Athlon Sports.

Jacobs out for the season

Head coach Kirk Ferentz announced linebacker Jestin Jacobs is out for the season on Tuesday because of an unspecified injury.

When Jacobs initially sustained his injury against South Dakota State in Week 1, Ferentz was optimistic that Jacobs’ injury was just soft tissue and not season-ending.

Jacobs returned against Rutgers, playing limited snaps. Despite his return, Ferentz said Jacobs’ injury has gotten worse, but he didn’t provide any specifics.

“I don’t think it’s good,” Ferentz said on Saturday. “… it didn’t seem good, initial reports. We’ll see how it goes.”

Additional tests on Sunday and Monday confirmed Jacobs will need surgery and miss the rest of the season. 

Jacobs, a junior, was a 2023 NFL Draft prospect at the beginning of the season. Ferentz didn’t say how this injury will affect Jacobs’ status in the NFL draft.

“That’s the thing about injuries that I’m not sure anybody understands,” Ferentz said Tuesday. “If you’re a college football player, that’s important to you to play those 12 games. That’s all you have guaranteed. He just lost whatever we’ve got left, ten, nine. There’s nothing worse. Then you feel isolated. There’s a whole mental, psychological component that comes with being injured.”

Senior Logan Klemp has primarily taken over Jacobs’ role at cash. Sophomore Cooper DeJean has also seen some time at the position.

“[Klemp’s] got the benefit of experience, unlike the guy we just talked about, Cooper,” Ferentz said. “Logan has been in the program. He’s been a really good special teams player and a leader, and he’s doing a fine job.”

Roberts, Johnson missing from Week 5 depth chart

Senior cornerback Terry Roberts also disappeared from the depth chart on Monday. He suffered an injury on Friday, Ferentz said, and was held out as a precaution after going through warmups.

“Pregame, we thought he had a chance to go,” Ferentz said Saturday. “He’s been banged up a little bit, but we thought he had a chance to go.”

On Tuesday, Ferentz said Roberts has been limited in practice. He did not specify whether Roberts will play against Michigan on Saturday. In Roberts’ absence, DeJean has been filling in at cornerback.

Sophomore wide receiver Keagan Johnson is also missing from the depth chart. The No. 1 wide receiver played limited snaps against Nevada in his only action so far this season.

“It’s soft tissue, and there’s no way to predict how it’ll really go,” Ferentz said Saturday. “He was making progress, and then had a setback a week ago. We’ll just keep it day-to-day and I’ll keep you posted. There’s no way to predict these, based on my experience.”

On Tuesday, Ferentz said Johnson will not play against Michigan.

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