Linebacker Jack Campbell forces two turnovers in fourth quarter of Iowa football’s win over Minnesota

The senior helped the Hawkeyes break a 10-10 tie by forcing a fumble and intercepting a pass on back-to-back drives.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell intercepts a pass during a football game between Iowa and Minnesota at Huntington Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022. Campbell returned the ball to the end zone. Officials later determined Campbell stepped out of bounds on the return. The Hawkeyes defeated the Gophers, 13-10. (Jerod Ringwald/The Daily Iowan)

Chris Werner, Assistant Sports Editor

Iowa football linebacker Seth Benson gave his teammate, Jack Campbell, credit for the Hawkeyes’ 13-10 win over Minnesota Saturday. Benson said the rallying cry Campbell preached to the Hawkeye defense during a fourth-quarter media timeout proved to be a difference-maker in the contest.

“When he broke us down, he said, ‘You dream of these moments when you’re a kid,’” Benson said postgame. “And that’s really true. You know, tight ballgame, Big Ten football in November. You know it’s us versus them. They were running the ball really well against us, but the game’s still technically 0-0, right? Tie ballgame and can still go any way. Just keep fighting, and we did that.”

After Campbell gave his speech, he took control of the game. The senior linebacker from Cedar Falls forced turnover on consecutive Gophers possessions.

First, Campbell made Minnesota running back Mohamed Ibrahim fumble at the Iowa 13-yard line with just over five minutes remaining in the game. The turnover cost the Gophers a chance to score a go-ahead touchdown or field goal late in the game.

Ibrahim carried the ball 14 times and gained 63 yards during the Gophers’ drive into Iowa territory. Campbell dislodged the ball from Ibrahim’s arms on a 3rd-and-4 play.

“I just went and tried to hit him as hard as I could,” Campbell said of his forced fumble. “Obviously, I might have got the ball a little bit. But again, just go to the ball. The ball’s not going to find you. You have to want to go get the ball. And when you get around the ball and you put your head on the ball or your pad, good things will happen.”

On the Gophers’ ensuing drive, Campbell picked off a pass thrown by Minnesota quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis near the Iowa 25-yard line and returned the ball to the Gopher 45.

Kaliakmanis took a shotgun snap and fired left to receiver Lemeke Brockington. Iowa senior cornerback Riley Moss, who was covering Brockington, broke up the pass and Campbell came up to snatch the floating ball out of the air.

Campbell then ran the ball into the end zone for what appeared to be a touchdown. Officials, however, ultimately ruled that Campbell stepped out of bound on the return.

“Riley Moss just made a heck of a play,” Campbell said. “In my mind, I was just trying to get to the ball, just trying to be an extra hat on the ball, try and get that ball out, popped up. I just took advantage of the opportunity. I feel like I didn’t step out of bounds, but you know what, they can say what they want to say. I washed it, tried to focus back in, and finished the game out strong.”

When Campbell’s teammates met with reporters after the game, they agreed the 6-foot-5, 246-pounder did not step out of bounds on the return.

Campbell’s interception helped set up a game-winning, 21-yard field goal from true freshman kicker Drew Stevens with 28 seconds left in the game.

“Incredible,” senior defensive back Kaevon Merriweather said of Campbell’s fourth-quarter performance. “First-team All-American. I don’t know what the [award for the nation’s best linebacker is], but he deserves that. He’s just been doing what he does every single day, every single second in practice, in games. He’s going 110 percent. There’s no different levels to Jack. There’s no 90, 80 percent. It’s always 110 or 120. He’s always giving his all.”

The award for the best collegiate linebacker is The Butkus Award, and Campbell is one of 15 semifinalists for the honor to be given out in the first week of December. He was a semifinalist in 2021.

“To win a game like this and to have a good season, you need your best guys playing their best,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said postgame. “Jack shows up every week and does that. Jack, obviously we all know intimately in our program and can’t say enough about him. Just, you know, the way he plays, his resiliency, just his positive nature, everything about him is just first-class.”