Best Iowa Offensive Player
QB Nate Stanley, Jr.
First, he had to win the job. Next, he had to start getting the offense moving. The 6-4, 242-pounder has a live arm, pro size, and big-time passing skills, but he’s not going to bring any mobility and has to start pushing the ball down the field more.
He only hit 56% of his throws, but they went for 2,437 yards and 26 touchdowns with just six picks. He managed to bring the team back in the thrilling win over Iowa State – RB Akrum Wadley had a lot to do with that – throwing five touchdown passes, and he hit Ohio State for five more.
With the two touchdown throws against Nebraska, and two more against North Texas, the loss to Penn State was the only time Iowa lost and failed to score at least 24 points when he threw multiple scoring passes.
2. TE Noah Fant, Jr.
3. WR Nick Easley, Sr.
4. OT Alaric Jackson, Soph.
5. OT Tristan Wirfs, Soph.
Best Iowa Defensive Player
S Amani Hooker, Jr.
The 6-0, 210-pounder got in a little work as a true freshman, came up with a few big things last year, and now appears ready to blow up into a national star. A great hitter who gets all over the field, he came up with 56 stops with two picks – memorably, taking one for a score against Ohio State.
He missed the last part of the regular season hurt, but came back roaring with 12 tackles against Boston College, making big stop after big stop in the open field. Expect him to be the tone-setter for the back seven.
2. DE Anthony Nelson, Jr.
3. S Jake Gervase, Sr.
4. LB Amani Jones, Jr.
5. DT Matt Nelson, Sr.
Key Player To A Successful Season
LB Amani Jones, Jr.
It’s not a lock that Jones ends up taking over for Josey Jewell in the middle – Kristian Welch is a good one who’ll see time somewhere, if he doesn’t jump up into the gig – but if this offseason was any indication, there’s another big-time playmaker ready to step up in the spot.
Jewell led the team with 136 tackles with 11 broken up passes and 13.5 tackles for loss despite missing a few games – he did everything for the defensive front. Now, the 6-0, 230-pound Jones needs to become a stat-sheet filler after making just eight tackles as a reserve.
Key Game To The Iowa Season
Wisconsin, Sept. 22
The Badgers have to face Penn State and Michigan on the road to go along with their road trip to Iowa City. In the Big Ten opener, Iowa has a shot to put the two-time defending West champs in a big-time hole with a huge win.
Beat the Badgers, and outside of that date at Penn State, the rest of the slate is manageable. With a week off to follow Wisconsin, the Hawkeyes have a relatively easy run of Minnesota and Indiana on the road, and Maryland at home before going to Happy Valley. Lose, and there can’t be another slip the rest of the way.
2017 Iowa Fun Stats
– Interceptions Thrown: Opponents 21 – Iowa 6
– 4th Quarter Scoring: Iowa 123 – Opponents 60
– Fumbles: Iowa 21 (lost 13) – Opponents 15 (lost 5)