No big surprise, as the Big Ten has honored the senior linebacker from New Hampton for his 18-tackle performance on Saturday. Humpal is Iowa's first Big Ten DPOTW since Mitch King earned the honors nearly two years ago after a dominant performance in a 20-10 victory at then-#9 Wisconsin.
Humpal's performance is largely the result of a deliciously simple gameplan from Norm Parker, which was to shadow both the QB and RB on nearly every play; aside from obvious passing downs, it was clear that Jacody Coleman and/or Humpal would follow Williams, and Shada and Godfrey would be playing the pitch. Against a primitively basic veer option offense, it was unstoppable; at no point was it more perfectly illustrated than when Illinois reached the Iowa 2-yard line, then lost four yards over the course of the next three plays before settling for a field goal. The yardage loss came on second down, an option left that was so beautifully covered that the Juice may as well have announced the play at the line of scrimmage and directed the Hawkeyes to the point of attack.
Again, what fools we at BHGP would be as braggarts; Illinois twice made serious threats at the Iowa end zone late in the 4th quarter, and the Illini still boast a far superior record to the Hawkeyes. Nonetheless, the gap in coaching talent was undeniable and enough to tip the balance in Iowa's favor on Saturday. Let's hope the Hawkeyes can use the momentum to salvage a bowl bid on what, just three days ago, looked to be a most disastrous 2007 campaign.