Yesterday at the Rose Bowl press conference (held at Disneyland, because everything about the Rose Bowl is a little bit magical) Kirk Ferentz teased that a member of the Iowa team had suffered an injury setback in the practices leading up to Friday's game. He didn't reveal who had been injured, just that it was on the offensive side of the ball.
Today's news: Ferentz says somebody (unnamed) had setback, will make announcement later. Canzeri says he's getting there.— Chad Leistikow (@ChadLeistikow) December 26, 2015
Given the injuries Iowa has endured on that side of the ball -- at one point or another, C.J. Beathard, Boone Myers, Ike Boettger, Jordan Canzeri, LeShun Daniels, Jr., Akrum Wadley, and Tevaun Smith (among others) have been banged up and/or missed some time due to injuries this season -- there were a lot of possibilities for who Ferentz might have been referring to yesterday, some of whom were very concerning. Today we found out who the injured mystery man was -- Jake Duzey, who's had a senior season to forget.
Iowa TE Jake Duzey is out for the Rose Bowl after reinjuring his knee.— Chad Leistikow (@ChadLeistikow) December 27, 2015
It's a brutal blow for Duzey, who suffered a meniscus injury during one of Iowa's final practices in the spring. That injury kept him out of action for the first four games of Iowa's 2015 season and limited his ability in the remaining games this season. There was some hope that Duzey would finally be recovered enough in time to contribute in the Rose Bowl, but this new injury dashes those hopes.
The latest injury occurred during a blocking drill.
Iowa offensive coordinator Greg Davis said Sunday, not long after Duzey's injury was announced by the school, "It was very innocent. It was not like someone rolled into him. ... They were just going down the line of scrimmage."
Davis wasn't sure of the severity of the injury to Duzey, who was the Big Ten Conference's top returning tight end after a 2014 season in which he caught 36 balls for 392 yards. The Troy, Mich., native ends his Hawkeye career with 58 receptions -- but none this year.
It doesn't sound as though Duzey will be eligible to receive a medical redshirt, which means his Iowa career is over. It's an unfortunate ending to a career that featured some spectacular moments for Iowa, like his unforgettable catch-and-run TD against Ohio State in 2013. That said, the Iowa offense is pretty well-equipped to handle the absence of Duzey, given that they've operated all season without him as a crucial part of the offense. In his absence, Henry Krieger-Coble (32 catches, 385 yards, 1 TD) and George Kittle (20 catches, 290 yards, 6 TD) have provided very good production for Iowa at the tight end position. Entering the season, we expected Duzey to be a critical part of the Iowa offense and an important safety blanket for C.J. Beathard. Things didn't work out that way, but the Iowa offense managed to do pretty well without Duzey this year. Hopefully they can do the same for one more game.