The Iowa defense wasn’t spectacular on Saturday, in case you already hadn’t heard, but that doesn’t mean that there weren’t bright spots for the Hawkeyes. One of the biggest questions coming into the season was whether or not the Hawks front four would be able to generate any pass rush, and while that’s still a question, we found out that at least one newcomer could prove valuable to the edge rush.
The Big Ten Conference named Hawkeyes’ DE Anthony Nelson Freshman of the Week after his spectacular performance against the Miami RedHawks. Nelson recorded 2.5 sacks and forced a pair of fumbles for Iowa, setting the team up for two scores off the turnovers.
Nelson’s first forced fumble came during the first quarter after the RedHawks had driven into the end zone and it was recovered by Matt Nelson for the first ever (non-professional wrestling) FULL NELSON. It was a pretty great moment and the Hawkeyes punched the ball into the end zone a couple plays later, dispelling a scoring threat from Miami and putting the game out of reach early at 21-0.
His second forced fumble came at the end of the game when things were already pretty out of hand. On what was arguably Iowa’s best defensive drive of the game, Nelson forced a fumble on third down, which led to an offensive touchdown brought to you by the 2nd stringers on the team.
All-in-all, a pretty good week for Anthony Nelson. Hopefully he can continue creating mismatches in the trenches and keep up the good work, as Iowa’s pass rush can definitely use this sort of motor for the rest of the season.