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A.J.’s Annihilations: Doing What Needs To Be Done

Epenesa and the defense holds Illinois to ten points in victory.

NCAA Football: Illinois at Iowa
Illinois running back Reggie Corbin is feeling the pressure from A.J. Epenesa.
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

After a strong game against Minnesota, A.J. Epenesa was back to cause havoc against Illinois. While he didn’t record any sacks, Epenesa had five tackles and put constant pressure on Illinois quarterback Brandon Peters.

Iowa improved to 8-3 on the season with the 19-10 victory and travels to Lincoln for the final game of the regular season on Friday.

Game Notes:

The official stats for Epenesa were five tackles and five quarterback pressures. Game after game, against multiple blockers, uncalled holding, and game plans set up against him, Epenesa continues to produce for the Hawkeyes.

Here is Epenesa shedding blockers to make the tackle.

Here’s a video of some pressure that causes the QB to throw the ball before he wanted to.

A big tackle for loss where it appears Epenesa was shot out of a cannon.

Plus as always, Epenesa talks to reporters after the game and is as humble as he can be.

A wonderful game for a great player from a tremendous family. If we only get two more games of Epenesa, I’m going to enjoy every minute of them.

2018 Annihilations: 10.5

2019 Annihilations: 7.0

This Week Last Year: Iowa 31, Nebraska 28

Iowa scored a Black Friday win last year in Iowa City. Mekhi Sargent led the way with 173 yards rushing and Epenesa had two tackles including a sack.

Up Next: Nebraska

Long ago, Nebraska passed Iowa State or Minnesota as my least favorite Iowa rival. A loss this week would literally ruin the entire memory of 2019 for me. On the other hand, a victory over the ‘Huskers would lead to a chance at a 10-3 season which would certainly be memorable.

With the potential for some inclement weather, Epenesa and the rest of the defense need to focus on containing Adrian Martinez in the pocket and not allowing him to run free, if they do that successfully, Iowa will prevail.