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Iowa Football: A.J.’s Annihilations, Week Two

No sacks for Epenesa but a team win is what matters.

NCAA Football: Outback Bowl-Mississippi State vs Iowa
Epenesa is looking forward to finding out what his column is going to be called.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

A big 38-14 victory over Miami (Ohio) on Saturday resulted in the following stats for A.J. Epenesa, one assisted tackle. In the immortal words of Billy Bob Thornton, “Well, they can’t all be winners now, can they?”

The sky is falling, Epenesa didn’t record a tackle for loss for the first time in ten games. This is reminiscent of Adrian Clayborn in 2010. Coming off a big 2009 where he had 11.5 sacks, Clayborn faced double teams all season and was limited to 3.5 sacks in 2010. Yet, despite this, he was a first round draft pick. Scouts can see past the numbers and see the effect a stellar defender has on the game.

Miami single blocked Epenesa on the quick passes, but on anything more than a three step drop, he was double or triple teamed or at the minimum, chipped by a back or tight end. What this means is that Iowa was able to basically play ten versus nine and held Miami to 245 yards of total offense, with just 59 rushing yards.

A.J. Epenesa chases down Miami of Ohio quarterback Brett Gabbert.
Matthew Holst, Getty Images

Below you can see Epenesa double teamed by the left tackle and left guard which opens up a free lane for linebacker Djimon Colbert. Colbert takes advantage and records the tackle.

Next, Epenesa is blocked by the left tackle while the running back stays back and cheats to Epenesa’s side leaving Amani Jones free to record the Hawkeyes only sack.

I’d like to see Iowa start moving Epenesa around on the defensive line so that teams can’t be sure who the second man to block him should be and create confusion as well as force them to game plan ever more for him. Whether or not Epenesa can match his 2018 stats, he is going to open up opportunities for his teammates all season long.

2018 Annihilations: 10.5

2019 Annihilations: 0

Up Next: Rutgers

Rutgers defeated the University of Massachusetts last week 48-21. UMass managed one sack and three interceptions on the day. The Rutgers offensive line is basically manned with juniors and seniors except at the left tackle spot where we find a redshirt freshman, Raiqwon O’Neal. O’Neal is a 6-5, 270 lb lineman from South Carolina. Let’s hope the three-star recruit is shown the ropes in the Big Ten this week as he goes up against Epenesa and Iowa.

This Week Last Year: Iowa 13, Iowa State 3

The second game of the 2018 season was a home match-up against Iowa State which resulted in a 13-3 Iowa victory. Epenesa recorded five tackles including two sacks. The strip sack below ensured the Iowa victory.

Column Name Update:

Still working on the name. Thanks for the great suggestions, should have resolution by next week.