The Iowa Hawkeyes have moved past a miserable October and used the month of November to completely turn their season around. Now they look to close out the month with one final win to seal a second consecutive Big Ten West division title and return to Indianapolis for the third time in seven years.
But while the Hawkeyes escaped Minneapolis with a win over the Gophers, they didn’t leave unscathed. Star tight end Sam LaPorta exited the game in the first quarter with an apparent leg injury while fullback Monte Pottebaum managed only two snaps before also leaving with a leg issue. In the second half, running back Kaleb Johnson appeared to be getting going, but then was absent for the fourth quarter leaving speculation he too may have been injured.
So there is plenty to look for on this week’s depth chart, especially given we seemed to actually get some forward-looking updates on last week’s depth chart. Here’s a look at how things stand as of Monday afternoon. We will, of course, get more detailed thoughts on the aforementioned injury situations during Kirk Ferentz’s media availability on Tuesday.
- Welp, as feared, Sam LaPorta is noticeably absent from the depth chart this week. As noted, he suffered a leg injury on Saturday after getting off to a monster start to the game. Iowa managed just 146 total yards after he departed and clearly had game-planned around their star tight end. Luke Lachey played well in his absence, but the loss of LaPorta will likely change how Brian Ferentz prepares for the Huskers. We’ll listen for updates from Ferentz on Tuesday but expect a generic “leg injury and we’ll see how he progresses this week.”
- The other one noticeably absent is the aforementioned Monte Pottebaum. The best hair on the team logged just two reps a week ago and was also classified as a “leg injury” by Ferentz in his post-game presser on Saturday. Given the number of yards Nebraska is giving up on the ground this season (195), the Hawkeyes will surely want to establish the run on Black Friday. Doing so without Pottebaum (and LaPorta) would mean fundamentally shifting how this team operates. While that might be what fans desire, that’s not typically a change that happens easily in the course of one week of practice. Again, we’ll see if we get an update on Ferentz and whether this week’s depth chart is more forward looking or a reflection of the end of last week.
- One other injury item to monitor this week is Keagan Johnson. There’s been speculation on his availability all season with some questioning whether he is simply holding onto a redshirt. We’re to the point in the season where there are only a maximum of three games remaining, meaning Johnson could play out the year and retain all eligibility. Ferentz has not provided much color on Johnson’s status but will surely be asked again on Tuesday.
- No other changes to the depth chart this week, which at this point is a positive. With a four-game winning streak, don’t fix what isn’t broken.
The Huskers also released an updated depth chart on Monday. The only changes Nebraska has made week over week are at safety, where Marques Buford Jr falls off the listings after being carted off in Nebraska’s loss to Wisconsin a week ago.
The Hawkeyes and Huskers are set to kick off at 3pm CT on Friday. The game will be broadcast Big Ten Network.