IOWA CITY, IOWA – Iowa senior running back Jordan Canzeri wasn’t about to let his career end with an injury in the Big Ten Championship game.
Canzeri didn’t want his final image as a Hawkeye to be him limping off the field after Iowa’s 16-13 loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game on Dec. 5 in Indianapolis.
And it won’t be.
Canzeri told reporters on Tuesday that he is fully recovered from the ankle injury that caused him to miss the final three quarters of the Big Ten Championship game. He now looks forward to ending his Hawkeye career against Stanford in the Rose Bowl.
“It’s an amazing experience just to be able to play at the Rose Bowl, you know, the grand-daddy of them all,” Canzeri said Tuesday. “It’s something that I watched growing up and have always remembered.”
Canzeri enters the Rose Bowl as Iowa’s leading rusher with 976 yards and 12 touchdowns on 178 carries. He achieved those numbers despite being hobbled by two ankle injuries.
Canzeri also suffered an ankle injury during Iowa’s 40-10 victory against Northwestern on Oct. 17 in Evanston, Ill. He missed the next two games against Maryland and Indiana while recovering.
Canzeri said his second ankle injury wasn’t as severe as the first one against Northwestern. He also has had nearly three week to recover from the second injury.
“It just made rehab a lot easier and I’m just very grateful to be back and ready to go,” Canzeri said.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz is optimistic that Canzeri will be at full strength for the Rose Bowl.
“I’m encouraged, yeah, based on what I’ve seen I’m encouraged,” Ferentz said Tuesday. “You just never know. We’re 10, 11 days out, so that’s encouraging. Time is on our side.
“And hopefully, he’ll have the pop and explosion we need to be successful at that position. But we are encouraged now.”
JAKE DUZEY UPDATE: Iowa senior tight end Jake Duzey has one more chance to end a frustrating season on a high note.
Duzey was among a select group of Iowa players who met with the media on Tuesday. He described this season as being bittersweet, but hopes to make a contribution in the Rose Bowl.
“Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to be on the field, but hopefully, I’ve helped some guys out and been a leader for some people,” Duzey said.
Duzey was expected to play a key role this season until he suffered a knee injury during the offseason. He had hoped to be fully recovered at some point during the season, but the injury has taken longer to heal than he expected.
“When I first had the injury and we said three or four months, that’s pretty optimistic,” Duzey said. “I don’t think I realized at that point that it was going to take quite a bit longer than that.”
Duzey has played sparingly in 10 games this season and used mostly as a blocker in goal-line situations. He didn’t catch any passes in the first 13 games this season after finishing last season with 36 catches for 392 yards and three touchdowns.
Ferentz said Tuesday that he is starting to see signs of the Jake Duzey from last season.
“It’s a tough injury,” Ferentz said. “What he’s got is unpredictable. It could be two months, four months, don’t quote me on those months, but there’s a lot variance in the recovery.
“The good news is the last week he has looked better, looked a little bit more like the old Jake Duzey. We hope that will continue the next ten days. It would be great if he was able to get involved in a positive way. We’re all hoping for that. It’s his last game as a Hawkeye.”
DREW OTT UPDATE: Iowa senior defensive end Drew Ott still is waiting for a decision on his request to be granted a medical redshirt for next season.
“We’re in the process of it and I expect it’s going to go a while,” Ferentz said. “I’ll be the first to tell you I have no idea what the whole process, if I understand the whole process of the whole deal.
“But we’re going to appeal it right to the end, and hopefully, we’ll get that opportunity. If we don’t, we don’t. The good news for him, he’s got a great future. He’ll continue to play football and be great.”
Ott was having a standout season when he suffered a knee injury in the sixth game against Illinois. He hasn’t played since the injury occurred.