By Tyler Devine
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Iowa's two-headed running back beast made history on Friday during a 40-10 victory over Nebraska on Senior Day.
Senior LeShun Daniels and junior Akrum Wadley became the second set of running backs in school history to each surpass 900 rushing yards in a season.
Daniels rushed 29 times for 158 yards and scored two touchdowns, becoming the first Iowa running back to eclipse 1,000 yards in a season since Marcus Coker in 2011.
Wadley had himself a day as well, rushing 11 times for 105 yards, including a career high-tying 75-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
It was the second time this season that both running backs have topped 100 yards in a single game. They also did it against Purdue.
Daniels as usual gave credit to everyone else before patting himself on the back.
"Obviously reaching 1,000 yards is a big deal as a running back in the Big Ten," Daniels said. "Not many people reach that mark, especially here, we haven't had someone do it since 2011. I think it's just been big for the team. I can't thank the offensive line, my fullbacks, tight ends, everybody that's out there enough for going out there and giving it their all just to block for me so I can get yards.
"Even though they might not get all the glory and stuff I can't thank them enough. They've been doing an excellent job all year and it's been allowing me to get the yards that I have. I just can't thank them enough."
Daniels has battled injuries throughout his career, but was able to stay healthy this season. Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz praised Daniels for having the right work ethic and attitude to be successful.
"I could probably talk about every one of our seniors individually and certainly his story that he has," Ferentz said. "He's had to fight injuries, that kind of thing. Nodody has a better attitude than him, I mean he's been so easy to coach for four years. This year clearly he's played his best football. First of all, he has stayed healthy and he's just playing his best football.
"He's improved as a player. That's something we ask all of our guys to do whether it's week by week, day by day or year to year. He really represents that and I could talk about (senior receiver Riley) McCarron the same way. Great special teams player last year, really improved in the spring and camp. You go right down the list just really happy for all the seniors."
Injury report: Junior fullback Drake Kulick was carted off the field after the first play from scrimmage with an apparent ankle injury. Kulick was the lead blocker on an inside run in which LeShun Daniels gained five yards. Kulick waved to the fans as he was carted off the field and was seen in a boot and on crutches after the game.
Senior offensive lineman Cole Croston sat out for the seventh consecutive game. Junior offensive lineman Boone Myers made his fifth start in the last six games in place of the injured Croston.
Senior cornerback Greg Mabin also was out for Iowa with an ankle injury.
True freshman cornerback Manny Rugamba started in place of Mabin for the third consecutive game but left late in the first quarter due to an undisclosed injury. Sophomore Joshua Jackson came in to replace Rugamba.
Senior spectacle: Iowa presented its 14-person senior class before the game. Quarterback C.J. Beathard, punter Ron Coluzzi, offensive lineman Cole Croston, running back LeShun Daniels, defensive lineman Faith Ekakitie, offensive lineman Steve Ferentz, defensive back Anthony Gair, defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson, offensive lineman Mitch Kleppy, defensive back Desmond King, tight end George Kittle, cornerback Greg Mabin, receiver Riley McCarron and offensive lineman Ryan Ward were honored before the game.
Iowa's 2016 senior class has won 34 games since 2013, including 22 Big Ten games, third most by any senior class under Kirk Ferentz. The 2005 senior class won 25 Big Ten games, and the 2004 senior class won 24 Big Ten games.
Senior receiver Matt VandeBerg would have been a part of the ceremony but is waiting to apply for a medical redshirt after suffering a foot injury in practice on Sept. 26. The Brandon, S.D. native is expected to sit out Iowa's bowl game in an effort to help his chances of returning in 2017.
More history: Iowa defeated Nebraska at home for the first time since 1981. It was Ferentz's first game as an Iowa assistant. Nebraska was ranked No. 7 at the time. Until today, it was Iowa's only win over a ranked Nebraska team. It was also Iowa's largest margin of victory over Nebraska since 1899.
Hodge honorary captain: Former Iowa all-Big Ten linebacker Abdul Hodge served as the honorary captain on Friday. Hodge was a key player for the Hawkeyes in one of the most successful periods in school history, helping Iowa post a four-year mark of 38-12. Hodge earned first team All-Big Ten honors in 2003 and 2005. Hodge ranks third all-time at Iowa in career tackles and is one of three Hawkeyes to lead the team in tackles three consecutive years.
Heroes honored: Two Cedar Rapids men were recognized as Iowa's 2016 "citizen heroes" during halftime of Friday's annual Hy-Vee Heroes game. Ken Blazek and Brock Staley risked their lives to save a neighbor whose house exploded in June.
Honoring the fallen: During Saturday's coin toss former Nebraska and Michigan State punters Sam Foltz and Mike Sadler were honored by having their likenesses on each side of the coin. Foltz and Sadler were tragically killed in a car accident over the summer. Sadler's father used to live and work in Iowa and Sadler grew up an Iowa fan.
Big recruiting weekend: Iowa hosted over 50 recruits against Nebraska on Friday. Several of Iowa's 2017 commits were in attendance as well as top Iowa target and Iowa City West standout receiver Oliver Martin.
Big game Beathard: Beathard tied Matt Rodgers and Drew Tate for third on Iowa's all-time wins list at 21. Beathard would move into sole possession of third place with a victory in a bowl game.