By Tyler Devine
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Jack Campbell is a man of few words, but many tackles.
The Cedar Falls native totaled a career-high 18 tackles in Iowa’s 24-14 win over Colorado State on Saturday. It was the most by a Hawkeye since Anthony Hitchens had 19 tackles against Iowa State in 2012. The 6-foot-5, 243-pound Campbell previously set a career high with 11 tackles last week against Kent State.
The Hawkeyes improved to 4-0 on the season and have won 10 straight dating back to last season and have gone 26 straight games without allowing more than 25 points.
“I’m going to give all the credit to the defensive line keeping me free,” Campbell said. “Also Seth Benson and Jestin Jacobs setting edges and allowing me to flow in coverage. Just never giving up on a play no matter how far down the field it is. Just giving an all-out effort every single snap.”
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Campbell also had two pass breakups and a fumble recovery. The fumble recovery came on Colorado State’s second drive of the second half and Iowa trailing 14-7. The Rams were backed up against their own goal line and Campbell pounced on a botched snap at the Colorado State 6-yard line that led to a Tyrone Tracy touchdown run on the next play.
It was Campbell’s second fumble recovery of the season. The first one was against Iowa State and also recovered at the 6-yard line, but that time Campbell returned it for a touchdown.
“That’s not even my play,” Campbell said. “That’s on the defensive line. I couldn’t tell if it was forced out or if it was a mishandle.”
Campbell also made another huge play on Colorado State’s next possession. The Rams were facing a third-and-long and quarterback Todd Centeio appeared to have enough space to run for a first down, but Campbell tracked him down and made the tackle to force a punt.
On Iowa’s ensuing drive, junior quarterback Spencer Petras found a wide-open Sam LaPorta for a 27-yard touchdown pass to make the score 21-14.
“He goes about his business everyday and focuses on the fundamentals,” Benson said. “He pushes me every day and I try to push him. We rely on our coaches and teammates to go out there and run to the football. It is all about attacking the week Sunday through Friday and Saturday becomes a byproduct of that work, that is what we pride ourselves in.”
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Head coach Kirk Ferentz went as far as to make kind of a comparison between Campbell and former Iowa All-American and retired NFL veteran Chad Greenway.
“I don’t think it’s a surprise the way he’s playing,” Ferentz said. “It’s just who he is. He’s got one speed. He’s not Chad Greenway, but there are kind of some parallels between them.”
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Youth Movement: Freshman receiver Keagan Johnson was expected to help make the Iowa passing attack more explosive and that was certainly the case on Saturday.
The Bellevue, Nebraska native led Iowa with 92 receiving on two catches. His first catch was a 43-yard scoring strike from Spencer Petras early in the second quarter.
Johnson also had a 49-yard catch in the second quarter.
He is the first true freshman to start for Iowa at receiver since Ihmir Smith-Marsette in 2017.
“Spencer and I, we have that connection that I can win those deep balls,” Johnson said. “I was hoping I could get off
the line cleanly and I did. Credit to Spencer, that ball could not have been thrown any better. I got it
and was in the end zone, it was a crazy feeling.”
Punters shine: Saturday’s game featured two of the top college punters in the nation, and Ryan Stonehouse and Tory Taylor both showed why they have earned that distinction.
Stonehouse averaged 51.1 yards on seven punts for Colorado State, while Taylor averaged 43.5 yards on eight punts for Iowa.
Stonehouse, a two-time All-American, entered the game as the NCAA’s all-time career leader in punt average with a 47.0 mark.
Taylor, a sophomore from Melbourne, Australia, was named the Big Ten Punter of the Year last season, and entered Saturday’s game averaging 49.7 yards per punt.
Injury Report: Sophomore offensive guard Justin Britt didn’t play in Saturday’s game due to an undisclosed injury, which happened in practice on Wednesday.
True freshman Connor Colby, who graduated from Cedar Rapids Kennedy, replaced Britt in the starting lineup at right guard. It was the first career start for Colby.
“We thought Justin might be able to go today,” Ferentz said. “He had a little bit of an injury on Wednesday, I guess it would have been, so we thought we would be ready to go and just couldn’t. We threw Connor in there, but we were going to rotate him anyway.
“I don’t think it’s anything too serious. At least, I’m not a doctor, but I don’t think it is.”
Colby is also the first true freshman offensive lineman to start for Iowa since Tristan Wirfs in 2017.
Britt started the first three games at right guard after senior Kyler Schott suffered a foot injury during preseason practice. Schott’s injury occurred while he was baling hay on his parent’s farm.
Schott missed the first two games, but has seen action in the last two games.