By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Each Monday during the Iowa football season, Don Patterson is our guest on the Hawk Fanatic radio show and podcast.
He breaks down Iowa’s most recent game, using analytics and his wealth of coaching experience, and looks ahead to the next game on the schedule.
His segment usually lasts for about one hour, although, Monday’s segment took almost 90 minutes because there was so much to talk about in the wake of Iowa’s 23-20 victory over Penn State this past Saturday at Kinnick Stadium, and looking ahead to this coming Saturday’s homecoming game against Purdue.
Patterson had his usual analytics and statistical breakdowns, but he also said two things that really stood out.
He said Kinnick Stadium during the Penn State game was the loudest he has ever heard it and that covers a lot of games, considering Patterson spent 20 years as an Iowa assistant coach under Hayden Fry from 1979 to 1998.
“I think the fans feel a strong connection to this team and that was obvious during the Penn State game,” Patterson said. “They made a huge difference. I’ve never heard it that loud before.”
Patterson attributed the high volume partly to how Kinnick Stadium is now configured in the North end zone. The north end zone is more enclosed since it was was renovated and that helps to keep the sound within the stadium.
The Iowa student section is also located in the south end zone, and Patterson believes that contributes to the volume because both ends of the stadium are now mostly enclosed, and because the students are loud.
Patterson also brought up an interesting fact about Iowa junior linebacker Jack Campball, who is emerging as a star.
Iowa hasn’t lost since Campbell started playing in games last season. The Cedar Falls native missed the first three games last season due to an illness and Iowa was 1-2 in those games, losing to Purdue and Northwestern in the first two games.
Campbell made his 2020 debut in the fourth game against Minnesota and recorded five tackles during the 35-7 victory in Minneapolis.
He has been a mainstay at linebacker ever since, while second-ranked Iowa has won 12 straight games, including 11 with Campbell playing a key role on defense.
And while it might just be a coincidence since football is considered the ultimate team sport, the connection between Campbell playing and Iowa winning makes you think.
Campbell is performing at an all-Big Ten level, and as well or better than any linebacker in the conference, and Iowa hasn’t lost since he became a starter.
Again, it makes you think.
He and fellow junior Seth Benson and sophomore Jestin Jacobs form one of the best linebacker triumvirates in the Big Ten.
Campbell ranks among the leading tacklers in the Big Ten, and he, Benson and Jacobs rank first, second and third, respectively, in tackles for Iowa.
Campbell was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of Week after finishing with a career-high 18 tackles in Iowa’s 24-14 victory over Colorado State on Sept. 25 at Kinnick Stadium.
Iowa’s linebackers have excelled at tackling in space, and in traffic, and have consistently made big plays this season.
Jacobs intercepted a pass thrown by Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford in the first quarter this past Saturday. Clifford was trying to avoid being sacked by Benson when he attempted the pass that Jacobs intercepted.
And then in the second quarter, Clifford was injured on a clean hit by Campbell in the pocket and didn’t return. Clifford had nearly 200 yards when he was injured.