Riley Moss out for a couple weeks with injury that won’t require surgery
Terry Roberts replaces Moss at right cornerback
By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Kirk Ferentz has referred to Terry Roberts as being like another starter in the Iowa secondary, and now that will actually be the case.
Roberts, a junior from Erie, Pennsylvania is listed as the starter at right cornerback for Saturday’s game against Purdue at Kinnick Stadium.
He replaces senior Riley Moss, who suffered an appartent leg injury while making an interception in last Saturday’s 23-20 victory over then-fourth ranked Penn State at Kinnick Stadium.
Ferentz said Tuesday at his weekly press conference that Moss would be out for a couple weeks, but the injury will not require surgery. Ferentz also said the injury occurred during the play in which Moss made an interception in the second quarter, and not afterwards while celebrating contrary to popular opinion.
“Not happy that Ryan Moss is injured, but the good news is I think we’ll get him back here in a couple weeks,” Ferentz said. “So there is no surgery involved. That’s always a good thing. Just to clarify further some confusion on that. The injury took place during the play. It seemed like somebody went off on a tangent there and that’s not correct. It did take place on the play.
“So that part’s hard but nonetheless it’s part of football and good that he’ll be back with us soon.”
Roberts has been a force on special teams this season and last season, and he performed well after replacing Moss against Penn State.
Moss, a senior from Ankeny, leads Iowa with four interceptions, two of which were pick sixes in the season-opening win over Indiana.
Another sellout: Iowa’s 6-0 start is now paying dividends at the ticket office.
It was announced Tuesday that Iowa’s game against Minnesota on Nov. 13 at Kinnick Stadium is now sold out.
Saturday’s game against Purdue is also sold out, as was the Penn State game.
That leaves the Illinois game on Nov. 20 as the only remaining home game that isn’t sold out at this stage.
Iowa is 6-0 for just the third time under Kirk Ferentz and ranked second in the Associated Press poll behind Georgia.
Ferentz on fans booing injuries: Kirk Ferentz was asked Tuesday about the fans who booed when Penn State players stayed on the ground with apparent injuries in last Saturday’s game.
There were at least five cases in which a Penn State player left the field with an injury.
Two of the players, including Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford, obviously were injured because they didn’t return to the game, but some of the players returned to the game right away after leaving the field with apparent injuries.
Ferentz seemed to question the validity of some of the injuries when asked about it Tuesday.
“Football’s a hard competitive tough game and fans are into it just like everybody else is into it and, first of all, I know a couple players were legitimately hurt, I know that, I saw one sitting on the bench, for whatever reason, there was an opening and I saw him and I know he had an ice bag on his leg,” Ferentz said. “Obviously, the quarterback didn’t come back. So I hope those guys are well, I don’t know what their status is, nobody wants to see anybody get hurt. Nobody.
“But I think probably it’s a reaction to there were a couple guys that were down for the count and then were back a play or two later and our fans aren’t stupid, they’re watching, they know what’s going on. I’ve been here 23 years I think that’s only the second time we have seen that kind of stuff going on.”
Penn State coach James Franklin expressed his displeasure with the Iowa fans booing his players after last Saturday’s loss.
“I do have a little bit of a hard time with our players getting hurt, and the fans and the fans and the coaches and staff booing our players,” Franklin said.
Franklin said faking injuries was not part of the game plan, and he referred to Iowa’s style of offense to explain why.
“They don’t run a tempo offense,” Franklin said. “It was not part of our plan.”
Penn State is hardly the only team to be accused of faking injuries by a home crowd. It seems to be common knowledge amongst college coaches that some teams practice this strategy.
“I know it’s a topic nationally right now, it was one of the discussions of the rules, they don’t quite, nobody knows the answer to it, but it’s — and I also know for a fact there are two people in our building that have been places where that was “scuba” or “dive” — no “scuba” and “turtle” were the code words,” Ferentz said. “So it goes on, we don’t coach it, haven’t really been exposed to it and our fans, I thought they smelled a rat, I guess, I don’t know, so they responded the way they responded.”
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Hankins honored: Iowa senior cornerback Matt Hankins has been named the Bronko Nagurski National Player of the Week following No. 3 Iowa’s 23-20 win over No. 4 Penn State. The announcement was made Tuesday. In addition, Hankins was also named Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week and the Rose Bowl Game Big Ten Conference Player of the Week.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz recognized Hankins on Tuesday, saying he is benefitting from his decision to return for his senior season.
“I’m sure he considered it and thought about it, but the fact that he chose to come back to me showed a lot of wisdom and maturity there and I think he was really excited about coming back and being not only a good player on our team, but a really strong team leader and he’s been one of the top captains vote getters each and every week and there’s a reason for that,” Kirk Ferentz said Tuesday. “Everybody on the team really has a high regard and a high respect for him, the way he does things and he’s really been team oriented in everything he does, especially with those DB’s and the guys on defense.
“So I think it’s been a great story and he’s kind of the typical guy that we deal with, he wasn’t overly heavily recruited, yet he’s improved every step of the way and he’s played at a high level this year and then last year as well. So I’m happy to see a guy that works as hard as Matt be rewarded with that kind of recognition. But it comes from good play.”
Hankins recorded five tackles in Iowa’s win over the Nittany Lions, including three solo stops and two assists, along with Iowa’s fourth and final interception of the day. Hankins was credited with a solo tackle on a Penn State fourth-and-three attempt with 3:39 remaining, stopping a drive that reached the Iowa 45-yardline.
Hankins (6-foot, 185-pounds) then stopped Penn State’s next possession with an interception on fourth down, his third of the season. Hankins had two interceptions earlier this season in Iowa’s 27-17 win at No. 9 Iowa State.
A native of Lewisville, Texas, Hankins has started 22 consecutive games and has 33 career starts. He returned in 2021 for a fifth season. He has totaled 188 career tackles and six career thefts. He is part of an Iowa defense that has a nation-leading 16 interceptions through six games.
This is the fifth time a Hawkeye player has earned this weekly honor and the second time in just three weeks. Hawkeye junior linebacker Jack Campbell received the honor after Iowa’s 24-14 win over Colorado State on Sept. 25. Prior to that, Josey Jewell was the last Hawkeye to receive the honor in 2017. Iowa has had a Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalist in two of the last four seasons (Daviyon Nixon in 2020; Jewell in 2017).