IOWA CITY, Iowa – In some ways, the Iowa football team will limp to the regular-season finish line on Friday at Nebraska.
Iowa could be without two of its top defensive backs, and will be without one for sure, when it faces the Cornhuskers in the regular-season finale.
Senior cornerback Matt Hankins will miss his second consecutive game with an apparent leg or foot injury, while junior cornerback Terry Roberts is questionable at this stage.
Hankins started the first 10 games at cornerback and has three interceptions and five pass breakups.
On a more positive note, senior free safety Jack Koerner and redshirt freshman offensive lineman Mason Richman both have a chance to play on Friday.
Koerner missed last Saturday’s game against Illinois due to an injury, while Richman has missed the last two games for medical reasons. Richman started the first nine games at left tackle.
“Injury-wise Matt is definitely out and everybody else is kind of along the iffy spot right now,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said at his weekly press conference on Tuesday. “Koerner looked okay today; we’ll see how long he can go. Terry Roberts is still iffy, and Mason Richman has a chance. We’ll see how he holds up throughout the week. But we’ll kind of go from there.”
Nebraska is also dealing with injuries, and none bigger than the shoulder injury that will cause senior quarterback Adrian Martinez to miss Friday’s game.
Martinez is Nebraska’s all-time leader with nearly 11,000 total yards.
He suffered the injury in the first half of last Saturday’s 35-28 loss at Wisconsin, but still played the entire game.
“Certainly, sorry to hear about the quarterback situation,” Kirk Ferentz said of Martinez. “You hate to see any player get injured at any time of the season. It’s unfortunate. We certainly wish him well. It’s kind of the reality of college football right now, too, this time of year. Players are out, players are nursing injuries and those types of things. It’s certainly sad news because he’s a really electrifying performer.”
Linderbaum an Outland Trophy finalist: Iowa junior center Tyler Linderbaum is one of three finalists for the 2021 Outland Trophy. The announcement was made Tuesday by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee. The Outland Trophy is presented annually to the nation’s best interior lineman on offense or defense.
The Outland Trophy winner will be announced as part of the virtual Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Thursday, Dec. 9. The Outland Trophy official presentation will take place Jan. 12, 2022, in Omaha, Nebraska.
Joining Linderbaum as finalists are defensive tackle Jordan Davis of Georgia and offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu of North Carolina State.
Linderbaum has started 32 consecutive games at center for the Hawkeyes after playing as a defensive lineman as a true freshman. Iowa has posted a 25-7 record during that span. Iowa won its final six games in 2020 and began the 2021 season with six straight wins. The Hawkeyes (9-2, 6-2) are ranked 12th in the coaches poll after being ranked No. 2 in the nation earlier this season.
The Solon, Iowa, native was tabbed a midseason first-team All-American by four outlets, including Associated Press, The Athletic, CBSSports.com and Sporting News. He was named preseason first-team All-Big Ten and preseason first-team All-America by five media outlets. Linderbaum was also named to the Big Ten Conference preseason honors list, as well as the Rimington Trophy and Outland Trophy watch lists. He is one of four finalists for the Rotary Lombardi Award.
Linderbaum (6-foot-3, 290-pounds) was a finalist for the Rimington Trophy a year ago and earned first-team All-America honors from The Athletic and Pro Football Focus. He was a second-team All-America honoree by the Associated Press, FWAA, Phil Steele, and the Walter Camp Foundation. He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection by league media.
The Iowa football program has had four Outland Trophy winners, fourth among all college programs behind Nebraska, Alabama, and Oklahoma. Previous Hawkeye award winners include Brandon Scherff (2014), Robert Gallery (2003), Alex Karras (1957) and Calvin Jones (1955).
Phil Parker named Broyles Award semifinalist: Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker is one of 15 coaches named a semifinalist for the Broyles Award, which honors college football’s top assistant coaches. The announcement was made Tuesday by the Frank & Barbara Broyles Foundation.
Parker is in his 23rd season on the Iowa coaching staff, serving his 10th season as defensive coordinator. He also coaches the defensive secondary. He is the longest tenured defensive coordinator in the nation.
Iowa has posted a 9-2 record to date and leads the nation with 21 interceptions, while ranking fourth nationally in takeaways (26). Iowa has 85 interceptions since 2017, more than any team in the country. Eleven different players have at least one interception this season.
Overall, Iowa ranks ninth in the nation in scoring defense (16.9) and 13th in total defense (314.8). Iowa is second in turnover margin (+12), 12th in rushing defense (103.6) and fourth in pass efficiency defense (104.32).
Iowa’s defense in 2020 led the nation in allowing opponents just 4.3 yards per play. Iowa has earned eight straight bowl invitations and has won its last three bowl games and 15 straight nonconference games overall. The Hawkeyes won 47 games from 2015-19, the highest total in school history over any five-year period.
Former Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker was a finalist for the Broyles Award in 2004 and 2005.
Friday fun: Iowa has won eight straight games played on Friday, including six in a row against Nebraska on Black Friday. Iowa also defeated Maryland 51-14 on Friday October 1st in College, Park, Maryland.
Iowa an Nebraska have played on Black Friday every year since Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011.
Hawkeyesports.com contributed to this report