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IOWA CITY — Akrum Wadley has high-stepped. He’s mimed holding a bowl in one hand and spooning food into his mouth with the other. He’s done the “make it rain” motion. He once took a bow. He’s fake broken the tape at the goal line.
So yes, he was more than surprised last Saturday when he had a touchdown taken off the board for a few high steps before crossing the goal line in the 31-14 win over North Texas.
“I was just shocked,” Wadley said. “I was like, ‘Did they just take this touchdown back?’ I’ve been doing that for years. I didn’t even know they could do that.”
The unsportsmanlike conduct flag killed the play at North Texas’ 6. Instead of a 74-yard TD, Wadley was credited with a 68-yard gain.
Wadley didn’t know the flag was on the ground until he met head coach Kirk Ferentz on the sideline.
“When I was running back to the sideline, coach Ferentz stopped me,” Wadley said. “He usually shakes my hand. He didn’t shake my hand.”
Wadley played three more snaps after the penalty. He did leave the field to have his ankle examined. He returned to the bench, and Iowa controlled the second half on the backs of freshmen running backs Toren Young and Ivory Kelly-Martin.
On Tuesday, Ferentz and Wadley declared his ankle fine and ready to go for No. 4 Penn State (3-0) this weekend.
There probably was a bubble to be burst as far as Wadley’s workload was going. In week 1, he nearly hit his career high for carries and then in week 2 he set a new career high for carries.
Wadley finished last week with eight carries for 24 yards. He also caught two passes for 80 yards. Wadley now has a streak of five games with more than 100 yards from scrimmage.
Wadley showed some honest feelings on this topic. He seemed genuinely crestfallen. The topic of touchdown celebrations is so subjective. Celebration for one official is a taunt for another.
“It’s unfortunate,” he said. “You work hard in the offseason. You just want to have fun out there. It is what it is, rules are rules.”
Ferentz said the call actually had him looking up the rule in the real-life rule book.
“I don’t spend a lot of time reading the rule book, but I did go back and check it because I was a little confused about a couple things I saw in that category on Saturday on tape,” Ferentz said. “If you look at it, it’s pretty clearly stated. Obviously, it’s not clearly enforced. That’s the issue, because I think we’ve seen similar acts like that, and I don’t by any means think that he was taunting anyone or trying to be showing up anybody. I don’t think that was his intent, but it is in the rule book that that could be called, so we witnessed that.
“We all learned a lesson, all of us did, and then I think the other thing I learned is it’s probably not going to be enforced real consistently, but why leave the door open for something to be called against you? We all have to be a little bit smarter in that regard.”
More from Tuesday: The deal is Iowa has to deal better with Penn State
Are you going to do that again, Akrum?
“That’s a negative,” he said. “I can hear coach Brian (Ferentz, offensive coordinator and running backs coach) in my ear. When I’m in class I can hear him about high stepping. It’s all he’s talking about all week.”
Let’s say you score another touchdown in your career at Iowa. Can you preview that celebration?
“I’m going to stop and I’m going to walk the ball to the ref and I’m going to give it to him,” Wadley said. “I’m going to give him the ball.”
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