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IOWA CITY — A tough break for Iowa, Matt VandeBerg’s broken foot.
Not to be flippant about it, mind you. A broken foot is a pretty terrible thing for anyone. It’s especially not great for a senior wide receiver who had blossomed into a significant player.
But if you aren’t him, you can look with detachment and say that’s football. Bones get broken, bodies get busted up, and that’s why the major-college version has 85 scholarships instead of basketball’s 13.
Other sports have injuries. Football has injury lists. The Big Ten has quite the list of its own.
Penn State’s three starting linebackers all missed last Saturday’s game at Michigan, and Nyeem Wartman-White has been ruled out for the season with a torn ACL.
Michigan cornerback Jeremy Clark tore an ACL in that game against Penn State, and is out for the season.
Michigan State linebacker Jon Reschke will be out “a significant amount of time” according to MSU Coach Mark Dantonio after injuring an ankle last Saturday against Wisconsin, and senior linebacker Riley Bullough missed that game because of an injured shoulder.
Even kickers can get a kick in the pants from injuries. Wisconsin’s Rafael Gaglianone, who made the game-winning field goal against LSU on the season’s first Saturday, didn’t play at Michigan State because of a back injury.
Nebraska freshman De’Mornay Pierson-El broke Iowa in the fourth quarter of their 2014 game when he had two punt returns for 121 yards, one for a touchdown.
He didn’t play against the Hawkeyes last year because he missed the season’s last four games with a torn ACL. He missed the first four with a foot fracture.
Pierson-El has played in all four games this season, but has yet to perform like he did two years ago.
“Still getting back in each game, I feel like I’m getting closer and closer,” he told the Lincoln Journal Star. “It’s just still ... I don’t know, I feel like it’s just something’s missing still.”
An injury in last Saturday’s Iowa-Rutgers game helped the Hawkeyes win.
With 4:35 left in the first half, Rutgers senior receiver Janarion Grant caught a screen pass and broke four tackles in going 76 yards to the Iowa 3. But Iowa cornerback Desmond King grabbed Grant by the shoulder pads and stepped on the upper part of his right ankle, injuring it severely. Grant was carted off the field.
Rutgers couldn’t punch the ball in the end zone from the 3 after that, and was inefficient in similar territory in the fourth quarter. Not having Grant, the team’s most-dangerous offensive and special teams player, limited the Scarlet Knights’ options.
Grant’s season, and perhaps college career, is over. The NCAA rules that you can’t have played in more than 30 percent of your team’s regular-season games to be eligible for a medical redshirt season, and Grant has played in 33.3 percent.
Rutgers Coach Chris Ash said he would petition the NCAA for Grant to get another season of eligibility. Iowa will do the same on behalf of VandeBerg.
“We’ll certainly appeal it,” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said.
“I won’t even try to predict, but hopefully there will be some leniency there.”
Oh, Rutgers also lost defensive end Quanzell Lambert, who was seen rolling around on the turf clutching a knee in pain after tackling Hawkeye running back LeShun Daniels in the fourth quarter.
Lambert is a redshirt senior. His career, too, is probably over.
“I’m willing to go out and sacrifice on every snap,” Lambert said in August. He had no idea how true that would ring. Or maybe he did.
Well, you know the popular football saying: Next reasonably healthy body in.