116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — In the postgame press conference Saturday at Kinnick Stadium, Iowa cornerback Riley Moss broke down exactly how his two pick-6s against Indiana happened through his eyes.
Both exemplified not only Moss’ intuition, but also what he learned from Indiana’s film study and how his teammates played a role.
Here’s how it all went down.
On the first interception, Moss said the defense was in Cover 2.
In Iowa’s defense, this means that there are two safeties at the back: Jack Koerner (free safety) and Kaevon Merriweather (strong safety), two linebackers, “Will” Seth Benson and “Mike” Jack Campbell and Dane Belton in the “cash,” position, which is a hybrid defensive back and linebacker on the left side lined up opposite the tight end. Matt Hankins is at left corner (bottom of screen) and Moss is at right corner (top of screen).
Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. sends running back Davion Ervin-Poindexter into pass coverage, blocking VanValkenburg.
Moss said that Indiana’s wide receivers were running a “smash concept,” which is designed to beat zone coverage, because it forces Moss to make a decision to cover deep or stay in the flats, opening up the receiver behind or in front of him. Indiana junior Miles Marshall took the deep route while graduate transfer D.J. Matthews ran the quick out, where he runs a short distance, then breaks toward the numbers.
During this time, Penix might be thinking that Moss will cover deep and Benson will cover underneath, but Benson is actually going to run with Marshall to prevent him from cutting inside, allowing the safety to stay in deep zone coverage so that Moss can go underneath to cover Fryfogle’s route.
Matthews slips, but still manages to get his hands on the ball. During this time, Moss backpedals into coverage and breaks toward Matthews as soon as he sees where the ball is going, and catches the ball off of Matthews’ tip.
His 30-yard return is not completed without a crucial block by Joe Evans at the 15-yard line, who comes from the far left side to take out No. 22, Ervin-Poindexter.
The second interception was simpler, and more emphasized Moss’ intuition.
In Iowa’s cover 3, Moss is responsible for the deep third of the field on the right side, while Merriweather has the middle third, Koerner is in the box covering the receiver on the right the slot while Belton is covering the flat below and linebacker has the underneath (lower middle of the field).
Normally, Moss stays deep in this situation and Belton would cover the throw in his zone by Indiana, but Moss stays because he sees that Penix is throwing wide to the outside of the numbers, where Indiana graduate transfer Camron Buckley is mid-route. Moss jumps ahead.
“I didn’t back up and then just played the ball,” Moss said. “It comes from film study and what’s weird and hard to explain is sometimes I just feel like something’s going to happen.”
Moss receives national accolade, Iowa vs. Iowa State will host GameDay
Moss earned the Walter Camp FBS National Defensive Player of the Week for his performance. He’s the sixth Hawkeye ever to earn the award, with the most recent being quarterback Nate Stanley, who won the offensive honor in 2018, and Josh Jackson and Josey Jewell, who both received the honor in 2017.
He’s the third player in school history to return two interceptions for touchdowns in a single game and also added two pass breakups and a solo tackle against Indiana.
It was announced late on Saturday night that ESPN’s College GameDay will be live from Ames on Saturday ahead of the 3:30 p.m. Iowa State vs. Iowa game.
Comments: (319)-398-8387, firstname.lastname@example.org