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Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz has 143 wins under his belt at the University of Iowa, one away from the all-time record.

The Gazette will count down each win, as ranked by writer Marc Morehouse.


The Jordan Canzeri game

No. 23 Iowa 29, Illinois 20 | Oct. 10, 2015

Iowa running back Jordan Canzeri stays ahead of Illinois defensive backs Eaton Spence (27) and Clayton Fejedelem (20) as he runs into the end zone for a touchdown at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Iowa running back Jordan Canzeri stays ahead of Illinois defensive backs Eaton Spence (27) and Clayton Fejedelem (20) as he runs into the end zone for a touchdown at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

Three cool things:

1. I thought Sedrick Shaw’s 42 carries was a “Joe DiMaggio” record for Iowa.

No one is ever going to string together 57 consecutive games with a hit. Dimaggio’s 56 will stand forever. Imagine the media crush. I’m not sure anyone can keep their eyes on the prize with that much intensity for that many at-bats in a row.

Maybe I should’ve done a little homework.

Shaw held the record with 42 carries (for 250 yards) at Michigan State in 1995. Shaw had a 41-carry game against Wisconsin (241 yards) in the same season.

Before Shaw, Dennis Mosley held the record with 39 for 229 yards vs. Iowa State in 1979. The high in the Kirk Ferentz era before this was Albert Young going 38 carries for 202 yards vs. Northwestern in 2005.

So, the dartboard was full of darts. No one had hit the target.

I really didn’t think Jordan Canzeri would be the one to do it. His previous high for carries was 26, and it was the week before the monster 43.

The knock on Canzeri was always size. At 5-9, 190-ish, Iowa took a projection risk on the Troy, N.Y., native. A torn ACL and a mosh pit of other running backs had Canzeri constantly fighting to prove it. In 2015, it all came together.

Still, would Ferentz grind his best running back like this? Apparently. And, yes, Canzeri did suffer a high-ankle sprain early in the next game at Northwestern. Related? Canzeri played running back. They sprain ankles like you and I eat cereal. I can’t honestly raise my hand and claim causation.

So, let’s click on three Iowa records that might actually be DiMaggio records.

Tackles in a game — 29 for Dave Clement vs. Oregon State, Sept. 19, 1970.

Forty-seven years and counting. By the way, Dave Clement was the AD at Ottumwa for 35 years. I worked in Ottumwa in 1993 and met Dave many times. He had one of those linebacker jaws.

Punt returns in a game — 9 for Nile Kinnick vs. Indiana, Oct. 7, 1939.

This one might be vulnerable with offenses so willing to march their up-tempo into brick walls.

Career passing yards — 10,461 by Chuck Long, 1981-85.

No one’s ever going to touch this. Don’t even try the math.

2. In the previous coverage section below is what I wrote in the wake. The energy that Canzeri was able to summon in his later carries ... Chris Doyle take a bow.

3. This was kind of our first look into the world of James Daniels. I think he’s going to be one of the most interesting Hawkeyes ever in the NFL. He has something to say, great wit, intelligence. It’s going to be fun. I’m sorry he’s a Bear. Can’t have everything, I guess.

This game was sort of a mass casualty event for the Hawkeyes’ O-line.

Senior guard Jordan Walsh went to the locker room with a shoulder injury. Daniels went in. In the third quarter, sophomore right tackle Ike Boettger left the game with an ankle injury and didn’t return. Daniels went in.

To recap the day, Daniels, then a true freshman, played guard, played tackle and survived the experience.

Daniels, brother of running back LeShun Daniels, was a four-star recruit who picked the Hawkeyes over home-state Ohio State and Alabama. He enrolled in January, made the dean’s list and went right to work.

“It is different because I was recruited as a center and then in camp, they put me at guard,” Daniels said then through Iowa’s sports information department (true freshmen aren’t allowed to speak to the media ... still). “Now, I am starting to play tackle a little bit. It was kind of difficult, but I like it.

“Coach Ferentz wouldn’t put me out there if he didn’t think I could do it.”

That could’ve been head coach Kirk Ferentz or offensive line coach Brian Ferentz, who, between series in the second half of this one, sat the O-line down for some whiteboard teaching moments that seemed to click. The Hawkeyes rushed for 169 of their 278 yards in the second half.

That was a funky O-line with Daniels being just the third true freshman to play there in Kirk Ferentz’s 17 seasons (joining Mike Jones and Bryan Bulaga). (OK, make that fourth now, with Tristan Wirfs becoming last season the first true freshman to start a game at tackle under Kirk Ferentz).

“The kid is an athlete,” center Austin Blythe said. “When he first came in doing drills and in spring football, I didn’t think there was a time when he didn’t reach (block) somebody. Whether it be center, guard or tackle, he’s going to do it all day. He’s a great athlete. I think it took him a while to set in there and get the rhythm of it, but it’s a tribute to him just going on and getting it done.”

And he did. Wish I would’ve walked with the mind of James Daniels a few more times.

Quote: “Jordan had 43 carries? Goodness. That’s a lot.” — Center Austin Blythe

Note: I know you’re keeping track, so the most carries in a game last season was 28 by Akrum Wadley. Toren Young will be one of your 2018 RBs. His career high for carries is 19 last year against North Texas. Ivory Kelly-Martin had 11 in the same game.

After those two? Well, that’s sort of the mystery for 2018, isn’t it?

Why No. 24? — Blythe was totally right. Goodness, 43 carries was a lot.


Game story from 2015

IOWA CITY — The theme for the day was disbelief.

Iowa’s offensive linemen knew senior running back Jordan Canzeri had a lot of carries. They didn’t know he had 43, a school record. They thought it was a lot, they didn’t know until after the game how many “a lot” was.

“Jordan had 43 carries?” center Austin Blythe asked. “Goodness. That’s a lot.”

It’s a record, passing Sedrick Shaw’s 42 carries against Michigan State in 1995.

“I didn’t hear that,” sophomore guard Sean Welsh said. “Yeah, we like to run the ball around here. It’s something we like to do. It’s not something I’m going to raise an eyebrow at.”

Still, 43. That’s a lot a lot.

Canzeri rushed 43 times for 256 yards, a career high and third most for an Iowa back in a game, to fuel the No. 23 Hawkeyes’ 29-20 victory over Illinois before 66,693 fans Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.

Behind an offensive line that was missing its starting tackles, with true freshman James Daniels replacing sophomore Ike Boettger, who left with an injury, the Hawkeyes (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) sucked the air out of the game with a 13-play, 59-yard drive that was 11 straight Canzeri. The drive ended with Marshall Koehn’s 34-yard field goal, giving Iowa a 26-20 lead and draining 6:53 off the clock.

Yes, 11 straight carries. Not only did Canzeri carry the ball 11 straight times during a fourth-quarter drive, he walked to the Iowa sideline after a timeout before the field goal and pumped his arms up and down to get the crowd going.

“No, I did not,” said Canzeri, who, you know, can’t really keep track of carries because he’s doing the carrying. “I knew it was a good amount.”

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz didn’t know, either. He was busy coaching. It wasn’t chaos or anything, it was just, using Ferentz’s phrase, “Who cares?”

“I’m not being smart here, but I don’t count them,” Ferentz said. “I’m not keeping track. There’s no pitch count. I don’t believe in it in baseball, either. I think it’s a bunch of crap. ... In a game like this, you go with your best players. We had to, the game was on the line.”

No one knew Canzeri had 43 carries. Everyone had their favorite Canzeri run picked out. After the Fighting Illini (4-2, 1-1) pulled within 16-13 on Taylor Zalewski’s 40-yard field goal with 2:56 left in the third quarter, Canzeri answered with a 75-yard TD run on the first play of the ensuing drive, pushing Iowa to a little more comfortable 23-13 lead with 2:45 left in the third.

Even after the 75-yarder, the door was still open. Illinois QB Wes Lunt hit wide receiver Geronimo Allison for a 53-yard TD. Illinois drove for another field goal. Iowa kicked another field goal to make it 26-20.

Then the Illini had first down at their 25 with 3:20 left. On first down, running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn was hit by defensive end Parker Hesse and linebacker Josey Jewell. He fumbled and Jewell recovered. That was that. The defense, which really has been the Hawkeyes’ spine this season, forced its second turnover.

Iowa will go to No. 14 Northwestern (5-1, 1-1) after having spent a lot of physical capital Saturday in Kinnick.

First and foremost, senior defensive end Drew Ott suffered an ACL injury during a punt in the second half, The Gazette has learned. Ferentz didn’t confirm the extent of the injury. Ott had a sack Saturday to raise his season total to five.

“It’s a shame, it’s just a tough deal,” Ferentz said. “ ... He’s still invested. He’s going to do all he can, and hopefully we can get him back. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.”

Why was a true freshman in at right tackle? Daniels replaced Boettger, who left the game early in the third quarter with a left ankle injury. Iowa already was down left tackle Boone Myers (neck/shoulder stinger) and running back LeShun Daniels (high-ankle sprain). Quarterback C.J. Beathard conducted his postgame with ice on his left hip and right groin.

And, so, Iowa moves on to the next round with a true freshman in at right tackle and a 190-pound running back with ant strength.

As far as Iowa goes, that’s pretty Iowa.

Jordan Canzeri feature from 2015

Mile Marker Canzeri

IOWA CITY — When Jordan Canzeri was a freshman he made the 15 1/2-hour drive from his home in Troy, N.Y., to Iowa City. It didn’t take long for him to wise up and learn that the three hours of flights and airports were worth it.

Last weekend, it only felt like Canzeri ran to Troy and back ... and then back again ... and then again.

Canzeri set an Iowa record with 43 carries and totaled the third-best rushing performance in school history with 256 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown late in the third quarter, to push the No. 17 Hawkeyes’ 29-20 victory last weekend over Illinois.

His dad, Brian, made the three hours of flights. He does nearly every game. Canzeri also had four close high school friends make the long drive.

So, Canzeri had a pretty good crowd for the “Jordan Canzeri game.”

“I’m just very blessed to have a father who’s done so much for me, he has since I was a kid,” said Canzeri, who set a career-high for rushing attempts for the second week in a row. “It’s amazing to have a background like that and a great family.”

Let’s kind of go on Canzeri’s ride. Obviously, this can’t be carry No. 1 through No. 43. There’s not enough newsprint/internet bandwidth. It’s the moments in what turned out to be a record-setting day and a huge thrust for the Hawkeyes (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten), who’ll travel to No. 21 Northwestern (5-1, 1-1) with a chance to put themselves a few steps ahead of the pack in the Big Ten West Division.

Carry No. 1 — This was a simple inside zone for 4 yards. Canzeri made his first mark as a Hawkeye in the 2011 Insight Bowl, when, as a 170-something-pound true freshman, he was, out of necessity, thrown to the Sooners.

He’s 5-foot-8, 190-something pounds now. In some circles, that’s still deemed too small to run the ball between the tackles in the Big Ten.

“You can let the circumstances control you and just sulk or get down on yourself and think that the world is out to get you,” Canzeri said when asked about a career where he’s constantly been told he’s too small. “Or you can focus on what you can do and focus on the positive aspect of just being able to work hard and show people what you have.”

Carry No. 14 — This was an interesting one because it reflected a lot of the making and remaking of the Iowa offense during this game.

True freshman James Daniels was in at right guard because senior Jordan Walsh was in the locker room having his left shoulder looked at. Nose guard Chunky Clements ran through Daniels and laid a shot on Canzeri, who spent a little time on the turf trying to catch his breath and eventually went to the sidelines.

“Good players want the ball in their hands,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “They want to try to do what they can to help the football team, and it’s a real credit to Jordan’s mental toughness because he — it’s been six hard games now.”

Canzeri was back three plays later. Four plays later, he caught a screen pass, got a great block from Daniels and sophomore guard Sean Welsh, and scored a 17-yard TD.

Carry No. 26 — Power play, 75 yards, untouched, touchdown. You loved that one. Canzeri did, too. Ferentz, too. Not everyone saw it.

“When you get into that moment, it’s almost tunnel vision,” Welsh said. “You don’t want to look around, because once you let up, that hesitation, they’re able to shake you off. You put your eyes on your guy and everything came together that play.”

Carries Nos. 30 through 40 — Eleven consecutive runs, one pass and then a 34-yard field goal.

Earlier in the week, Canzeri was asked about all the work. It’s OK to wonder about that. The most carries Canzeri had in a season was 102 last year. He’s at 132 right now (his 697 yards also are a career high by more than 200 yards).

His coach has stopped counting. Canzeri was maybe never counting.

“No, I did not,” Canzeri said when asked if he had an idea how many carries he had. “I knew it was a good amount, just obviously from being tired. I was just happy my team trusted me in that situation and I got it done for them.”