116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Jordan Canzeri is the senior. He calls the shots, even on a Saturday when he stood on the sideline waiting for his left ankle to get right.
Being the senior, Canzeri is sort of the 'papa bear' of Iowa's running backs. He had one simple request to his fellow running backs after last weekend's 31-15 victory over Maryland.
Get that crazy nickname out there.
'The Four Deadly Horsemen, that's Jordan Canzeri,' sophomore RB Akrum Wadley said. 'He wanted me to say that. He wanted us to say that today, so shout out to Jordan Canzeri.'
OK remember, college kids play college football. College kids like to have fun. They have creative minds and enjoy a good laugh. So, you now have 'The Four Deadly Horsemen.'
'This was Jordan's thing, but we all agreed with it,' junior LeShun Daniels said. 'It was kind of like, 'Man, that's kind of legit,' so we just rolled with it.'
To quote the philosopher MC Hammer, it's too legit to quit.
During a dominant first half against Maryland, each running back punched in with a touchdown to give the Hawkeyes what turned out to be an insurmountable 21-0 halftime lead. Daniels powered in from the 1 for a 7-0 lead. Wadley made a run that maybe only Wadley can make, squeezing through a hole on an outside zone run for an 11-yard TD. Sophomore Derrick Mitchell put the bow on it with a 2-yard TD run with nine seconds left in the first half.
The Hawkeyes ran the ball efficiently and held on to their No. 11 ranking in the latest coaches poll. Iowa (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten) travels to Indiana (4-4, 0-4) for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff on ESPN this weekend.
'It's great, and it's kind of been the way the season has gone,' Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. 'It's emblematic of the way the team has been playing. It seems like when someone can't go or can't contribute, someone else jumps in there and does it.'
Based on the results of Maryland alone, maybe this wasn't the best day to unveil a running back nickname. Iowa was held to a season-low 110 rushing yards (the 2.5 yards on 44 carries was the lowest for the Hawkeyes since the 2014 Outback Bowl against LSU, a span of 21 games). Also, on two drives with a 31-15 lead and less than seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, Iowa tried running clock on a pair of drives and could only drain just more than three minutes.
Still, it was adequate and efficient. The Hawkeyes rushed for three TDs and six first downs. Iowa also owned a near six-minute advantage in time of possession. All numbers that win for the way Iowa currently is built.
'We have a lot of good backs,' quarterback C.J. Beathard said. 'LeShun, Ak, DMX (Mitchell) and Canzeri, they're all good running backs. That's a good problem to have, when you've got a lot of guys who are skillful back there. We'll just continue to use them. They're all doing good things.'
The Four Deadly Horsemen works because it fits with an offensive line that is performing and should get injured players rotating back in (sophomore left tackle Boone Myers came back from a stinger vs. Maryland; right tackle Ike Boettger is progressing from an ankle sprain). Beathard is fighting a hip/groin injury and is limited in what he can do, Ferentz said, but he still managed to produce four of Iowa's seven explosive plays against the Terrapins.
So, lean on an O-line that has been one of the Big Ten's best this season and the Four Deadly Horsemen.
We better do a quick rollcall, by the way.
'You've got Jordan Canzeri, the senior,' Daniels said with a laugh. 'Then, you have me, myself, junior running back. Then, you have Akrum and Derrick Mitchell as redshirt sophomores.
'We bring different things to the table. Derrick is a good receiver out of the backfield (he caught a 19-yard screen pass vs. the Terps). Akrum and Jordan are shifty-type guys. Me, I'm a big power run-type of guy (6-0, 225 pounds, he is).'
Iowa had a little bit of all of that on display last weekend. Even from the sideline and in sweat pants, Canzeri got into the act.
'It might sound funny, but it felt like Jordan was with us every step of the way, he's right there,' said Wadley, who led Iowa with 67 yards on 19 carries last week. 'He was helping me clean my visor. He told me everything. It was like he was playing with us. Great leader. He was like the big brother.'
l Comments: (319) 398-8256; firstname.lastname@example.org