Iowa Football

Iowa football notebook: Michael Ojemudia back to The Big House, this time as player

Tracking game counts for freshmen

Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back Michael Ojemudia (11) tackles Michigan State Spartans wide receiver Felton Davis III (18) in the first quarter at an NCAA Division III football game with Michigan State at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Mich. on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back Michael Ojemudia (11) tackles Michigan State Spartans wide receiver Felton Davis III (18) in the first quarter at an NCAA Division III football game with Michigan State at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Mich. on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Not only is Michael Ojemudia going back to his home state for a big football game Saturday, the Iowa senior cornerback is going back to a stadium he has frequented as a fan.

Ojemudia’s older brother, Mario, was a four-year letterman for the University of Michigan, having his senior season in 2015 cut short by a torn Achilles tendon. A defensive end, Mario Ojemudia signed as a free agent with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens in 2016 but did not make the team.

“It was the end of the Brady Hoke era, so they were kind of up and down (as a team),” Michael Ojemudia said. “They had Denard Robinson and all that. It was good watching (my brother). A fun time.”

Michigan recruited Michael Ojemudia some when he was a senior at Harrison High School in Farmington Hills, Mich., but nothing became of it. Ojemudia signed with Iowa, will make his 15th career start on Saturday and eventually will receive his degree in mechanical engineering.

This time around, Mario will be at Michigan Stadium cheering on HIS brother.

“Yeah, (Michigan) recruited me a little bit, but didn’t offer. So I just looked elsewhere,” Michael Ojemudia said. “In hindsight, it was disappointing. But the way Iowa approached me, they really had a lot to sell. I didn’t really worry about not being able to go (to Michigan), because I wasn’t the biggest fan of them. There also was Michigan State and those schools. Iowa was really a good place for me at the end of the day.”

True freshmen game counts

If running back Tyler Goodson and tight end Sam LaPorta play Saturday, they will have burned their opportunity to redshirt. The next game, whenever it comes, for the duo will be their fifth this season.

Goodson has impressed with 202 rushing yards in four games, including a 5.9 per carry average. LaPorta has played on special teams and in short-yardage situations.

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Seven true freshmen have seen the field. Offensive lineman Justin Britt has played in three games, linebacker Jack Campbell, defensive back Jermari Harris and wide receiver Desmond Hutson two each and defensive back Dane Belton one. Ferentz mentioned Belton as someone who very well could see playing time in sub packages Saturday for Iowa.

Kirk Ferentz vs. Michigan

Ferentz is 7-5 against Michigan as Iowa’s head coach. That includes Iowa winning five of the last six matchups against the Wolverines.

Since 2001, Iowa has 152 victories and five top-10 finishes nationally. Michigan has 151 wins and four top 10s.

Michigan does lead the all-time series against Iowa, 41-15-4.

1,000-yard club

Iowa running backs Toren Young and Mekhi Sargent went over the 1,000-yard mark rushing for their careers in last Saturday’s 48-3 win over Middle Tennessee.

Sargent has 1,044 yards rushing in a season and four games. That includes a team-leading 299 this season.

Young has 1,081 career rushing yards in two seasons and four games. That includes 251 yards this season.

Young and Sargent are the 48th and 49th backs in Iowa history to reach the 1,000-yard mark in their careers.

2019 ANF Wall of Famer

Iowa said the announcement of 2019 America Needs Farmers Wall of Honor honoree will be announced Tuesday, Oct. 8 during Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz’s weekly news conference.

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“This former Hawkeye standout and now a full-time family farmer will join previous honorees in the ANF Plaza, a permanent section of the stadium dedicated to Iowa agriculture and celebrates what farming means to Iowa,” a news release from the school said.

The 2019 honoree will be recognized during Iowa’s October 12 game at Kinnick Stadium against Penn State. The ANF Plaza is in the north end zone of Kinnick.

Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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