IOWA CITY — Iowa junior kicker Keith Duncan has had quite a return to the football field.
He has gone from the bench to starter, from game-winner to scholarship. And now, he is the Bakken-Anderson Kicker of the Year in the Big Ten Conference.
Iowa junior defensive end A.J. Epenesa joined Duncan on the first All-Big Ten team, as voted by league coaches and media.
In addition to Epenesa on the first defensive unit, junior defensive back Geno Stone (coaches) and senior defensive back Michael Ojemudia (media) earned second-team honors. Ojemudia was a third-team selection by the coaches and Stone earned media honorable mention.
Earning honorable mention recognition from coaches and media were junior defensive end Chauncey Golston and senior linebacker Kristian Welch. Senior defensive tackle Cedrick Lattimore earned honorable mention from the coaches, while the media extended honorable mention honors to senior punter Michael Sleep-Dalton.
Duncan is the first Iowa kicker to earn the conference award since its inception in 2011. The award is named after former Wisconsin kicker Jim Bakken and former Michigan State kicker Morten Andersen.
Duncan is one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award as the top kicker in the nation.
Duncan, a native of Grapevine, Texas, set Big Ten and Iowa single-season records with 29 made field goals, a total that ranks sixth-best all-time in the NCAA. Duncan also set a school record with six field goal attempts in Iowa’s win over Purdue. His 34 attempts this season also are a school record.
Epenesa, a native of Glen Carbon, Ill., earned first-team honors for the second straight year. He was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week following wins over Minnesota and Nebraska. He leads the Hawkeyes in tackles for loss (13 for 69), sacks (9 for 54), quarterback pressures (nine) and forced fumbles (three). He also has three pass break-ups.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
“He’s just a dominant player,” Iowa safety Jack Koerner said after Friday’s win over Nebraska. “Whether he’s making the stats or not making the stats, his presence is always felt. He does so much for us that the stat sheet doesn’t show.”
1st Team (media, coaches)
45 total tackles, 13 TFL
9 sacks, 9 QB hurries
3 forced fumbles pic.twitter.com/7KUPRoNDDr
— On Iowa (@GazetteOnIowa) December 3, 2019
Senior quarterback Nate Stanley is Iowa’s Sportsmanship Award recipient. The native of Menomonie, Wis., started all 12 games in 2019 and all 38 games over the past three seasons as Iowa has posted a 26-12 record. Stanley passed for more than 2,700 yards with 14 touchdowns this season. He ranks second in career passing touchdowns (66) and pass attempts (1,128) and third in completions (655), passing yards (8,089) and total offense (7,993).
Iowa (9-3 overall, 6-3 Big Ten) is ranked 18th in the current Associated Press rankings and 19th in the coaches poll. The Hawkeyes are bowl eligible for the 18th time in the last 19 seasons. Iowa’s bowl destination and opponent will be announced Sunday.
Coach of the Year (Media) — Ryan Day, Ohio State
Coach of the Year (Coaches) — P.J. Fleck, Minnesota
Defensive Player of the Year — Chase Young, Ohio State
Defensive Lineman of the Year — Chase Young, Ohio State
Linebacker of the Year — Micah Parsons, Penn State
Defensive Back of the Year — Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota
Kicker of the Year — Keith Duncan, Iowa
Punter of the Year — Blake Hayes, Illinois
Return Specialist of the Year — Javon Leake, Maryland
FIRST TEAM ALL-BIG TEN DEFENSE (MEDIA & COACHES)
A.J. Epenesa, Iowa
Kenny Willekes, Michigan State
Chase Young, Ohio State
Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State
Micah Parsons, Penn State
Zack Baun, Wisconsin
Lavert Hill, Michigan
Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota
Jordan Fuller, Ohio State
Jeff Okudah, Ohio State
FIRST TEAM ALL-BIG TEN DEFENSE (MEDIA ONLY)
Kenny Willekes, Michigan State
Dele Harding, Illinois
FIRST TEAM ALL-BIG TEN DEFENSE (COACHES ONLY)
Joe Gaziano, Northwestern
Malik Harrison, Ohio State