Iowa Football

Iowa's Keith Duncan is Big Ten Kicker of the Year, A.J. Epenesa named All-Big Ten

Michael Ojemudia, Geno Stone are second-team all-conference

Iowa Hawkeyes place kicker Keith Duncan (3) celebrates a field goal with Iowa Hawkeyes punter Colten Rastetter (7) in the second quarter at an Iowa Hawkeyes football game with the Illinois Fighting Illini at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019.  (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Iowa Hawkeyes place kicker Keith Duncan (3) celebrates a field goal with Iowa Hawkeyes punter Colten Rastetter (7) in the second quarter at an Iowa Hawkeyes football game with the Illinois Fighting Illini at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

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.

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“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.”

 

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

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