He plays

IOWA CITY – Over the past month, Deshaun Lee has been an inspiration. The redshirt freshman dazzled in a Kids’ Day scrimmage with two interceptions, then stepped in bravely at Iowa State’s Week 1 starter and played well.

But after consecutive strong matches, Lee was moved to the second team. This is because more experienced reinforcements are on the way.

Jermarey Harris was listed as the new No. 1 cornerback on the depth chart Monday, reclaiming the position he was expected to hold when the season began. Harris was serving a two-game suspension by the NCAA for his involvement in the state’s sports gambling investigations, and now he’s back.

Saturday’s home game against Western Michigan (2:30 p.m., Big Ten Network) will mark Harris’ first game since the Citrus Bowl against Kentucky on Jan. 1, 2022. Although Harris was not included in Tuesday’s player interview session, one of his teammates could In the closet to certify that the Chicago native is ready to go.

“I’ve seen the excitement the last couple of weeks,” linebacker Jay Higgins said. “The guy can’t wait to get out there, and this week of practice you can see he’s fresh. He’s the fastest guy out there running.”

Harris started six games in the 2021 season after injuries to Riley Moss and Matt Hankins and played well. He has recorded four interceptions in those six starts, including one in each of his last three games. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder has proven to be a playmaker in his short time. But Harris missed the 2022 opener after an OWI charge and then missed the rest of the season with an unspecified injury.

“Experience. He did a great job in tough circumstances two years ago, when all of a sudden he was there,” coach Kirk Ferentz said Tuesday. “The fun part is talking about the human side of things… The growth we’ve seen with him throughout his career has been incredible.”

There are no concerns about Harris being rusty. Iowa State’s coaches wouldn’t have brought him back to the first line if they didn’t have complete confidence in him. Lee is now a top reserve player and could be implemented when Iowa moves to a dime package with one running back and six defensive backs.

“Now, we have more confidence in him,” Ferentz said.

Harris’ return adds to a starting secondary that includes preseason All-American cornerback Cooper Dejean, newly named Senior Defensive Player of the Week Sebastian Castro, established free safety Quinn Schulte and five-star strong safety Xavier Nwankpa. Where Harris can provide the most help is with his knowledge as a fifth-year senior (who could play during his seventh year if he applies for a medical redshirt for 2022).

“He’s just a great player who understands the game so well,” said wide receiver Diante Vines, who faces Harris in practice. “Literally in the (Iowa State) game, we were standing on the sideline, and he told me he thought the throw was coming that way, even before it happened. The play came out, the quarterback came out, and he threw a smack all the way to the receiver. I was like, ‘Damn.’

He plays

Kirk Ferentz is frustrated with the NCAA’s decision regarding Noah Shannon

“A missed opportunity by the NCAA,” the Hawkeyes coach said of his player’s resume. But Shannon will remain with the team on a day-to-day basis.

Chad Listico, Hawkeye Central

Noah Shannon’s ending brings disappointment

While the win over Iowa State over the weekend was a win for Iowa State football, the Hawkeyes suffered a setback on Monday, when the NCAA rejected defensive tackle Noah Shannon for recall. In a statement, Shannon apologized to Hawkeye fans for his mistake — betting on another Iowa sports team. Ferentz criticized the decision on Tuesday, commenting that the NCAA missed an opportunity to be reasonable.

The NCAA has sent a clear message throughout this sports gambling investigation involving Iowa and Iowa State athletes: Betting on your school, in any sport, will not be tolerated. Shannon’s case will forever be associated with this, but he added in his statement: “I want to say thank you to my family, Coach Ferentz, the coaching staff and all of my teammates and friends for their unwavering support. I will make sure this mistake does not define me or my future career.”

Part of that means being with the team on a daily basis. Shannon said in August that he was mentoring true freshmen Maddox Borcherding Johnson, Chase Brackney and Kenneth Meriwether.

“We’re going to make it work in a number of ways,” Ferentz said. “(We’ll) have his experience and expertise on a day-to-day basis, mentoring some young guys … who are going through a tough transition, just like he did six years ago. I think it’s good for him to be busy for sure.”

Iowa State is clearly doing the right thing by standing by Shannon. And good for him for being a model teammate in the face of personal disappointment.

He plays

Iowa State’s Joe Evans, an Ames native, appreciates the Cy-Hawk Trophy moment

The six-year-old had a monster game in Iowa State’s 20-13 win over Iowa State and earned a chance to hoist the trophy first.

Chad Listico, Hawkeye Central

Joe Evans is making his big homecoming in Ames

Saturday afternoon and evening were a prime opportunity for Joe Evans to bask in the Cy-Hawk’s warm glow. The Ames native had arguably the best game of his life in his hometown, a 20-13 win at Iowa State in which he played 66 of a possible 76 snaps on the defensive end. He regularly harassed quarterback Rocco Bichette and caught Iowa State’s final pass of the day, a third-and-1 punt that forced a fourth-and-1 that led to the Hawkeyes winning the game.

When it was over, Evans — a sixth-year student who had contributed on the field for five years — was the first Hawkeye to hold the competition trophy.

“It means the world to me,” Evans said. “For them to let me go get that trophy, how much that meant to me, just being from Eames … and embracing it with those guys is something I’ll never forget.”

The performance was highlighted by FOX broadcasters Jason Benetti and Brooke Howard, who complimented Evans’ play from start to finish.

“My guys texted me and told me I was getting a lot of love,” Evans said. They said: Good game. “Thank you,” I said, and kind of put that aside. But I appreciate it, being from Ames.”

Howard said Evans’ pregame speech to his teammates would have violated FCC rules so it could not be broadcast. Evans had a good laugh upon hearing that, but he wasn’t about to reveal what he shared with his teammates.

“It’s a rivalry game. We were all excited to play,” Evans said. “That’s all I’ll say about that.”

He plays

Nico Ragini is optimistic that Iowa State’s offense is close to breaking through

The sixth-year senior has four of Iowa’s eight wide receivers through two weeks this season.

Chad Listico, Hawkeye Central

The wide receivers remain positive despite the limited production

Through two weeks, Iowa State’s wide receivers — all combined — have eight catches for 106 yards. Across the Football Bowl Subdivision, 170 individual players have more receiving yards. Vines, Iowa State’s primary “X” receiver to start the season, has one catch for seven yards through two games.

A source of frustration?

“Not disappointed at all,” said sixth-year senior Nico Ragini, who has four catches for 44 yards. “It definitely hurts us a little. But good damage, if that makes sense.”

Rajini and receivers remain positive. They said there was a good vibe in the room. Quarterback Cade McNamara was a one-yard takedown of Seth Anderson on a 91-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter in Ames. Three punts were dropped in one red zone against Utah State.

“I feel like Week 1 and Week 2 we were equally close to being a couple away from being the attack we wanted them to be,” Ragini said.

However, there was some isolated frustration in Iowa. Ragini was clearly dragged to the ground before McNamara’s pass arrived in the second quarter, leading to an interception by Jeremiah Cooper. No traffic interference signal was thrown. Earlier in the game, Iowa State was flagged for arriving too early with a pass to Ragini.

“The first incident, the guy hit me before the ball got there. The second incident, the guy hit me before the ball got there,” said Rajini, who used some colorful language to describe the officials not being called. “I don’t know what they were looking at.” . But I don’t care. We got the win. That’s all that matters. On to the next one.”

He plays

Iowa QB Cade McNamara: The best he’s felt in a month

Michigan’s transfers are fully in place ahead of Iowa State’s Week 3 matchup with Western Michigan.

Chad Listico, Hawkeye Central

Cade McNamara’s return to training is ‘huge’ to make progress

Last week, much of the talk in Ferentz’s press conference was about McNamara’s inability to run an offside or illegal midfielder. This week the tone changed. McNamara said he feels better than he did a month ago, which is because he suffered his first quadriceps injury on Aug. 12. Considering McNamara also underwent right knee surgery in November, this week marks the first time he has played a full game. Representatives a week in a whole year.

Toss open the entire game rules? Not quite, Ferentz said. But this is great progress.

“We are in a much better position today than we were two weeks ago, which is really encouraging,” Ferentz said. “With injuries, you never know. Everyone heals differently.

“All that said, you’ve got to keep your fingers crossed and hope he keeps climbing. But certainly the fact that he can train now is huge. Because he’s missed a lot of time. The timing element is very important.

“If we can keep him there, keep him practicing, common sense would say, yeah, maybe we’ll play better.”

He plays

Linebacker Nick Jackson is still adjusting to the Hawkeyes’ defense

The Virginia transfer has spent a lot of time in pass coverage and expects more of the same against the fast-paced Western Michigan.

Chad Listico, Hawkeye Central

The Big Ten future looks…daunting

The only two 2-0 teams in the Western Conference are Iowa and Minnesota. Six East teams started with a 2-0 tie. But did you notice that there are four other notable teams that are collectively undefeated?

Yes, the 2024 Big Ten newbies — all in their final year as part of the Pacific-12 Conference — are a combined 9-0.

  • No. 5 USC is 3-0 He leads the FBS with a whopping 9.27 yards average per game behind Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams.
  • No. 8 Washington 2-0is averaging an FBS-best 472 yards per game and is a 16-point road favorite Saturday at Michigan State.
  • No. 13 Oregon is 2-0second in the FBS in total offense (589.5 yards per game) and coming off a solid 38-30 win at Texas Tech.
  • No. 25 UCLA is also 2-0 While the Group of Five held Coastal Carolina and San Diego State to an average of 11.5 points.

Sectionals will be eliminated next season in the 18-team Big Ten. Now is the time for the Hawkeyes to take advantage of a schedule and league that will become even more difficult a year from now.

Hawkeyes columnist Chad Listico has covered sports for 28 years with The Des Moines Register, USA TODAY and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Follow @ChadLeistikow on Twitter.

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