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Hawkeyes, one of the best at causing turnovers, do it through the simplest means

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 11:19 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - The Iowa Hawkeyes have put a lot of points on the board so far during their 2021 campaign; 61, to be exact.

The defense has accounted for 21 of those points, and they’ve given the offense short fields to score even more. Forced turnovers and defensive touchdowns aren’t very sustainable or “sticky” stats, but the Hawkeyes are fighting against those numbers with a simple method: doing their jobs.

“You got guys in the right places because they’re doing their job and they’re doing it with fundamentals and great effort,” Jack Campbell, junior linebacker, said.

Everyone cheers for the guy who gets the turnover and runs it into the endzone. Two different Hawkeyes on three separate occasions have heard those cheers. But according to Iowa defensive leaders, causing turnovers isn’t about individual prowess, it’s mostly about teamwork

“It’s selflessness it’s preparation, it’s not just one guy going out and making a bunch of plays it’s we’re all doing our assignments and we’re all playing fundamental team football,” Zach VanValkenburg, senior defensive lineman, said.

The Hawkeyes are fifth in the country with seven forced turnovers. The defense has scored three touchdowns by themselves, which stands alone atop the nation.

“It’s kind of a crazy number but I’m not really shocked to be honest with you just because we’re in the places we need to be,” Riley Moss, senior defensive back, said. “When you’re in the places you need to be that stuff tends to happen”

Moss also said the Hawkeyes are taking advantage of being in those places by actually catching the ball, and not surrendering to the common trope of defensive backs being “wide receivers who can’t catch.”

“We’re over there after practice with the receivers off the JUGS machine catching some balls too. We’ve been working with the receivers.”

If the Hawkeye defense was a group of wide receivers, they wouldn’t be doing too bad for themselves. They have 3 interceptions, for 132 yards and 2 touchdowns. There are multiple FBS-level offenses that have fewer passing yards and passing touchdowns than that.

The Hawks will be hungry for more this Saturday against Kent State at 2:30 p.m.

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