It almost looked over until it wasn’t.
Minnesota running back Mohamed Ibrahim beat the Hawkeyes in big game after big game. In all, the Gophers passed the ball to him 39 (!!!) times. He converted those carries into a Huntington Bank Stadium-record 263 yards.
But one of those carries could have ruined his gophers’ chances of winning the Big Ten West. Knotted at 10, Ibrahim carried his team all the way down to the Iowa 13 with just over five minutes left to play. He was on his way to another first down in a 3rd and 4th place finish.
Then Jack Campbell happened.
Iowa’s All-American linebacker got into a scrum and ousted football. Deontae Craig picked it up and gave life to the Hawkeyes when they desperately needed it. But that alone would not be enough.
Iowa then poked and before you or I could blink, the gophers were marching down the field at Iowa 33.
Then Jack Campbell happened. Again.
Gopher quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis attempted a short throw to the left. Riley Moss broke it up and Campbell picked it up before the football hit the ground. The 6-foot-5 Campbell worked his way down the sideline, keeping his feet inbounds. He should have chosen six, but the officers did mistakenly disqualified him from the Minnesota 45.
Iowa finally scored a game-winning field goal and won 13-10. Campbell did everything in his power to set the Hawkeyes up for a win, and he did. But he wouldn’t take all the credit.
“Damn Good Piece by Riley Moss” Campbell opened his press with. “It’s always a teammate who gives you a chance. I’m just trying to get an extra hat on the ball. Got the ball popped up and took the opportunity. I’m just passionate about putting my teammates in the best situation. If there’s a big game out there, I want it to be for the team.
A heartwarming photo of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz and his star player embracing after the game surfaced pretty quickly. Ferentz choked while talking about one of Iowa’s four team captains.
“We know Jack very well in our program. I can’t say enough about how he plays,” Ferentz said. “His resilience. His positivity, everything about him is just top notch. He just comes with big games. It’s great to see.”
Next week’s game against Nebraska could be Campbell’s final as Hawkeye. It’s Seniors’ Day in Iowa, though Campbell has an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 season.
If Iowa wins, they will return to Indianapolis for the Big Ten championship. Campbell’s heroic performance would have propelled Iowa to five straight wins and the Big Ten West title.
If that’s it for Iowa’s superstar, this sure is one hell of a way to go out with a bang.
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