Oct 21, 2023; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back Cooper DeJean (3) looks on during the game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa DB Cooper DeJean headed to NFL draft

All-American defensive back Cooper DeJean is entering the 2024 NFL Draft, he announced Thursday, after three years playing for Iowa and its stellar defense.

“These past 3 years have been filled with memories that will last a lifetime,” DeJean wrote in part on X, formerly Twitter. “Putting on the black and gold and playing in Kinnick Stadium has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid and it has been everything I expected and more.

“… Thank you Hawkeye Nation for your continued support. It has been so much fun to play in front of the best fans in the country each and every week.”

DeJean, a potential first-round pick, played in 10 games for Iowa in 2023 before a practice injury in November, reportedly a broken leg, cut short his season. After having five interceptions in 2022 and returning three for touchdowns, DeJean added two picks, five pass breakups and 41 tackles in 2023.

DeJean also returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown in Iowa’s 26-16 win over Michigan State in October.

–Field Level Media

Oct 21, 2023; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes assistant coach Brian Ferentz reacts with linebacker Jay Higgins (34) as he returns to the sideline during the second quarter against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa AD says OC Brian Ferentz won’t return in 2024

Brian Ferentz will finish the season as Iowa’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach but will not return next season, interim athletic director Beth Goetz announced Monday.

Ferentz, the son of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, has been with the program since 2012 and has served as offensive coordinator since 2017.

Due to an underperforming offense in recent years, Iowa had Ferentz sign an amended contract for this season with a slight pay cut coupled with performance-based incentives. Specifically, he needed the Hawkeyes to average at least 25 points per game after they posted just 17.7 ppg in 2022.

Through eight games this season, Iowa is 6-2 (3-2 Big Ten), but the Hawkeyes have scored just 19.5 points per contest. That includes 14.2 points per game in conference play — a number boosted by a punt return touchdown against Michigan State and a safety against Wisconsin.

“Anyone who loves Iowa football recognizes both the success and challenges that have brought attention to our program this season,” Goetz said in a statement. “Our struggles on offense coupled with the offensive coordinator’s contract make this a unique situation.

“After conversations with head coach Kirk Ferentz, coach Brian Ferentz and President (Barbara) Wilson, I informed Brian that our intention is for him to be with us through the bowl game, but this is his last season with the program. Making this known today is in the best interest of the program and its loyal fans; it provides clarity during this pivotal time in the schedule.”

Goetz, who came to Iowa in 2022 and rose to interim athletic director this past August, wrote it is “not (her) practice” to get involved with assistant coach personnel decisions.

“Our priority is to put all our student-athletes in the best position to have both short-term and long-term success, on and off the field,” Goetz said. “Our football team has a group of outstanding young men and talented athletes, who at 6-2, have a lot to play for.”

The Hawkeyes brought in quarterback Cade McNamara as a transfer from Big Ten rival Michigan, but McNamara suffered an ACL tear in the fifth game of the season against Michigan State. Deacon Hill has manned the position since then, completing 37.8 percent of his passes for 427 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Kirk Ferentz, 68, has led the Hawkeyes since 1999. After last season, he danced around pointed questions about what made his son a good offensive coordinator, though admitting that the offense in 2022 was “not good enough.”

–Field Level Media

Minnesota defensive back Tyler Nubin (27) jumps on a fumble by Iowa quarterback Deacon Hill (10) at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, October 21, 2023 in Iowa City.

Minnesota upsets No. 24 Iowa after late TD nullified

Dragan Kesich connected on four field goals and Tyler Nubin and Devon Williams each contributed a sack and forced fumble to help visiting Minnesota edge No. 24 Iowa 12-10 on Saturday in Iowa City.

Minnesota (4-3, 2-2 Big Ten) snapped an eight-game losing streak in the Floyd of Rosedale trophy series in a contest that featured 18 combined punts — and a would-be punt return touchdown in the final two minutes that was nullified.

Iowa’s Cooper DeJean appeared to return a punt 54 yards for a touchdown that would have put the hosts ahead 16-12. DeJean allowed the ball to bounce before receiving the punt near the Minnesota sideline, then made multiple defenders miss before cutting back across the field.

A replay review, however, showed that DeJean waved his left hand, a gesture deemed an invalid fair catch signal. The ball was ruled dead at the spot of recovery, and Minnesota’s Justin Walley intercepted Iowa quarterback Deacon Hill three plays later.

Hill rushed for a touchdown late in the second quarter and Drew Stevens connected on a 23-yard field goal for Iowa (6-2, 3-2).

The Golden Gophers outgained the Hawkeyes 239-127. Iowa had just two yards on seven second-half possessions.

Kesich hit from 43, 44 and 28 yards earlier in the game. He kicked a go-ahead 31-yard field goal with 8:33 to play. A 39-yard connection between quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis and Daniel Jackson on a deep crossing route set up the score.

Jackson had seven receptions for 101 yards, as Kaliakmanis was 10-for-25 passing for 126 yards. Darius Taylor gained 59 yards on 16 carries.

Hill went 10-for-28 passing for 116 yards and an interception. Diante Vines had three catches for 62 yards for the Hawkeyes.

Iowa took a 10-3 lead into halftime. Hill capped a six-play, 46-yard drive with a 1-yard scoring run with 49 seconds left in the second quarter. Minnesota committed four penalties on the possession.

Hawkeyes linebacker Karson Sharar was ejected for targeting moments later. Officials ruled that Sharar led with the crown of his helmet when he tackled Golden Gophers kick returner Quentin Redding.

–Field Level Media

Oct 7, 2023; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes tight end Erick All (83) catches a touchdown pass from quarterback Deacon Hill (not pictured) as Purdue Boilermakers Markevious Brown (1) defends during the fourth quarter at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa loses TE Erick All to season-ending injury

Iowa playmakers are dropping at an alarming rate, with the latest hit coming Tuesday.

Hawkeyes tight end Erick All is done for the 2023 season because of a knee injury he suffered Saturday in the first quarter at Wisconsin, head coach Kirk Ferentz confirmed Tuesday.

“His season is over. It’s really unfortunate. Such a positive, hardworking guy,” Ferentz said.

All leads the Hawkeyes with 21 receptions. He’s also the team’s leader in receiving yards (299) and touchdowns (three).

The Hawkeyes move forward without All, a graduate transfer from Michigan with 75 career receptions for 864 yards, without knowing precisely how he’ll be replaced. Tight end Addison Ostrenga hasn’t since Sept. 16 due to injury.

All joins a group of injured offensive players for the Hawkeyes highlighted by tight end Luke Lachey (broken ankle) and quarterback Cade McNamara (torn ACL).

–Field Level Media

Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Hudson Card (1) is tackled by Illinois Fighting Illini linebacker Alec Bryant (90) during the NCAA football game, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023, at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind. Purdue Boilermakers won 44-19.

Purdue aims to keep rolling at Iowa

Both Purdue and Iowa are coming off wins, but the teams will have different vibes when they meet for a Big Ten West contest Saturday in Iowa City.

Purdue (2-3, 1-1 Big Ten) is coming off its best performance of the year, a 44-19 victory at home over Illinois.

Quarterback Hudson Card (18-for-26, 217 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions), a transfer from Texas, continued a solid start to the season. Card is completing 63.7 percent of his passes for 1,244 yards and five TDs.

The Iowa defense held an opponent under 20 points for the second time this year.

Meanwhile, Iowa enters with a good record (4-1, 1-0) but is somewhat in a state of disarray.

After suffering a shutout loss at Penn State the week prior, the Hawkeyes struggled at home last Saturday to beat a bad Michigan State team, needing a punt return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to take the lead.

Worse, starting quarterback Cade McNamara suffered a serious knee injury and had to be carted off of the field. He is expected to miss the rest of the season.

Backup quarterback Deacon Hill took over from there in the win, and he’ll likely be the starter against Purdue.

Hill went 11 of 27 for 115 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception, although he was plagued by six dropped passes.

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz was satisfied with how Hill handled a tough situation and feels he can be a good leader for the team the rest of the season if needed.

“He’s a different style of quarterback,” Ferentz said. “He’s a big quarterback, but he throws the ball well.

“It’s his strength and I thought (Saturday), we hadn’t really seen him in game action when the game is on the line. And I thought he showed a lot of good things.”

Purdue head coach Ryan Walters said he doesn’t anticipate his team will prepare for Iowa much differently with Hill at quarterback.

“They still have the same personnel around him,” Walters said. “We’ve got to be able to hold up in the run game, be able to hold up on the line of scrimmage and be able to be creative in the ways we cover their tight ends.”

– Field Level Media

Sep 30, 2023; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes quarterback Cade McNamara (12) warms up before the game against the Michigan State Spartans at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Iowa QB Cade McNamara (knee) likely done for year

Iowa has likely lost quarterback Cade McNamara for the rest of the season due to a left knee injury, 247Sports reported Monday.

He went down with a non-contact injury in the first quarter of Iowa’s 26-16 home win over Michigan State on Saturday night.

McNamara had completed 3 of 5 passes for 46 yards before exiting. Deacon Hill entered at quarterback and guided the Hawkeyes (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) to the victory.

McNamara, 23, transferred to Iowa after three seasons at Big Ten rival Michigan. He finishes his first season at Iowa with 505 passing yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions on 51.1 percent passing.

He missed most of 2022 with a leg injury before being cleared in time for Iowa’s fall camp.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz is expected to comment on McNamara’s injury status at a press conference Tuesday, but McNamara was not listed on the Hawkeyes’ depth chart Monday for this week’s game against Purdue (2-3, 1-1).

–Field Level Media

Sep 16, 2023; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes tight end Luke Lachey (85) comes off the field after an injury during the first quarter against the Western Michigan Broncos at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa TE Luke Lachey (ankle) undergoes surgery

Iowa tight end Luke Lachey underwent right ankle surgery on Tuesday and could miss the remainder of the season.

Lachey was injured during Saturday’s 41-10 rout of Western Michigan.

“I feel most badly for him,” Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz said Tuesday. “Obviously, he’s the person most affected. It’s just an unfortunate development. He’ll be fine here in time, but it’s a significant injury. He’ll be out for quite a while.”

Lachey leads Iowa with 10 receptions for 131 yards. Last season, he had 28 receptions for 398 yards and four touchdowns.

Lachey is the son of Jim Lachey, a former All-American offensive tackle at Ohio State star who also was a three-time NFL Pro Bowl selection.

No. 24 Iowa (3-0) will also be without running backs Kaleb Johnson (ankle) and Jaziun Patterson (lower leg) for Saturday’s Big Ten opener at No. 7 Penn State.

–Field Level Media

Iowa quarterback Cade McNamara warms up before scrimmaging during Kids' Day at Kinnick at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, in Iowa City, Iowa

Starter worry? Hawkeyes QB Cade McNamara not back from injury

Cade McNamara missed practice for the 11th consecutive day with a leg injury, and the Iowa starting quarterback isn’t the only player at the position hurting.

Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz said Wednesday that McNamara — dealing with a leg muscle issue since the team’s Aug. 12 scrimmage — might be cleared to join the team on the field by the end of this week. If so, it would give him ample time to prepare for the season opener. Iowa hosts Utah State on Sept. 2.

“The good news is I think he has a chance to start working in towards the end of this week,” Ferentz said. “Certainly by next Monday when we hit the field thinking about our opponent … we’ll know more at the end of the week, but I’m optimistic and we’ll see.”

McNamara’s backup, Joe Labas, has also been idle with injuries. Wisconsin transfer Deacon Hill, who has never thrown a pass in a college game, is the lone healthy quarterback in fall camp. Labas was 10 of 24 in Iowa’s Music City Bowl victory.

McNamara was hurt scrambling away from pressure outside of the pocket during the public scrimmage.

The Michigan transfer landed in Iowa City in December. He began the 2022 season as the Wolverines’ starting quarterback, but a season-ending knee injury Sept. 17 cleared the path for J.J. McCarthy to guide Michigan back to the College Football Playoff.

McNamara led Michigan to its first College Football Playoff appearance in 2021, also bringing a Big Ten title to Ann Arbor for the first time since 2004. Michigan was 12-2.

McNamara, named an offensive captain in August 2022, started the opener against Colorado State on Sept. 3.

–Field Level Media

Iowa junior offensive lineman Cody Ince (No. 73) protects the line as junior quarterback Spencer Petras throws a pass in the first quarter against Iowa State at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.

20210911 Cyhawk

Former Iowa OL Cody Ince dies at 23

Former Iowa offensive lineman Cody Ince died over the weekend, the school said Tuesday. Ince was 23.

A cause of death hasn’t been revealed.

An obituary posted online by a funeral home said Ince passed away Saturday at his home near Grantsburg, Wis.

Ince was part of the program from 2018-21 and started in 10 of 29 games played. He started six games in 2020 and four in 2021.

“I am incredibly sad to hear about Cody Ince’s sudden passing,” Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz said in a statement. “Cody was a tremendous young man, valued teammate, and contributor to our program. He loved football, fishing and hunting, and believed in the importance of family and friendships.

“Cody was just beginning this next chapter of his life and was about to be married. Mary (Ferentz’s wife) and I are heartbroken for his fiancee, his family and all his friends who knew and loved him. All of us in the football program — his coaches and teammates — are mourning his loss.”

Ince didn’t return for the 2022 season due to injury issues.

–Field Level Media

Iowa offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Brian Ferentz, left, talks with Iowa quarterback Alex Padilla (8) during a NCAA football game against Ohio State, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

221022 Iowa Ohio St Fb 057 Jpg

Iowa amends contract of embattled OC Brian Ferentz

Iowa offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Brian Ferentz, the son of head coach Kirk Ferentz, signed an amended contract for 2023 with new performance-based incentives on Monday.

The university said in a release that Brian Ferentz’s salary will be $850,000, a $50,000 pay cut from last season, and added bonuses tied to objectives that “include an average of at least 25 points per game and a minimum of seven wins, including regular season and a possible bowl game.”

The Hawkeyes averaged just 17.7 points per game in 2022, good for 123rd out of 131 FBS teams. They also ranked second to last in total offense with 251.6 yards per game. Iowa still went 8-5 (5-4 Big Ten) behind the strength of the defense.

A school spokesperson told Sports Illustrated that the points per game incentive includes “any points scored,” meaning defensive and special teams scores will also help Ferentz’s cause. Iowa had six defensive touchdowns and two safeties in 2022.

Iowa made no changes to its football coaching staff this offseason, and last week Kirk Ferentz danced around pointed questions about what makes his son a good offensive coordinator. He did say the offense was “not good enough.”

Help is on the way for the father and son. After Spencer Petras took most of the snaps at quarterback in 2022 and finished with just 1,725 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions, former Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara transferred to Iowa and figures to be the starter in 2023. McNamara needed a new starting job after the Wolverines ultimately stuck with J.J. McCarthy in 2022.

–Field Level Media