Spearman's suspension is 2 games; Canzeri iffy for Northwestern

Rick Brown

IOWA CITY, Ia. – Sophomore linebacker Reggie Spearman will miss Iowa's next two games – against Northwestern and Minnesota -- after being charged with OWI early Saturday morning.

"He'll be sitting out this and next week, a two‑game suspension," coach Kirk Ferentz said Tuesday, "and then he'll be back in good standing."

Spearman has 34 tackles this season. He'll be replaced by Josey Jewell, who competed for a starting spot during the summer before suffering a broken hand.

"It was pretty much a dead heat between Josey and Reggie in camp, and then obviously the injury kind of pushed Reggie forward on that one," Ferentz said. "We're here to see him play. He's played well when he's been out there and doing a good job on special teams.

"This will increase Cole Fisher's role on the whole deal. And Travis Perry is a guy we can put around there, too. I wouldn't be shocked if all three guys played at some point."

RESTED WEISMAN: Mark Weisman is rested and ready for the stretch run.

Iowa's senior running back has 113 carries for 427 yards through seven games this season. Ferentz has not made it a secret that their plan was to limit Weisman's touches to get him deeper into the season. Weisman had 136 carries for 676 yards through seven games last season.

"I think he's doing well, compared to last year," Ferentz said. "That's a real positive. If we're going to have success we're going to need him, and all our veteran players, to play their best here down the last five weeks."

NEXT MAN IN: With redshirt freshman LeShun Daniels out for six weeks due to injury, that could get redshirt freshmen Jonathan Parker and Akrum Wadley onto the field more.

Parker has seen action, especially carries on the jet sweep and kick return duties. He has 10 carries for 94 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown run against Indiana. He's returned eight kickoffs for 238 yards (29.8 average), including a long of 47.

"Pretty much anyone who is healthy has a chance to get on the field," Ferentz said. "We've been playing Jonathan more. Fortunately, I think Akrum has made progress. Both of those guys are in the bullpen right now. We really have four backs who are healthy, and we'll probably have to call on them during the course of the game."

Ferentz also said that Jordan Canzeri is touch-and-go as far as being able to play against Northwestern.

"He's a little dicey," Ferentz said. "We'll see how it goes."

No Canzeri could mean more Parker and some Wadley, too.

"We'll have to have everyone available, because we're running out of guys," Ferentz said.

NO MARK, NO PROBLEM: When running back Venric Mark left the Northwestern football program before the season started, it looked like a crushing blow. But freshman Justin Jackson has stepped in and done just fine.

Jackson enters Saturday's game at Iowa with three straight 100-yard rushing performances. He gained 162 against Wisconsin, 106 against Minnesota and 128 against Nebraska.

"We thought very highly of him early in his high school career (Glenbard North in Carol Stream, Ill.)," Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "We anticipated that he would contribute, but we thought there would be a little more depth."

Jackson has rushed for 630 yards in 134 carries this season.

"He's having a solid freshman campaign," Fitzgerald said. "It's scary how good he can be. That's exciting, not only for the end of the year but also as we look to the future."

Iowa was one of the schools actively recruiting Jackson.

"We thought he was a very good football player in high school, and he's proven that," Ferentz said.

PUNT BATTLE: Both Dillon Kidd and Connor Kornbrath punted at Maryland. Kornbrath, who was used from 50 yards and out, averaged 37.4 yards on five punts with a long of 52. It was his first action of the season. Kidd averaged 36.8 yards with a long of 47. He's averaged 38.6 yards in five punts this season.

"It's still a very close competition," Ferentz said.