What two plays vs. Wildcats really impressed Kirk Ferentz

Rick Brown

IOWA CITY, Ia. – Iowa redshirt freshman Akrum Wadley rushed for 106 yards in his college debut Saturday against Northwestern, but it was a play on special teams that caught the attention of his coach, Kirk Ferentz.

"Probably as good a play as he made was on special teams," Ferentz said. "He did a great job as a gunner going down there on that one."

Iowa's Tevaun Smith scores a touchdown on a 31-yard catch from Jake Rudock vs. Northwestern.

Wadley fumbled on Iowa's first possession of the third quarter. When Iowa punted on its next possession, Wadley zipped down the field and nailed Miles Shuler for no gain.

Wadley was named the Big Ten's freshman of the week for his big debut, which included his first college touchdown on a 5-yard run. Ferentz said Tuesday that Wadley had actually been named scout team player of the week on offense heading into the game.

"I didn't know what to expect, quite frankly," Ferentz said of the 5-foot-11, 180-pounder from Newark, N.J. "He's an eager young guy. He's got a good attitude and he's got some things to learn and a lot of maturing to do. But certainly for the first time out, we're really pleased with what he did."

GREAT PLAY II: Wide receiver Tevaun Smith caught four passes for 76 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown against Northwestern. On one of the completions, a 23-yard gain in the first quarter, Rudock threw the ball before Smith had completed his cut.

"That was a Kodak moment, that play," said Ferentz who had a perfect view of it from his spot on the sidelines. "Maybe as good a play as we've had in quite awhile."

CANZERI, KITTLE UPDATE: Ferentz said that running back Jordan Canzeri and tight end George Kittle, who missed the Northwestern game with injury, could return against Minnesota. Both were expected to practice Tuesday.

"They have a chance (to play), we'll have to see how they do in practice," Ferentz said.

PROGRESS PERSONIFIED: Defensive tackle Louis Trinca-Pasat has made a great deal of progress over the past two seasons. As much progress, Ferentz said, as anyone who has played for him at Iowa.

"Certainly we're really proud of what Louie has done, and happy for him," Ferentz said of the 6-foot-3, 290-pound senior from Chicago, Ill. "He's just a good story, because he's all the things you hope for with a young guy on your team. He works extremely hard in the classroom. He's a first-class individual. It's been fun to watch him grow."

Trinca-Pasat was named Big Ten co-defensive player of the week Monday after having three sacks against Northwestern.

"Go back to two years ago, when he was getting beaten around pretty good," Ferentz said. "He was a young player trying to play inside. That's not an easy thing to do. The improvement he's made since 2012 is really commendable. And it's the direct result of the way he works at things and his attitude and effort. He's just a really serious, hard-minded guy. And I'm happy to see him have success like that."

RUDOCK'S BEST: Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said Tuesday that he felt Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock had his best game of the season last week against his team. Rudock completed 12 of 19 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown in the Hawkeyes' 48-7 victory.

"I'd agree (with Fitzgerald)," Ferentz said. "He's played well for us all season. But I thought he was really sharp and pretty much on the spot with everything that he did. It's something you hope for, that as players gain experience they improve. I think it'd be fair to say that's as good an outing as he's had this year."