Cole Croston has game-saving play in first Hawkeye start
MADISON, Wis. -- Lost in the combined six turnovers during Iowa's 10-6 win over No. 19 Wisconsin on Saturday was a turnover that wasn't — and the Hawkeyes can thank their new left tackle for rescuing them.
Cole Croston, who got his first career start when left tackle Boone Myers was ruled out with a stinger injury, alertly pounced on a fumble by Iowa running back Jordan Canzeri with 3 minutes, 3 seconds to go.
Croston joked that a brief lapse in judgment saved him — instead of keeping his eyes up, as football players are trained, he was looking at the Camp Randall Stadium FieldTurf.
"All of a sudden the ball's down by my feet. I don't know why I'm looking at the ground," Croston said. "But my first instinct was just to fall on it."
That was a big recovery in a scrum along the left sideline at Iowa's 19-yard line, because it forced Wisconsin to use its final two timeouts on consecutive plays and allowed the Hawkeyes to punt it away — putting the Badgers 53 yards away from the end zone instead of 19 on their final, failed drive.
It was a satisfying finishing moment for Croston, who had his hands full with Wisconsin's attacking defense. He saw a lot of Joe Schobert, the outside linebacker who had a season's worth of stats in one game — three sacks, five quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
"I think I did all right. 58 (Schobert), he did a great job," Croston said. "The pass rushers and inside guys were stout. It was a good first test. Wisconsin's got a good defense."
Croston, 6-foot-5 and 295 pounds, emerged as Iowa's top backup tackle in spring and fall camps. Head coach Kirk Ferentz feels good about the junior former walk-on from Sergeant Bluff — so much so that he didn't offer any advice.
"I didn't say a word to him. I don't think anybody did. He's done a great job," Ferentz said. "He's been practicing well. We've got a lot of faith in Cole."
As for Myers, his status is clear as mud going forward. Stingers can be pesky.
"More day-to-day, week-to-week. Hopefully day-to-day," Ferentz said. "We'll see."