Hawkeyes depth chart: Hesse 'touch and go' for Iowa State game

Chad Leistikow

Iowa might be without starting defensive end Parker Hesse for Saturday’s Cy-Hawk rivalry game.

The redshirt sophomore is iffy for the 6:30 p.m. matchup vs. Iowa State after departing the 15th-ranked Hawkeyes’ 45-21, season-opening win against Miami of Ohio in the first quarter with an upper-leg strain.

Hesse had an ice pack taped around his left hamstring after his 28-yard fumble return set up Iowa’s second touchdown. Hesse did not return.

“Parker’s the only guy that came out of (Saturday) with anything significant (injury-wise) in the ballgame,” coach Kirk Ferentz said in his weekly Sunday interview posted on the university’s website. “My guess is it’ll be touch and go for him this week. If he can’t go, we’ll play like we did (Saturday).”

That would mean more Anthony Nelson, who on Monday was named the Big Ten Conference’s freshman of the week after recording six tackles, including 2.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles against Miami. The Waukee High School product was listed as a co-No. 1 with Hesse on Iowa’s depth chart released Monday.

Iowa defensive end Parker Hesse (40) was injured during this 28-yard fumble return against Miami of Ohio.

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If Hesse can't go, Nelson (6-foot-7, 253 pounds) and Matt Nelson (6-8, 282) would form the Hawkeyes' starting defensive end duo, with 6-5, 270-pounder Sam Brincks (who had a fumble recovery Saturday) rotating in as the third guy. It also might provide redshirt freshman Brady Reiff (6-3, 250) with an opportunity at an expanded role.

Monday's only other notable depth-chart move was Jerminic Smith's jump over Jay Scheel on the No. 1 line at wide receiver. Smith had what Ferentz called the best game of his Hawkeye career Saturday, and it wasn’t just the sophomore's three catches for 51 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown grab in traffic.

Smith was a forceful downfield blocker, including on first-quarter touchdown runs by Akrum Wadley and LeShun Daniels Jr.

Of the things that Ferentz was happy about in the 15th-ranked Hawkeyes’ opener, “maybe at the top of the list would be our perimeter blocking, which at times has not been great.”

Scheel dressed but did not play against Miami in the opener. Iowa remains excited about the redshirt sophomore's potential to upgrade the receiver position. Ferentz hoped to have Scheel back in practice Monday.

We'll maybe learn more Tuesday, when Ferentz and Hawkeye players conduct their weekly media availability.

Plenty of items to target when analyzing Iowa victory

Stripe-out game

Iowa-Iowa State has been deemed a "Black and Gold Spirit Game" at Kinnick Stadium, always a good look for night games.

Wear black attire: Fans with tickets in all odd-numbered sections, plus Sections 116, 218 and 220 and the club/suites level.

Wear gold attire: Fans in Sections 102, 104, 106, 108, 110, 124, 126, 128, 130, 132, 134, 136, 138, 212, 214 and 216.