Injuries sideline Iowa defenders Josey Jewell, Brandon Snyder at Northwestern

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

EVANSTON, Ill. — Iowa will be without its two primary defensive signal-callers when it faces Northwestern on Saturday.

Hawkeye middle linebacker Josey Jewell and free safety Brandon Snyder will not play against the Wildcats in the 11 a.m. game.

Iowa's Josey Jewell tackles Penn State's Saquon Barkley during their game at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017.

Iowa broadcaster Gary Dolphin first tweeted the news that Jewell would not play, a move that would send Ben Niemann to middle linebacker and insert Kevin Ward to make his first start at outside linebacker. A university spokesman confirmed Jewell's absence as well.

Jewell is the Big Ten Conference's leading tackler and made just about every mid-season all-American team. The third-year starter is the heart and soul of the Hawkeye defense. He injured his right shoulder during the Oct. 7 game against Illinois, but returned to play after a trip to the locker room.

Earlier this week, Jewell said he would play against the Wildcats.

“It’s good. Everything’s good," Jewell said Tuesday. "Playing on Saturday is going to be awesome.” 

Jewell made the trip and took part in T-shirt warmups at Ryan Field; Snyder did not make the trip.

Neither injury is expected to keep either player out for a significant stretch. The UI said coach Kirk Ferentz would address the personnel issues after the game.

The junior played his first game of the season Oct. 7, less than six months after surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee, and returned an interception 89 yards for a touchdown in Iowa's 45-16 win.

Jake Gervase was set to replace Snyder at free safety, with Amani Hooker and Miles Taylor available at strong safety.