Iowa football: Anthony Nelson, Riley Moss earn Big Ten honors; Jack Hockaday injury update

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Iowa gave up a season-high in points but still cleaned house with defensive awards from Saturday's 48-31 win at Minnesota.

That's because of a big-play defense.

Junior defensive end Anthony Nelson was named the Big Ten Conference's defensive player of the week after the Waukee product recorded three of the Hawkeyes' five sacks.

Riley Moss (33) didn't win this battle against Minnesota freshman Rashod Bateman, but the Hawkeye freshman recorded two interceptions later.

True freshman cornerback Riley Moss was named the league's freshman of the week after the Ankeny Centennial product came up with two of Iowa's four interceptions in his first career start.

After some early hiccups in pass coverage, Moss came of age as the game went on.

"I knew they were going to come my way," he said in university-supplied quotes afterward. "I’m a true freshman, so I knew it was coming."

The Hawkeyes (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) next play at 11 a.m. Saturday at Indiana.

Promising news for Jack Hockaday

The left knee injury suffered by Iowa's leading tackler and starting middle linebacker might not be as serious as it first looked.

Hockaday is expected to return this season, head coach Kirk Ferentz told the university's website in an interview Sunday. The senior had an MRI Sunday.

"Based on what we saw in testing, Jack should be back," Ferentz said. "I don't know if it will be this week; I'm not optimistic there, but he should be back in the near future."

That's certainly welcome news for a banged-up linebackers corps that is also missing starter Nick Niemann (knee strain) and will be without top backup Amani Jones for the first half of the Indiana game because of a targeting penalty he committed at Minnesota.

The Big Ten on Monday told the Register that there is no appeals process for targeting suspensions. On its depth chart Monday, Iowa listed junior Kristian Welch as its starting middle linebacker, with Jones and freshman Dillon Doyle as backups.

'Midweek' updates likely on Noah Fant, Ivory Kelly-Martin

Two of Iowa's top offensive play-makers exited Saturday's game after taking hard shots to their head.

Fant, Iowa's career leader in tight end touchdowns with 17, was shaken up after the back of his head hit the ground on a reverse run.

Kelly-Martin, Iowa's No. 1 running back, took helmet-to-helmet on a 5-yard run and didn't return. 

Ferentz didn't give much of an update, but said this without naming either player: "We'll know more midweek or so, but hopefully they will be back playing with us this Saturday."

Ferentz will host his weekly news conference at 1:45 p.m. Tuesday.