Iowa football: Tight ends Noah Fant, T.J. Hockenson share national award

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

Iowa’s two tight ends were so good against Indiana, it was difficult to decide which was better.

The committee for the Mackey Award felt the same. So, for the first time in the history of that group’s weekly award, tight-end teammates are sharing that honor.

Hawkeyes Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson on Wednesday were named co-recipients of the John Mackey Tight End of the Week.

Noah Fant (87) hauls in Iowa's second touchdown during a 42-16 win at Indiana on Saturday. He finished the game with four catches for 102 yards; teammate T.J. Hockenson had four catches for 107 yards and two scores.

In Saturday’s 42-16 win at Indiana, the duo of 6-foot-5 tight ends became the first Hawkeyes to top 100 receiving yards in the same game since 2011 (Keenan Davis and Marvin McNutt vs. Pittsburgh). It is believed to be the only time in school history that two tight ends achieved that feat.

Hockenson hauled in four passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns from quarterback Nate Stanley. That included Iowa’s first score of the day, a 9-yarder, and a 54-yard touchdown in the third quarter in which he outran two Hoosiers defensive backs up the left sideline.

Fant caught four balls for 102 yards and Iowa’s second touchdown, a 28-yarder, despite playing only 23 snaps after being cleared to play Friday following concussion protocol. Fant also had a 58-yard reception in the fourth quarter.

Iowa Hawkeyes tight end T.J. Hockenson (38) catches a pass in the end zone for a touchdown against Indiana Hoosiers linebacker Dameon Willis Jr. (43) during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium .

The pair of third-year players (Fant is a true junior; Hockenson is a redshirt sophomore) have been dynamic all season. Fant owns team highs of 23 receptions and six touchdowns during Iowa’s 5-1 start, and Hockenson leads the team with 394 receiving yards on his 22 catches.

Together, they've combined for 45 catches and 10 touchdowns.

“I love that dude. He helps me. I help him. I think we mesh well,” Hockenson said this week. “… It gives the defense something to think about. You can spread the ball out. They can’t double-cover everybody.”

No doubt both deserve to be in contention for the Mackey Award, given at season's end to the college footballs top tight end. Dallas Clark won the Mackey in 2002 for Iowa, and Tony Moeaki (2009) and Allen Reisner (2010) were semifinalists.

Stanley earns yet another national honor

Later Wednesday, Stanley was honored as the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback of the Week for his six-TD game that saw him throw for 320 yards. Stanley was selected from a group of "Great 8" quarterbacks last week that included Iowa State's Brock Purdy.