EDITOR'S NOTE: a whooooole lot of college football stuff happened yesterday, as we've already partially covered. We'll get to that in greater detail later, but until then, please enjoy another edition of LET US DELIGHT IN, a weekly feature in which Peter Berkes delights in the performance of a particular football player from the previous weekend. This week, Pete is delighting in the performance of Iowa running back Jordan Canzeri.
In the interest of full disclosure, I did not get to watch of lot of games this weekend due to attending a wedding (Yeah, I know. I can't believe how selfish I was, going to celebrate the love of two close friends and have drinks with all my closest friends.) My initial thought was to give this to TCU's Trevone Boykin or Josh Doctson for their part in staving off a Bill Snyder Family Upset against Kansas State, but truly, the numbers behind Jordan Canzeri's performance against Illinois demand attention.
Before you start guffawing at a big performance against Illinois, it should be noted that the Illini are much better than anyone anticipated this year. I was expecting them to totally bottom out after firing their coach roughly a week before the season, but in retrospect, separating Tim Beckman from your football team is a positive regardless of timing. More specifically for our purposes, the Illini are 10th in Defensive S&P+ as of Monday morning, and that's after Canzeri ripped off 256 yards on 43 carries against them, scoring one touchdown on the ground and another in the air.
The yardage numbers are very impressive, but the number that really deserves to be saluted is the 43 carries. That's the highest single game total for any player so far in 2015, and he was able to maintain a robust 6.0 yards per carry average through that workload. Undoubtedly, that number is boosted by this 75 yard touchdown run. That doesn't make it any less impressive.
This touchdown came at a critical time for Iowa. Illinois came out of halftime and closed the score to only 16-13, and the Hawkeyes had punted on their other two drives to start the second half. On their third drive, Canzeri took it to the house on the first play, giving Iowa a 23-13 lead and the points they needed to secure the win.
Iowa is 6-0 now, and it's due in large part to riding Canzeri like a mule. An indestructible mule with a rocket up its ass, but a mule just the same. Many of us shudder to think about what an armed and dangerous Iowa team would look like in the open, but their 2015 team has an efficient quarterback, a workhorse running back that hasn't been swallowed up by a sinkhole or kicked out of school (so far, anyway), and a good defense. If Kirk Ferentz spent a day in a sweat lodge out in the desert, this is what he would think about between booming punts to the heavens.