Akrum Wadley

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Doak Walker Award watch list highlighted by 2016 semifinalists Barkley and Pettway

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A watch list of the top running backs in the nation has been released by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum on Thursday. The Doak Walker Award watch list is full of great players, including 2016 Doak Walker Award semifinalists Saquon Barkley (Penn State) and Kamryn Pettway (Auburn).

Among those included on this year’s initial Doak Walker Award watch list (more players can be added at any time) are LSU’s Derrius Guice, Georgia’s Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, LJ Scott of Michigan State, Mike Weber of Ohio State, and Bo Scarbrough of Alabama, Washington’s Myles Gaskin, and Western Michigan’s Jarvion Franklin.

D’Onta Foreman of Texas beat out both Barkley and Pettway last season for the award. The Doak Walker Award has been presented to the nation’s top running back annually since 1990. Among the winners over the years have included Ricky Williams, LaDainian Tomlinson, Reggie Bush, and Montee Ball.

To be included on this watch list, the university athletic department must submit a nomination.

2017 Doak Walker Award Watch List

Josh Adams, Notre Dame
Ryquell Armstead, Temple
Kalen Ballage, Arizona State
Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Alex Barnes, Kansas State
Jamauri Bogan, Western Michigan
D’Angelo Brewer, Tulsa
Nick Chubb, Georgia
Jordan Chunn, Troy
Justin Crawford, West Virginia
Damarea Crockett, Missouri
Rico Dowdle, South Carolina
D’Andre Ferby, WKU
Kendrick Foster, Illinois
Jarvion Franklin, Western Michigan
Myles Gaskin, Washington
James Gilbert, Ball State
Derrius Guice, LSU
Damien Harris, Alabama
Kyle Hicks, TCU
Justice Hill, Oklahoma State
Jon Hilliman, Boston College
Justin Jackson, Northwestern
Chris James, Wisconsin
Ty Johnson, Maryland
Ronald Jones II, USC
Ray Lawry, Old Dominion
Phillip Lindsay, Colorado
Tonny Lindsey Jr., Utah State
Bryce Love, Stanford
Sony Michel, Georgia
Dedrick Mills, Georgia Tech
David Montgomery, Iowa State
Jamal Morrow, Washington State
Ryan Nall, Oregon State
Jacques Patrick, Florida State
Kamryn Pettway, Auburn
Demario Richard, Arizona State
Diocemy Saint Juste, Hawaii
Bo Scarbrough, Alabama
Jordan Scarlett, Florida
LJ Scott, Michigan State
Bradrick Shaw, Wisconsin
Armand Shyne, Utah
Justin Silmon, Kansas State
Ito Smith, Southern Miss
Rodney Smith, Minnesota
Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky
Terry Swanson, Toledo
Shaq Vann, Eastern Michigan
Akrum Wadley, Iowa
Mark Walton, Miami
Warren Wand, Arkansas State
Tre Watson, California
Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt
Mike Weber, Ohio State
Braeden West, SMU
Devwah Whaley, Arkansas
Aeris Williams, Mississippi State
Shaun Wilson, Duke
Marquis Young, Massachusetts

No. 17 Florida defense dominates Iowa in Outback Bowl blowout, 30-3

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Austin Appleby may not have been able to beat Iowa (8-5) while he was at Purdue, but he was able to do that on Monday in the Outback Bowl with the No. 17 Florida Gators (9-4). Appleby had early mistakes with a pair of turnovers on the first two drives of the game, but Appleby ended his day with 222 yards and two touchdowns to help the Gators pull away from the Hawkeyes in Tampa in a 30-3 victory.

The story of the game was Florida’s defense, which came up with three interceptions of Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard and held the Iowa offense to just 55 passing yards. Iowa was limited to just 226 yards of offense and went 4-of-16 on third down. Even a 100-yard day from Akrum Wadley (115 yards) was not enough to keep the Hawkeyes within reach once the game snowballed out of control.

Florida scored the first touchdown of the game on an 85-yard pass play to Mark Thompson with multiple missed tackles along the way. Chauncey Gardner padded a comfortable 14-point lead early in the fourth quarter with a 58-yard interception return for a touchdown, and the Gators tacked on two more field goals from there to pile on in the 27-point victory. Considering how Florida was embarrassed last season by a Big Ten team in the bowl season (Michigan), this must have been a little extra sweet to do the same to another Big Ten team.

The loss by the Hawkeyes clinches a losing bowl record this season for the Big Ten. At 3-6 and just one game remaining to play (Penn State in the Rose Bowl), the Big Ten had a rough postseason that included two New Years Six bowl losses by Michigan and Ohio State (in the College Football Playoff). A Penn State win would at least give the Big Ten a split in NY6 bowl games if it can beat USC in the Rose Bowl. The SEC is now 6-5 in the bowl season with two more games to play. Auburn faces Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl later tonight and Alabama will face Clemson in the nationla championship game next week.

Iowa has now been outscored 172-75 in its last five bowl games, which has culminated in a five-game bowl losing streak for Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes. Florida head coach Jim McElwain picked up his first bowl victory of his career.

Iowa’s 2017 season will get underway on September 2 at home against Wyoming from the Mountain West Conference. Iowa will play key division game son the road against Wisconsin and Nebraska next fall, as well as on the road against Big Ten East opponent Michigan State (who can’t possibly be as bad in 2017 as they were in 2016, right). The Hawkeyes also host Ohio State in early November next fall.

Florida’s 2017 season will start in Arlington, Texas against the Michigan Wolverines on September 2 in the Cowboys Kickoff. Other non-conference games will include home games against UAB (the Blazers are back in 2017!) and rival Florida State. In conference play, the Gators host Tennessee as well as LSU and Texas A&M.

As a reminder, the Florida victory means you get a free bloomin’ onion at your local Outback Steakhouse tomorrow, January 3.

Wisconsin claims B1G West as Nebraska’s blasted by Iowa

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Wisconsin added to its football hardware collection Black Friday, and they didn’t even need to get of the couch to do it.

Thanks to a loss to UW earlier in the season, Nebraska needed a win over Iowa Friday as well as a UW loss to Minnesota on Saturday to win the Big Ten West.  Instead, that honor will go to the Badgers regardless of what happens tomorrow as the Hawkeyes thoroughly outplayed the Cornhuskers in the first half and then cruised to a 40-10 thumping in Iowa City.

A pair of 100-yard rushers paved the way for the Hawkeyes’ win, with LeShun Daniels running for a game-high 158 yards and Akrum Wadley chipping in 105 on just 11 carries.  Daniels and Wadley combined for three scores on the ground, with two going to the former.

Three of quarterback C.J. Beathard‘s 10 completions, in 15 attempts, went for touchdowns.

Iowa finishes the regular season at 8-4, while Nebraska ended at 9-3.  A bowl win for the Cornhuskers would give them their first 10-win season since 2012.

With NU’s loss, though, this will mark the Badgers’ second appearance in the Big Ten championship game and their fourth in five seasons.  They will face either Michigan, Ohio State or Penn State depending on how Saturday plays out.

If UM beats OSU, the Wolverines will win the East.  If OSU beats UM and PSU beats Michigan State, it’s the Nittany Lions booking a trip to Indianapolis next Saturday.  The only way the Buckeyes can earn the divisional title is by beating the Wolverines and hoping the Spartans can do the same to the Nittany Lions.

Iowa stuns No. 3 Michigan in deja vu thriller

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The last time Jim Harbaugh went to Iowa City, his No. 2-ranked Wolverines lost to Iowa on a last-second field goal. History repeated itself Saturday night.

Keith Duncan knocked in a 33-yard field goal as time expired to give his Hawkeyes a 14-13 win over No. 3 Michigan. Coupled with losses by No. 2 Clemson and No. 4 Washington, Iowa’s win secured the first day in which Nos. 2, 3 and 4 lost on the same day since… Oct. 19, 1985 — the same day No. 2 Michigan lost to No. 1 Iowa in Harbaugh’s last visit to Kinnick Stadium.

Michigan had a chance to chill away a win when Channing Stribling intercepted C.J. Beathard at the Michigan 16-yard line with 1:54 remaining, but the Wolverines — as was the case the entire second half — could not move the ball. An incomplete pass on 3rd-and-8, with Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight throwing on a bum shoulder, stopped the clock at 1:36, and an 8-yard Desmond King punt return aided by a ticky-tack 15-yard facemask penalty gave Iowa the ball at the Michigan 36.

Iowa moved into field goal territory after its first play on the ensuing possession, but an 8-yard Beathard draw on 3rd-and-7 with 16 seconds remaining turned Duncan’s field goal into a chip shot.

Playing in their first true road game of the year — Rutgers don’t count — Michigan jumped out to a 10-0 lead when a botched fake punt set the Wolverines up for a short field and a 26-yard Kenny Allen field goal at the 4-minute mark of the first quarter and, one Iowa missed field goal later, a 9-play, 72-yard march resulted in a 7-yard Ty Isaac scoring run midway through the second quarter.

But Michigan’s offense struggled mightily to move the ball for the rest of the night, starting with a De'Veon Smith safety on the Wolverines’ next possession to put the Hawkeyes on the board. Iowa didn’t score on the next possession, but a 3-and-out resulted in a 7-play, 52-yard drive culminating in a 3-yard pass from Beathard to Akrum Wadley on 4th-and-goal to pull the Hawkeyes within 10-8 at the half.

Michigan fumbled the second half kickoff, and Iowa moved 36 yards in five minutes to set Keith Duncan up for a go-ahead 25-yard chip shot. After four straight punts, Michigan moved back in front when Allen nailed a 51-yard field goal at the 9:35 mark of the fourth quarter.

Michigan could not protect that lead, though, as Speight was intercepted in field goal range with 3:43 remaining. After starting hot, Speight closed the day hitting only 11-of-26 passes for 103 yards and an interception, while the ground game pounded out only 98 yards on 35 carries.

Iowa threw for only 66 yards but managed to rush for 164 yards on 64 clock-chewing carries.

In addition to serving as the highlight of the season, Iowa clinches a bowl trip by moving to 6-4 on the season.

Michigan, meanwhile, drops to 9-1 on the season and 6-1 in the Big Ten, still needing a win at Ohio State on Nov. 26 to reach the Big Ten championship and, ultimately, the College Football Playoff.

Michigan holds slight lead over Iowa at the break

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Iowa leads the box score but Michigan leads the scoreboard through one half in Iowa City.

A 7-yard Ty Isaac touchdown run has staked Michigan to a 10-8 lead despite the Wolverines gaining 124 total yards to Iowa’s 130. The Wolverines led 10-0 after Isaac’s score, then put Iowa on the scoreboard when DeVeon Smith was tackled inside his own end zone for a safety.

Iowa mounted a 7-play, 52-yard drive, capped by a 3-yard C.J. Beathard toss to Akrum Wadley with 1:27 to go before the break to pull within six. The Hawkeyes went for two but Beathard’s pass fell incomplete.

Wilton Speight started hot but closed the half hitting 8-of-17 throws for 79 yards. Michigan has rushed for 45 yards on 15 carries.

Beathard hit 6-of-13 throws for 51 yards with a score, and Wadley has rushed 10 times for 47 yards.

Michigan will receive to open the second half.