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.

No. 17 Iowa Hawkeyes set sights on B1G run after road blowout of No. 20 Northwestern

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Every few years it seems Kirk Ferentz finds a way to get Iowa into the running for a Big Ten championship few see coming. With the way Iowa has been playing and with one of the most favorable conference schedules, maybe this is that year. No. 17 Iowa (7-0, 3-0 Big Ten) kept its perfect season going with a decisive 40-10 road victory over No. 20 Northwestern (5-2, 1-2 Big Ten) on the road in Evanston, Illinois Saturday afternoon. The Hawkeyes defense shut down Northwestern on the ground and forced three turnovers.

Iowa running back Akrum Wadley carried the football 25 times for 192 yards and four touchdowns. With the success on the ground, Iowa did not need to rely too heavily on quarterback C.J. Beathard, but he did end his day completing 15 of 25 passes for 176 yards with an interception thrown. When Iowa has a solid running game and a dependable defense working at the same time, they become a dangerous team on any school’s schedule. In a one-game situation, who knows what could happen.

On the flip side, Iowa is doing most of their work in a weaker Big Ten West Division, although a non-conference win against Pittsburgh could end up being a victory over a team playing for an ACC title at the end of the season. Iowa does not play Ohio State, Michigan State or Michigan this season, giving the Hawkeyes perhaps the best Big Ten schedule there is, even with road games at Wisconsin (which they already won) and at Nebraska.Here is all that stands in between Iowa and a clean 12-0 record this regular season;

Oct. 31: Maryland

Nov. 7 @ Indiana

Nov. 14 Minnesota

Nov. 21 Purdue

Nov. 27 @ Nebraska

A road game on Black Friday against Nebraska could still be tricky, but the way Iowa has played paired with the way Nebraska has played, that is a game very well capable of being won by Iowa and there may not be much standing in the way before that.

Iowa starts strong, but Northwestern chipping away at halftime

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Iowa running back Akrum Wadley has scored two touchdowns to help power Iowa to a 16-10 halftime lead at Northwestern. The Hawkeyes ran out to a 16-0 lead, but the Wildcats have started to chip away at the lead heading into the break.

Iowa opened the scoring with a 36-yard field goal off the leg of Marshall Koehn in the first quarter, but the Hawkeyes reached the end zone twice in the second quarter. Wadley ripped off a 35-yard run on the first play of the second quarter to put the Hawkeyes up 9-0, and Wadley added a second touchdown from a much shorter distance four and a half minutes later to make it 16-0. Northwestern’s Christian Jones later caught a short touchdown pass from Clayton Thorson to get on the board. A short field goal later in the first half made it just a six-point game.

Barring a surprising collapse by Iowa, it would appear as though the Hawkeyes are well on their way to continuing their undefeated season. Keep in mind the Hawkeyes already have a win against Wisconsin under their belts and there is no Ohio State, Michigan or Michigan State on the schedule this fall for the Hawkeyes. Iowa has become the team to chase in the Big Ten West and is looking to take another step toward Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship Game this afternoon in Evanston.

Pair of Iowa running backs cited for a disorderly house

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Two Iowa running backs were cited for a disorderly house, but it is not because they failed to clean up the pizza boxes and dust the furniture.

Iowa redshirt freshmen Jonathan Parker and Akrum Wadley were cited by police Saturday night after being called to respond to a complaint about a noise disturbance. Police discovered  a large gathering of people, and a scent of marijuana was reported to be stemming from the residence. According to a report from Iowa City Press-Citizen, both players were released later that night.

Parker and Wadley were apparently responsible for the party, but nothing beyond the disorderly house citation has been dropped on either player. As far as crimes and violations go in the offseason, this is hardly much reason for much concern given the information available at this time.

Parker rushed for 141 yards and one touchdown for the Hawkeyes in 2014. Wadley rushed for 186 yards and a touchdown after appearing in eight games in 2014.