Tyler Sash: An Iowa football player who leaves footprints behind

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March 31, 2014 | 9:49 am

Iowa's Tyler Sash was an All-Big Ten safety who leaves a set of unforgettable moments behind.

1. Three interceptions vs. Iowa State in 2009.

You seldom see a football player get three picks in any game, but to do it in the state-rivalry game, an Iowan (Oskaloosa) doing it against a fellow Iowan (Austen Arnaud) stands out.

2. The 86-yard interception return against Indiana in 2009.

 Indiana had a third-and-goal at the 3 and a 21-7 lead in the third-quarter. If the Hoosiers punch it in, you may have been looking at an Indiana blowout. Iowa certainly would not have gone on to the Orange Bowl.

Hawkeye linebacker A.J. Edds had Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell in his wraps. Chappell threw the ball, it caromed off Iowa defensive tackle Christian Ballard, then off an Indiana tackle, then off Chappell, and into the arms of Sash. He returned it 86 yards for a touchdown you describe as anything from improbable to downright miraculous. Buoyed, Iowa rallied to a 42-24 win.

3. Sash's first-quarter interception and pitch to Micah Hyde, followed by Hyde's 66-yard return for a touchdown against Michigan State in 2010.

“I think it’s like one of those basketball plays where somebody pulls up for a three about 40 feet deep,” Sash said. “If it goes in, you’re fine but if doesn’t work out …”

It gave Iowa a 17-0 lead. Had MSU kept possession and drove for a score (it was in Iowa territory at the time),  who knows what kind of game would have it would have been? But that moment told everyone in Kinnick Stadium that this wasn't the Spartans' day, and Iowa rolled to a 37-6 win. Maybe Sash helped usher Hyde into big-play lore, as evidenced by Hyde's virtual game-winning Insight Bowl interception return for a TD.

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