CHICAGO — Playing for a team afflicted with the nastiest curse in college football and speaking in a city plagued by the worst curse in sports history, Iowa sophomore running back Damon Bullock denied the existence of curse Saturday night.
"There's no curse," Bullock said after rushing for 150 yards on 30 carries in an 18-17 win at Chicago's Soldier Field. "There's no curse. It's just some people just made the wrong decision at the wrong time."
Bullock's position is filled with inexplicable departures and injuries over recent history. From 2010 onward, Iowa has lost eight running backs to either significant injuries or off-field issues.
After a promising 2009 season, Brandon Wegher left the program early in 2010 fall camp. In the third game that season, Jewel Hampton suffered a torn ACL for the second straight year and elected to transfer following the season. Running back Adam Robinson was dismissed after a marijuana arrest while on suspension for breaking team rules.
In the 2011 opener, true freshman Mika'il McCall suffered a broken ankle. He returned late in the season but was suspended from the team and left the program after the season. Sophomore Marcus Coker finished the 2010 season as the Big Ten's second-leading rusher but was investigated for assault, suspended for the Insight Bowl and elected to transfer in January.
This spring, incoming starter and sophomore Jordan Canzeri went down with a torn ACL. Backup running back De'Andre Johnson, who was ticketed or arrested 11 different times since August 2011, was dismissed entering training camp after leading police on a speeding chase through University Heights (the eluding charge was dismissed). Incoming freshman Barkley Hill suffered a torn ACL on Aug. 18 during an open practice at Kinnick Stadium.
Popular Iowa sports blog site Black Heart Gold Pants nicknamed the curse "AIRBHG" for "Angry Iowa Running Back Hating God."
"We're trying to stay out of that lane, and we're trying to prove ourselves," Bullock said. "You can look at like Brad Rogers and Jonathan Gimm. They've been here for the longest, and they haven't done anything. There's no curse, just bad decisions."
Well, if you figure injuries into the curse, Rogers was sidelined from contact for about 10 months after a heart ailment.Maybe it's just bad luck, kind of like what the Chicago Cubs have experienced since 1945 when the Curse of the Billy Goat was levied on the franchise. Or maybe ...