IOWA CITY — As Iowa guard Conor Boffeli lay in pain on the TCF Bank Stadium turf last Saturday, quarterback Jake Rudock ignored the trophy celebration over yonder and tended to his teammate.
Boffeli, a senior, injured his right knee on the game’s final play. He writhed in pain as the trainers worked on his leg, and Coach Kirk Ferentz stood over him with concern. Rudock was there as well.
“I just wanted to make sure he was all right,” Rudock said. “You could tell he was in a little bit of pain. The important thing was the team atmosphere. We won the game at that point. That was awesome. That was great. But also your teammates are your family, and that matters a lot to me.”
Boffeli walked off the field so all ended well.
“It was a sad ending but (Boffeli) ran on Sunday and he’s fine,” Ferentz said. “So we lucked out there.”
Boffeli, a senior, injured the same knee against Iowa State but returned in that game and has not missed a start this season.
“There’s piles all the time,” Boffeli said. “I just got my foot caught up underneath a falling defender and just kind of tweaked my knee a little bit.
“Right now I feel good, though.”
Cornering the market
True freshman Desmond King is set to make his five straight start at cornerback after replacing an injured Jordan Lomax in the second half against Northern Illinois. Ferentz said Lomax is “fine” but has yet to go full speed in practice. It’s uncertain if Lomax will return as the starter even if he’s healthy.
“You know, we’ll probably play this week as it goes,” Ferentz said. “We will have a little time afterward. Jordan has only played part of the game and King really is the veteran right now, which seems funny to talk about a guy who was in high school six months ago. But he’s been able to practice and able to play, and that’s where we’re at right now. And then you got (Sean) Draper and (Maurice) Fleming who are healthy now and practicing, so hopefully we will have a healthy combination when all is said and done.”
Iowa usually ranks among the league leaders in fewest penalties, which made the 11-penalty performance against Missouri State startling. It was the most penalties against a Ferentz team since 2005. Since then, Iowa has tightened up the issues, compiling only 10 penalties, including only one last week against Minnesota.
“In general terms, again, penalties are usually a lack of ability or lack of concentration or technique,” Ferentz said. “The ability ones you can’t do anything about and usually concentration and technique are tied together.”
Iowa and Michigan State boast a similar style of football and have butted heads for recruits for years. The teams have played several tight games over the last six years. Two Iowa wins were in double overtime (34-27 in 2007, 19-16 in 2012) and Michigan State won 16-13 in 2008 with a late fourth-down stop inside their 30. In 2009, Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi completed a touchdown pass to Marvin McNutt on the game’s final play to lift the Hawkeyes 15-13.
After this season, the teams move into opposite geographic divisions. The next time they are scheduled to meet is in 2017 at East Lansing.
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