Remember Oct. 30? Everything seemed to be going right for the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Since Iowa crushed Michigan State 37-6 that day, things have gone downhill for the Black and Gold both on and off the field.
The latest blow came late Monday afternoon, as the team announced the suspension of starting running back Adam Robinson and the transfer of another running back, redshirt sophomore Jewel Hampton. The announcements came days after the official departure of Brandon Wegher, a running back who contributed as a freshman but left the team early in preseason camp.
Robinson, who dealt with concussions late in the season, won't be with the team for its upcoming appearance against Missouri in the Insight Bowl.
"Jewel Hampton has decided to leave the team and plans to transfer to another school to complete his degree and finish his career," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said in a prepared statement. "We wish him the best of success in the future. While Adam has been cleared medically, he will not be participating in the upcoming Insight Bowl game as a result of failing to comply with team expectations and policies. Adam will have the option to rejoin the team when classes resume in January."
The big question for Iowa is whether Robinson will be the only key player suspended for the bowl. Iowa's news release didn't mention any players but Robinson and Hampton.
Still, Ferentz and athletic director Gary Barta will appear at a news conference scheduled for 11 a.m. ET Tuesday. Typically, a coach and a AD don't hold joint news conferences because of one player, although they also likely will address the situation surrounding receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, arrested last week on several drug charges. DJK's playing career at Iowa is over.
So, is this the tip of the iceberg? We'll find out soon enough. After a string of conduct problems from 2007-08, Iowa had been pretty incident-free until the DJK mess.
The immediate concern is Iowa's running back depth, which has really been an issue since Shonn Greene moved on after the 2009 Outback Bowl.
Hampton's chronic injuries limited him the last two seasons, and Robinson was the team's only healthy proven back for much of this season. I would argue A-Rob was Iowa's most valuable player for much of the fall. His suspension thrusts true freshman Marcus Coker into the spotlight for the Insight Bowl.
To recap, Iowa endured a three-game losing streak to end the regular season. Then, the DJK situation surfaced last week. Now Hampton is transferring and Robinson is suspended.
If the Hawkeyes can turn this thing around and beat Missouri on Dec. 28, it will be truly impressive.
Tough times right now in Iowa City.