Iowa's Coker has record-setting bowl debut

December, 29, 2010
Running back topped Iowa's list of concerns heading into Tuesday night's Insight Bowl matchup against Missouri.

Marcus Coker made all the worries go away in barely a quarter of play.

The true freshman who entered the bowl as Iowa's only decent option at running back provided all the rushing production Iowa needed -- and then some. Coker rushed for 219 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries, setting Iowa bowl records in both categories. It marked Iowa's first 200-yard rushing performance in a bowl and the team's first since former Doak Walker Award winner Shonn Greene went for 211 against Purdue in 2008.

"I already knew before the game that the O-line was going to do a great job. I was pretty comfortable after the first couple plays," Coker said. "I was pretty comfortable after the first couple plays."

How good was Coker's bowl debut? He recorded the second-highest rushing total for a Big Ten freshman in a bowl -- Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne went for 246 yards for Wisconsin in the 1996 Copper Bowl.

"We said back in August we thought Marcus would be a great player for us," coach Kirk Ferentz said. "Unfortunately, he got hurt [broken collarbone in preseason]. He has been playing catchup through the season. When he had opportunities during the fall, he really did a good job.

"[Tuesday night] was certainly his best outing, his best performance, and he is a tremendous young man. So just really proud of him."

We'll have to see what happens with Adam Robinson, but Coker certainly gives Iowa's run game a jolt heading into 2011.



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