Iowa's Bulaga to miss Iowa State game

September, 11, 2009
9/11/09
2:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg


Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz confirmed Friday that standout left tackle Bryan Bulaga will miss the Iowa State game after being hospitalized this week with an undisclosed illness.

"Bryan is doing much better, has been released and will accompany the team this weekend," Ferentz said in a statement. "We expect Bryan to return to his normal activities soon."

A source close to Bulaga told me this morning that the Hawkeyes junior is doing well and that rumors of a serious illness have been exaggerated. The source declined to provide details of Bulaga's illness. Still, this is certainly good news for the long term.

Bulaga has started the last 19 games for Iowa and emerged as the Big Ten's premier left tackle and one of the best in the country. I ranked him as the league's fifth best player, and he's drawn comparisons to former Hawkeyes star Robert Gallery. Iowa's offensive line already has dealt with some shuffling this year, as right tackle Kyle Calloway and guard Julian Vandervelde missed the season opener against Northern Iowa.

Both Calloway and Vandervelde will return Saturday, but Iowa needs to replace Bulaga and protect quarterback Ricky Stanzi's blind side. The Hawkeyes also hope to spark a rushing attack that struggled against UNI.

Needless to say, it hasn't been a good start for an Iowa team that doesn't have much margin for error this season. The Hawkeyes need Bulaga back soon.

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