Nothing Flashy, Just Effective
Sept. 30, 2013
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A few chuckled in the University of Iowa offensive huddle Sept. 28 as the final seconds ticked away at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Hawkeye quarterback Jake Rudock wasn't doing a stand-up comedy routine, and there was no disrespect toward the University of Minnesota. He simply announced the upcoming play that was sent in by offensive coordinator Greg Davis. The third-and-1 rush attempt would go to fullback Adam Cox, the same Adam Cox who entered the Big Ten Conference opener with career statistics of one reception and no carries.
A week earlier at home -- a 59-3 win against Western Michigan -- Cox anticipated his number being called in the waning seconds. Instead, Hawkeye quarterback C.J. Beathard lined up in "victory formation" and took a knee on three consecutive snaps before the game ended.
"We were laughing a little bit in the huddle because at the end of the Western Michigan game we were thinking there was going to be a 30 or 31 (fullback running play), but we ended up taking a knee," Cox said. "So when they called that (at Minnesota) we were laughing. That was fun."
His "fun run" picked up five yards and the 21st first down of the afternoon for the Hawkeyes.
That was the first rushing attempt of the season for Cox, who previously converted on third down in the second quarter with a pass reception. Iowa was faced with third-and-3 from its own 38 when Rudock found Cox wide-open on a screen pass. The 5-foot-11, 215-pound sophomore from Chana, Ill., galloped down the Gophers' sideline for a 35-yard pickup to the Minnesota 27. The Hawkeyes found the end zone five plays later to go ahead, 10-0.
"We run that play in practice and I don't think I have ever been that open," Cox said. "I caught it hoping to get three yards and get that first down, and I look and had to do a double take. I didn't know why I was so open, but I turned it up and started running. I don't know if I have ever run so fast."
It isn't often in a game when Cox sees that much green. His biggest asset to the Hawkeyes is being a physical presence against opposing linebackers.
"Where (Iowa fullbacks) fit into the game plan is to bring physicality to what everyone calls a spread offense," Cox said. "When I get in there I try to be as physical as I can. That helps the team."
Ironically, in the game when Iowa retained the Floyd of Rosedale trophy, Cox will be remembered more for one reception than for the bruises he handed out to Gopher defenders.
"That's how people are," Cox said. "They remember the flashy run but they won't see the blocks that we laid on some of those linebackers."
And the two times Cox moved the chains on third down Saturday are not even a personal highlight during Iowa's 27-3 victory.
"I'm proud of the yards Mark (Weisman), Damon (Bullock) and Jordan (Canzeri) had in the game," Cox said. "One catch isn't going to change a whole game. I looked up and saw we had more than 200 rushing yards and that makes me feel better than a catch."
The Hawkeyes attempted 45 running plays against Minnesota and gained 246 yards against a Gopher defense that allowed an average of 102.8 rushing yards in its first four games (all wins).
Efforts by Iowa fullbacks Cox and sophomore Macon Plewa did not go unnoticed by the coaching staff. For the first time in head coach Kirk Ferentz's 24 years in Iowa City, two fullbacks received the team Offensive Player of the Week award.