Posted by Adam JacobiMarcus Coker, Iowa's leading rusher on the season, will not be joining the team as it travels to the Insight Bowl to face Oklahoma on December 30. The school announced on Tuesday that Coker had been suspended from the team after violating an unspecified policy in the school's Student-Athlete Code of Conduct.
Coker was the workhorse of the Iowa offense in 2011, rushing 281 times for 1384 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also caught 21 passes for 157 yards. Coker led the Hawkeyes in rushing in each of their last 11 games, and ranked second in the Big Ten in rushing yards (behind Montee Ball) while placing third in rushing touchdowns (behind Ball and Denard Robinson).
Incidentally, it was a teammate's suspension going into the Insight Bowl in 2010 that gave Coker the breakout performance of his freshman year. With starter Adam Robinson suspended after "failing to comply with team policies," Iowa turned to Coker in its game against Missouri, and Coker responded with a scintillating performance: 33 carries, 219 yards, two touchdowns, and several broken tackles.
The Hawkeyes' first option at tailback in Coker's place would have been freshman Mika'il McCall, but McCall was suspended for the team's season finale at Nebraska for a violation of team rules and remains suspended, according to the Iowa athletic department. Additionally, even if McCall had been eligible to participate, he suffered a serious ankle injury in the season opener against Tennessee Tech; since the injury he has seen two carries -- the second of which was a lost fumble.
So without its top two running backs, Iowa has De'Andre Jackson, a redshirt freshman who has rushed for 79 yards on 18 carries in mop-up duty, and the athletic but smallish true freshman Jordan Canzeri, who has nine rushes for 56 yards. Damon Bullock, another true freshman, has rushed for 22 yards on eight carries, but seven of those came against Louisiana-Monroe and he has not seen action at RB since. Iowa may also turn to walk-on junior Jason White, who has split time between safety and running back in his time at Iowa and has three rushes for 12 yards this season.
Get all the latest updates on Iowa and Oklahoma at the Insight Bowl Pregame.
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