IOWA CITY, Ia. — Iowa’s sophomore defensive lineman refuses to hang his head after losing at home to Iowa State.
It’s no mystery the Hawkeyes made critical mistakes on both sides of the ball. And that resulted in Iowa’s first loss in the Cy-Hawk series since 2014. Lukas Van Ness believes the blame can’t be put on one individual. After all, it’s a team game, and no one is ready to hit the panic button after the first loss of the season.
Adversity has struck the Hawkeyes. Which is why Van Ness and his teammates are rallying behind their coaches and making adjustments approaching game three.
“We don’t ever point fingers in our building, we win together, we lose together,” Van Ness said. “Everything that happens out there is not a result of one specific person… that’s just the nature of the game.”
The Illinois native did what he could to put his team in the best position to win the game. Van Ness made game-changing plays when he blocked two kicks, which tied a single-game, school record. Not to mention it was the first time a Hawkeye player has blocked two punts in a single game since Sean Considine accomplished that feat in 2003.
However, Van Ness is no stranger to making plays on defense and special teams. He had a solid campaign in 2021, with 33 tackles, including 8.5 for loss and seven sacks. And after two games into 2022, it’s clear he’s building on that success.
The six-foot-five, 275-pounder has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. His natural instincts and vision allows him to make plays on balls, which is how he came up with those blocks.
“We noticed that Iowa State had its two guys in a shield to protect the punter, they were offset off the line a little so they had me line up and it gave me a straight shot to run at the shield and block a couple punts,” he said. “I was able to get there a couple of times, but it wasn’t enough.”
It wasn’t enough because Iowa’s defense was on the field way too long. The Cyclones orchestrated a 21-play, 99-yard touchdown drive midway through the fourth quarter that left the Hawkeyes’ defense completely exhausted. The rain also played a factor late in the fourth, with tackling and slippery balls. The pigskin must’ve weighed 30 pounds when Aaron Blom attempted the 48-yard field goal, which would’ve sent the game into overtime.
And that’s what Van Ness is focusing on. After all the mistakes the Hawkeyes made, they were still in the game down to the last second on the clock.
“We obviously came out on the losing side, we are definitely really disappointed,” the 21-year old said.
Van Ness is planning on watching film and correcting those mistakes throughout practice this week. The former three-star prospect should have some extra motivation after being named the Big Ten’s Special Teams Player of the Week Monday.
Van Ness could care less about the accolades, or recognition when his team is struggling to win games. Nevada (1-1) just allowed 55 points to an FCS opponent in its’ last game. The Wolfpack scored 41 points though, so Van Ness and the rest of his teammates won’t be taking them lightly.
“We have to regroup, watch some film, and continue to be a work in progress to get ready for this upcoming week.”