Iowa is undefeated through six weeks, but the injury bug is starting to rear its ugly head.
Hawkeyes defensive lineman Drew Ott has a torn ACL, head coach Kirk Ferentz confirmed Tuesday. Ott left Saturday’s win over Illinois and did not return. A report after the game indicated he tore his ACL, which Ferentz confirmed. Ott will miss the remainder of the season, and, as a senior with no eligibility remaining, his collegiate career is over.
“It was confirmed after he went for tests that Drew did tear his ACL. So he's going to be done here,” Ferentz said during his weekly press conference. “It was a great win for us, but the worst part about coaching football is dealing with injuries. I've said this many times, but we get firsthand exposure to just how hard these players work on a year round basis, and they are doing it to have 12 opportunities. That's about all anybody's guaranteed as a college football player, so they work extremely hard to have those 12 opportunities to go out and perform and play with their teammates, and any time that's taken away, it's just a tough thing.
“So it's a tough deal for Drew, certainly. He's a tremendous young guy. He's done everything he possibly can, and especially tough because he just fought back from that elbow injury, he's been playing less than 100 percent, pretty close last week and now this happened. As good as it was on Saturday, to get the victory, I think probably all of us had a little tough feeling on Saturday night just in expectation that this may not turn out well. That's where it's at. Drew will have that addressed here in the near future. He's going to obviously stay with us and I'm counting on him to be a strong team leader. I know he will. But it's a tough thing and it's just part of the game, unfortunately.”
Ott was having a stellar season with five sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles.
Meanwhile, rumors of a serious injury to quarterback C.J. Beathard floated around social media on Monday night after he was banged up on several plays during Saturday’s game. Beathard told reporters Tuesday that he expects to play in this weekend’s contest at 20th-ranked Northwestern, and Ferentz echoed that sentiment.
“I’m feeling good, just getting treatment and stuff to help me get better,” Beathard told reporters Tuesday. A video of his comments was posted by the Des Moines Register. “A lot of guys come up banged up after games. It’s just a matter of getting better and getting treatment and getting ready for the next game. ... Right now, I’m positive I’ll play.”
“Count on it,” Ferentz said when asked if Beathard will play Saturday. “I'm counting on it, absolutely.”
Beathard has been one of the Big Ten’s best quarterbacks this season. He’s thrown for 1,239 yards and nine touchdowns through six games and rushed in for three additional touchdowns.
A big test awaits the Hawkeyes against the Wildcats, who despite a 38-0 loss to Michigan last weekend still rank in the top 10 nationally in both scoring defense and total defense.