Dec. 24, 2011
- 2011 Insight Bowl Central
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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Marvin McNutt, Jr., is the University of Iowa’s all-time leader in receiving yards (2,815) and receiving touchdowns (28). His 166 catches leave him eight shy of the school record in that category as well.
But the Hawkeyes won’t use the 2011 Insight Bowl to pad statistics…unless it aids in winning an unprecedented fourth consecutive postseason game.
“Right now it’s more about finishing my last game with these guys and it’s the last time I get to come out and put on the jersey,” McNutt said of the Dec. 30 encounter against No. 19 Oklahoma in Tempe’s Sun Devil Stadium. “That’s why you want to go out and play as hard as you can.”
McNutt, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound senior from St. Louis, is coming off a four-reception, 29-yard output against Nebraska — numbers that pale compared to his averages of 6.5 catches and 105.8 yards per game in 2011. For the season, he has 78 receptions for 1,269 yards and 12 touchdowns. McNutt is tops in the Big Ten Conference in yards per game and he is second in receptions per game.
“That’s already out of there,” said McNutt about the bad taste of the most recent game against the Cornhuskers. And since that contest, McNutt has been named first team All-Big Ten by the coaches and media, and the recipient of the Richter-Howard Wide Receiver of the Year in the league.
UI head coach Kirk Ferentz would love to see McNutt extend his total for receiving touchdowns Friday.
“I didn’t even know what the magic number was,” Ferentz said. “He’s already set a couple records and I would be all for him breaking one more, and it would be even better if he would add to the other ones. Especially the touchdown one, I’d really like that. If he had four catches, but they were all touchdowns, I would make that trade off. I don’t know how he feels about it.”
Oklahoma (9-3 overall, 6-3 Big 12 Conference) is fourth in its league in pass defense, averaging 243.6 yards per game. The Sooners allow 6.8 yards per pass attempt and have 13 interceptions.
“They have a lot of great athletes out there and they play well together,” McNutt said. “When they’re doing things right, they do it very well.”
Five Oklahoma defensive players were named to the first or second All-Big 12 teams, including defensive backs Jamell Fleming (first team) and Demontre Hurst (second team).
On the other end of the McNutt receptions is Hawkeye quarterback James Vandenberg, who has completed 59.4 percent of his pass attempts for 2,806 yards and 23 touchdowns.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to play with (James) as well as the other 100 guys on this roster,” McNutt said. “It’s been an honor to play for the Hawkeyes.”
Iowa (7-5 overall, 4-4 Big Ten) completed its second practice outdoors at Chaparral High School on Saturday. They will be off Christmas Day and return to the practice field Monday. The Hawkeyes have won their last three bowl games — 31-10 against South Carolina in the 2009 Outback Bowl, 24-14 against No. 9 Georgia Tech in the 2010 Orange Bowl, and 27-24 against No. 12 Missouri in the 2010 Insight Bowl.