Sept. 25, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa wide receiver Jordan Cotton entered the 2012 football season with one reception–it came against Minnesota last October.
The Hawkeyes (2-2 overall) open Big Ten Conference play Saturday against undefeated Minnesota (4-0), with Cotton, now a junior, playing a much larger role than he has in the past.
Cotton saw action in two games as a sophomore: at Minnesota and against Michigan State. He didn’t have a reception against the Spartans, but he had his number called early on a fourth down at Minneapolis.
Iowa took its opening drive of the game to the Gopher 35-yard line, where it was faced with fourth-and-6.
“I caught a four-yard hitch route and it was a yard short. That’s all I remember,” Cotton said.
Cotton has seen his playing time increase this season. In four games, he has three catches for 57 yards and a long of 36. His 19-yards per reception leads the team.
“It feels great going out there and doing my job,” Cotton said. “When your number is called, you have to be ready, and that’s what I have been doing so far.”
“Jordan has done a nice job. He has been steadily improving and he had a really good month of August. He made a nice third-down catch two weeks ago, and certainly the run after the catch Saturday was impressive. I think he’s gaining confidence, and that’s a positive.”
UI head football coach
Cotton had one catch for eight yards against Northern Iowa, and it moved the chains on third down deep inside Hawkeye territory. The next Saturday against Central Michigan, he hauled in two passes for 49 yards, and returned a kickoff 25 yards.
“Jordan has done a nice job,” UI head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “He has been steadily improving and he had a really good month of August. He made a nice third-down catch two weeks ago, and certainly the run after the catch Saturday was impressive. I think he’s gaining confidence, and that’s a positive.”
The key to more touches, according to Cotton, has been consistency, and spending an extra 5-10 minutes post-practice every day with quarterback James Vandenberg.
The traveling trophy Floyd of Rosedale is at stake when Iowa’s neighbors to the north come to Kinnick Stadium.
“It’s the first game in the Big Ten, it’s a trophy game, and Homecoming,” Cotton said. “We have to prepare well for this game.”
Ferentz spoke for the entire program when he said: “I’m not happy that we are 2 2–nobody is.”
But the start of the Big Ten season is a fresh beginning.
“We’re 0-0 in the Big Ten, so our goals are still out there,” Cotton said. “The Big Ten title is in reach still, we have to take it one game at a time.”
Iowa has won its last three Homecoming games, including 45-24 against Indiana last season. Minnesota has won the last two meetings with the Hawkeyes, 27-24 in 2010, and 22-21 in 2011–both games were played at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Kickoff is scheduled for 11:01 a.m. (CT). The game will be televised live to a national audience on ESPN2 with Beth Mowins, Joey Galloway and Lewis Johnson calling the action.