Sept. 11, 2013
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- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
IOWA CITY, Iowa — When Damon Powell takes the field Saturday in Ames, he will play in front of about 10,000 fewer fans than his first two games as a Division I wide receiver.
Although the numbers will be less, this group won’t be as friendly.
Powell played in front of 67,000 in Kinnick Statdium on Aug. 31, and 64,000 at home the following week. A junior college transfer, Powell’s first road game will be against intrastate rival Iowa State.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to get a big win, but it’s going to be pretty hostile.”
This is the first rivalry game for Powell, and he knows the Hawkeyes are up against a tough and talented Cyclone team. Iowa State won 44-41 in triple overtime during the last meeting at Jack Trice Stadium (capacity 56,800) in 2011; Iowa State won again in 2012 in Iowa City, 9-6.
Last season Powell attended Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, where he led all junior college receivers with an average of 30 yards per catch. He caught 41 passes for 1,231 yards and 14 touchdowns. His yardage and touchdown totals ranked third in NJCAA.
In his first game as a Hawkeye, the speedy Powell caught one pass for 49 yards; in his second game he carried the ball two yards before Iowa was whistled for holding.
“I’m a team player,” Powell said. “Whatever coach wants me to do I have to do it.”
A native of Toledo, Ohio, Powell visited the UI campus in December and after meeting with coaches and his future teammates, it felt like home.
“The coaching staff was great and the players were great,” Powell said. “I felt I needed to be here. This was home.”
Even though he had heard about fan support of the Hawkeyes, he was amazed after experiencing it in person.
“I have never been around fans like this,” Powell said. “They love us as a group and they show their support every game. I’m not used to that — 70,000 is a lot of people.”
Powell is becoming more comfortable with the playbook as the season progresses.
“It was difficult at first, but we have great coaches here who guided me through,” he said. “I’m here now and I’m getting the plays down.”
The 61st installment of the Cy-Hawk series begins at 5:05 p.m. (CT). The Cyclones are 0-1 this season following a 28-20 loss to Northern Iowa on Aug. 31. Iowa is 1-1.
Saturday’s game will be televised on Fox Sports 1 with Justin Kutcher, James Bates, and Brady Poppinga calling the action.