Nov. 19, 2014
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By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Wisconsin isn’t the only team playing for the Heartland Trophy on Saturday that has an offensive back enjoying recent success.
Most football fans have heard about the guy from Madison, but in the last two weeks, University of Iowa junior Macon Plewa has posted career numbers…for a fullback that is.
In road games at Minnesota and Illinois, Plewa has combined for three catches for 21 yards and a rush for one yard.
“You have to love it,” Plewa said Wednesday after practice in Kinnick Stadium. “I always joke with (offensive coordinator Greg) Davis to let me get my vitamin once a week and he laughs. It has been nice to catch the ball and run a little bit; contribute whenever I can.”
Plewa, a 6-foot-2, 236-pound junior from Franklin, Wisconsin, came to the Hawkeyes as a linebacker. He played Leo, then Mike. In the spring of 2012, UI head coach Kirk Ferentz informed Plewa of an opportunity to play offense and he has been there since.
His career statistics line goes like this: two rushing attempts for eight yards, 10 pass receptions for 59 yards, and two kickoff returns for 41 yards and a long of 36.
Putting up Heisman-like numbers isn’t what makes fullbacks successful at Iowa. In fact, Plewa takes more pride when senior running back Mark Weisman plows into the end zone behind one of his blocks (Weisman has 14 rushing touchdowns this season).
“If Mark is scoring touchdowns and we’re winning games, that’s fine with me,” Plewa said. “I knew from playing linebacker that when you hit fullbacks you know it’s a tough, physical position. I knew coming in as a walk-on that you are going to have to be tough and this is a physical game, especially at Iowa. If I had that opportunity to play fullback I knew that was the mentality I was going to have to play with.”
The Hawkeyes (7-3 overall, 4-2 Big Ten Conference) host No. 14 Wisconsin (8-2, 5-1) on Nov. 22 in Kinnick Stadium. Plewa grew up watching the Badgers before crossing state lines into Iowa.
“This is a big-time game for us. We need this win and it is added incentive to play a team from your home state that you grew up watching,” Plewa said.
Just as Plewa is indifferent to being in the statistical spotlight, he could also care less about any game day weather forecast.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” he said. “If it’s cold, raining, sunny, it’s going to be a physical game either way.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 2:36 p.m. (CT).