IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa’s offensive line has been named one-of-three finalists for the Joe Moore Award, which honors offensive line units that display a high level of toughness, effort, teamwork, consistency, technique, and “finishing”. The announcement was made Tuesday afternoon by The Foundation for Teamwork.
The Joe Moore Award, in its second year, is named after Joe Moore, widely regarded as one of the best offensive line coaches in college football history. It is the only major college football award to honor a unit.
In addition to 22nd-ranked Iowa (8-4), the other finalists for the award include top-ranked Alabama (12-0) and No. 2 Ohio State (11-1). Voting for the Joe Moore Award Winning Unit begins immediately and will be completed by Dec. 6. The winner will be announced at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta on December 9.
Voting is conducted solely by people who played or coached the offensive line position, including all current offensive line coaches at the Division I/FBS level, as well as former players, coaches and colleagues of Coach Moore, and select media.
Overcoming many early season injuries, Iowa’s offensive line has seen seven different starting combinations through 12 games this season. Senior Cole Croston (LT/RT); juniors Ike Boettger (LT, LG, RT), Boone Myers (LT, LG), and Sean Welsh (RG, RT); sophomores James Daniels (C), Lucas LeGrand (C), and Keegan Render (LG, RG); and freshman Levi Paulsen (RG) have all started in at least one game for the Hawkeyes.
Iowa’s offense is averaging 171.9 rushing yards per game — averaging 4.48 yards per carry, and more than two yards before contact — and 333.2 yards total offense per game. The Hawkeyes also lead the Big Ten in red zone offense (.923), scoring points on 36-of-39 trips to the red zone, and own a league leading TD conversion rate of 72 percent.
Iowa’s big men up front have paved the way for the running back duo of Leshun Daniels, Jr. (1,013) and Akrum Wadley (966). Daniels and Wadley have rushed for over 100 yards in a single game a combined nine times this season, and are just the second set of running backs in program history to have 900-plus rushing yards in the same season (Owen Gill and Ronnie Harmon, 1984).
In Iowa’s week seven win over Purdue, both players topped 100 yards, marking the first time since 2008 Iowa had two 100-yard rushers in the same game (Shonn Greene, 115; Jewel Hampton, 114 yards vs. Indiana). It marked the 24th time two players rushed for 100 yards or more in the same game, but the first time two players reached the 150-yard plateau. The duo helped the Hawkeyes rush for 365 yards against the Boilermakers, tying for the second most rushing yardage total in the Ferentz era (Minnesota, 2002).
Six weeks later in Iowa’s regular season finale, a 40-10 win over Nebraska, Daniels (158) and Wadley (105) both surpassed the century mark again. The Hawkeyes gained 264 yards on the ground, which included an eight-minute, fourth quarter touchdown drive on which the Hawkeyes ran the ball on all 13 plays (45 yards).