‘Johnny Weisman’ looks to return Hawks to glory days
|By BRIAN CAMPBELL|
Hawkeyesportsnews.com Senior Writer
IOWA CITY – One more game like this and his Iowa teammates will start calling him “Johnny Weisman.”
Hawkeye running back Mark Weisman did his best to single-handedly break the team’s seven-game losing streak Saturday against Missouri State. He rushed for 180 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-14 victory at Kinnick Stadium. In the process, he broke the 1,000-yard mark for his career, and it was the second consecutive game with at least 100 yards and a touchdown. But unlike Heisman trophy winner “Johnny Football,” Weisman wasn’t signing autographs after the game, instead he was giving all the credit for his individual success to where he felt it belonged -- his teammates and coaches.
Weisman could only laugh when asked if he was in line for a post-season award or two. No doubt he remembers 2011 when he was a walk-on freshman and was so low he had to play fullback just to be listed on the depth chart. Of all the Iowa running backs, Weisman appears to have the least physical ability. But he is a powerful and tireless runner. Against Missouri State he carried the ball 30 times and appeared to get stronger in the fourth quarter.
“He’s a tough kid,” quarterback Jake Rudock said. “He just wants the ball. I’ll tell him, ‘Hey Mark, we are going to go to you, we are going to keep riding you. He’s like, ‘Ok, give me more.’”
As quick as he was to give credit to his teammates, Weisman was quicker to turn his sights to next week – the battle with Iowa State for the Cyhawk trophy. Weisman didn’t carry the ball in a 9-6 loss to Iowa State last year and caught just one pass for 3 yards. He knows the tradition of Iowa running backs and running the football and is eager to return the Hawks to the glory years of ground and pound.
“That’s Iowa football,” Weisman said. “We have to win this game. We know there is a lot of work to do. It’s a big game, obviously. It’s a trophy game.”
And if “Johnny Weisman” succeeds in returning the Hawks to their former glory, that may not be the only trophy he wins this season.
** Photo Courtesy of David Scrivner / Iowa City Press-Citizen **