Epenesa Is First-Teamer; Duncan Named Big Ten's Top Kicker
A.J. Epenesa faced double-teams and a chemistry of different blocking schemes all season.
It didn't keep the Iowa junior defensive end from being named to the All-Big Ten first-team defense by the coaches and media on Tuesday.
Iowa's Keith Duncan was named the Bakken-Anderson Kicker of the Year of the conference. Duncan was also a first-team selection.
The All-Big Ten offenses and individual offensive winners will be announced Wednesday.
Iowa safety Geno Stone was a second-team selection by the coaches. Cornerback Michael Ojemudia was a second-team selection by the media and a third-team choice by the coaches. Stone also earned media honorable-mention honors.
Duncan is the first Iowa kicker to earn the conference award since its inception in 2011. The award is named for former Wisconsin kicker Jim Bakken and former Michigan State kicker Morten Andersen. Duncan is one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award as the top kicker in the nation.
Duncan set Big Ten and Iowa single-season records with 29 made field goals, a total that ranks sixth best all-time in the NCAA. Duncan also set a school record with six field-goal attempts in Iowa’s win over Purdue. His 34 attempts on the season are also a school record.
Epenesa earned first-team honors for the second straight year. He was named Big Ten defensive player of the week after wins over Minnesota and Nebraska.
Epenesa leads the Hawkeyes in tackles for loss (13), sacks (9), quarterback pressures (9) and forced fumbles (3). He also has three pass break-ups.
Stone had 65 total tackles, including 43 solos. Stone has three tackles for loss, three pass break-ups, two forced fumbles, one interception, and one recovered fumble.
Ojemudia leads the Hawkeyes with three interceptions. He recorded 36 solo tackles and 11 assists and has a team-best seven pass break-ups.
Earning honorable-mention recognition from both coaches and media were junior defensive end Chauncey Golston and senior linebacker Kristian Welch. Senior defensive tackle Cedrick Lattimore earned honorable mention from the coaches, while punter Michael Sleep-Dalton was an honorable-mention choice by the media.
Welch started nine games at middle linebacker and led the team with 80 tackles, despite missing three games due to injury. Welch had double-figure tackle totals in Iowa’s final three games following his injury, helping the Hawkeyes to three consecutive wins.
Golston had 8 1/2 tackles for loss. He also had 2 1/2 sacks, four pass break-ups, one interception, and seven quarterback pressures while starting all 12 games.
Lattimore had 23 solo tackles and 17 assists. Lattimore also had three tackles for loss, 2 1/2 sacks, and a recovered fumble.
Sleep-Dalton, a graduate transfer, averaged 42.1 yards on 54 punts, with a long of 63 yards. He placed 21 punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line, with just four touchbacks, and had 10 punts of 50 yards or more.
Senior quarterback Nate Stanley was named Iowa’s Sportsmanship Award recipient..