The Iowa defense was excellent on every level on Saturday, smothering Indiana from start to finish en route to a 34-6 beatdown to kick off the 2021 season. But one player on that defense was particularly excellent. And it turns out when you record not one but two pick-sixes, folks take note.
First, Moss was named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week:
Today Moss followed up that honor with Defensive Player of the Week honors from the Big Ten:
Not too shabby for a player who has taken plenty of grief over the years (including us. But Moss has long since earned Phil Parker's trust in the secondary; he should probably earn more of ours, too. He leads the team in interceptions over the past four seasons with eight*, four more than any other current player (Koerner has four career interceptions). Interceptions aren't the be-all and end-all stat for a cornerback, but they're still pretty nice and Moss' interception numbers are indicative of his ball-hawking abilities.
*Moss has actually had precisely two interceptions per season going back to 2018; considering he's already hit two for 2021, let's hope he exceeds that number considerably this season...
Need to watch those pick-sixes again? Got you covered.
Both interceptions show off different strengths in Moss' game. The first is more of a display of his football instincts; he's in the right place at the right time to haul in the ball after it deflects off the Indiana receiver's hands. The second interception, as Eric noted earlier today, is a testament to Iowa's defensive system -- and also the work Moss has put in on film study. An interception like that -- reading the quarterback and knowing exactly what pass is coming and how to intercept it -- is only possible after watching the film and understanding tendencies. Moss did just that and put that knowledge to perfect use in breaking Indiana's spirit and locking up a victory for Iowa.
There will be many more challenges to come over the next 11 regular season games, starting with Iowa State on Saturday. But we know Moss is putting in the work to slow down opposing passers -- after his explosive start to the 2021 season on Saturday, I'm excited to see what Moss can do for an encore as the season progresses.
Congratulations on the thoroughly well-deserved Player of the Week honors, Riley.