Saturday's game against Colorado State was not a standout affair for too many players in black and gold. One exception? Jack Campbell, who had an absolute whale of a game for Iowa's defense. He was here, he was there, he was every-fucking-where. After that triumphant display, it came as little surprise that he earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors:
Campbell's dynamic defensive display also earned him Bronko Nagurski National Player of the Week honors as well:
With 18 tackles and a key fumble recovery in the win over Colorado State, middle linebacker Jack Campbell of @HawkeyeFootball is our National Defensive Player of the Week, as selected by @TheFWAA. https://t.co/FvX28Jrh47 pic.twitter.com/YMR0tR1oTs— Nagurski Trophy (@NagurskiTrophy) September 28, 2021
For the game, Campbell was credited with 18 (!) tackles, including seven solo stops. He also had three pass break-ups and a key fumble recovery. The fumble recovery was mostly a case of good luck/fortuitous bounces and being in the right spot at the right time -- but "being in the right spot at the right time" is also a good way to describe Campbell's overall defensive m.o. in that he always seems to be around the ball and knows where to be to make an impact.
Campbell's 18 tackles were a career-best for him and the most for an Iowa player since Anthony Hitchens had 19 tackles against Iowa State in 2012. (In case, you were wondering, Josey Jewell's highest tackle total was 16, which he accomplished four different times.) That 18-tackle display was also the second-highest single-game total in the FBS so far this season, behind only a 19-tackle effort from Clemson's Baylon Spector. For the season, Campbell has 43 tackles, good for a tie for 8th best in the nation, though his average of 10.75 tackles per game is good for a tie for 3rd best in the nation.
Tackles aren't the be-all, end-all of course and getting 18 tackles means that the defense was on the field way too much, thus providing Campbell with ample opportunities to record all those tackles. But someone still has to make the stops and Campbell did just that, again and again (and again). And his overall defensive play has been excellent this year through four games. His speed and strength have been terrorizing offensive players all over the field and he's been directing the defense well from the MLB position as well. There was a lot of hype around Campbell before the season began and thus far he's been living up to every bit of it.
Congrats on the Player of the Week honors, Jack.