Iowa’s offensive line finished the season about as strong as it possibly could’ve.
The Hawkeyes won their final three games — one against undefeated Michigan and the other against No. 16 Nebraska — by dominating the line of scrimmage. The Hawkeyes averaged 230 rushing yards per game in those three victories, which produced four 100-yard rushers.
As a result, the Hawkeye offensive line earned itself some major national recognition. On Friday, Iowa took home the Joe Moore Award for the nation’s top offensive line.
The Hawkeyes were selected by a voting committee comprised solely of people who played or coached the offensive line position, including all of the current offensive line coaches at the Division I/FBS level as well as former players, coaches and colleagues of Coach Moore and select media.
Iowa received the most votes ahead of the likes of Alabama and Ohio State, both of whom will play in the College Football Playoff.
“The voting was intensely close this year and Iowa and Alabama were neck-and-neck until the very end of the voting period,” said Aaron Taylor, CBS Sports CFB Analyst and Chairman of the Joe Moore Award Voting Committee. “Ultimately, while the other units may have had a few standout individual players, many of the voters felt Iowa personified the fundamental principle that drives this award: Teamwork. Iowa excelled in that this season.”
Iowa was graded the top offensive line in college football earlier in the season, according to Pro Football Focus. The Hawkeyes did finish eighth in the B1G in rushing and 10th in sacks allowed.
Because of some early injuries, Iowa got starts this season from seven different combinations. The likes of Cole Croston (LT/RT), Ike Boettger (LT, LG, RT), Boone Myers (LT, LG), Sean Welsh (RG, RT), James Daniels (C), Lucas LeGrand (C), Keegan Render (LG, RG) and freshman Levi Paulsen (RG) all had at least one start in 2016.
The best news for Iowa is that the five starting linemen from the Nebraska game will all be back in 2017. Perhaps the Hawkeyes could repeat as Joe Moore Award winners.