If there’s a bright spot for the Iowa Hawkeyes, it’s their special teams unit. For the second consecutive week, Iowa boasts the special teams player of the week. Last week it was punter Tory Taylor. This time it’s defensive lineman Lukas Van Ness, who blocked two punts.

His first block came on the Cyclones opening drive, setting up his offense in the red zone, where they scored their only touchdown of the season. His second came in the third quarter, where the offense came within 1 yard of scoring but fumbled the football at the goal line. Van Ness gave all of the credit to his special teams coach LeVar Woods for setting up him to make plays.

“Coach Woods dialed that up all week,” Van Ness said after the game. “We noticed that Iowa State — they had their two guys in the shield, which is the guys that protect the punter off the line a little bit. They had me line up and they basically gave me a straight shot to run at the shield and get my hand out there and block a couple punts.”

If Van Ness was happy with his performance, it was certainly hard to tell at the podium. It’s hard to blame him after his team lost the Cy-Hawk Trophy for the first time in 8 years.

“More than anything right now just the only metric that matters for me is winning a game,” Van Ness added. “Obviously we didn’t do that today so it hurts a lot and I’ll just leave it at that.”

Can the Hawkeyes make it three in a row? Maybe kicker Aaron Blom can knock in a few long field goals to keep the hot streak alive. Either way, the next opportunity for LeVar Woods’ unit to show out comes on Saturday against Nevada at a late 6:30 kickoff time.

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