The best way to start your day is right here at Landof10.com as we prepare you for everything you need to know about Iowa sports. We’ll share our Hawkeyes Wake-Up Call here with you at 8:30 a.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.
So let’s get to it. Here is your Wake-Up Call for Monday, Jan. 9.
Dom Uhl’s big day
Shortly upon entering the game, Dom Uhl fired a 3-pointer. Nothing but net.
It was a big moment for a player in the midst of a shooting slump, but not his biggest on Sunday. Uhl would go on to be an all-around force, having a hand in nearly everything Iowa did in a 68-62 win against Rutgers on Sunday.
He scored 10 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and blocked 5 shots. For the first time this season, Uhl looked like the player Iowa needs him to be.
“He was the man today,” coach Fran McCaffery said. “He was the difference in the game without question.”
There is no one like Uhl on Iowa’s roster. At 6-foot-9 and 217 pounds, he’s capable of playing on the wing and in the post. His length and athleticism can cause problems.
Only, it wasn’t. Uhl’s game has been off this season. He started the first six contests, but came off the bench in 10 of the last 11 games. His minutes decreased, only seeing 360 seconds of action at Nebraska on Thursday — and that game had two overtime periods. To top it off, he entered Sunday shooting 31.8 percent in the last 7 games.
Everything came together against Rutgers. He scored. He chipped in on the glass. Uhl protected the rim when Iowa switched to a zone in the second half.
The Scarlet Knights had no answer for him and it left them questioning how they let a 9-point second-half lead disappear.
“He was aggressive,” forward Cordell Pemsl said. “He was passing and shooting and defending and doing all that. He had some huge blocks down the stretch. He did everything he needed to do to help us win.”
Iowa is a different team when Uhl is on his game. He can help out on the perimeter and stand next to Tyler Cook or Pemsl in the post, especially if he’s going to block shots like he did on Sunday.
Big Ten play is only going to get tougher. No. 20 Purdue comes into Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday (9:06 p.m. ET, BTN). Iowa will need this Uhl to stick around, not just for the Boilermakers, but for the rest of the season.
“We have all seen him play this well and it will be a big impact on our team if he continues to do that,” McCaffery said.
Iowa and the U.S. Army All-American Bowl
Iowa commits didn’t make a huge impact during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday. They did, however, make their presence known during the week of bowl practice.
Edwardsville (Ill.) High DE A.J. Epenesa recorded 2 tackles and Mount Vernon (Iowa) High OT Tristan Wirfs played with the second-team offense for the West, backing up Foster Sarell, the top-ranked player in the country according to 247Sports’ ratings.
One of Iowa’s top recruiting targets, Iowa City West High WR Oliver Martin, didn’t make a reception.
— Dawn (@driedl23) January 7, 2017
Fans shouldn’t read too much into stats from an all-star game. Two things truly matter from an All-American Bowl — being selected for it and how a player looks in practice. The honor says as much about as player’s ability as anything. It’s the most important thing.
And making an impression during the week — like Epenesa and Wirfs did — is always a good sign. If a player can stand out going against some of the best in the country it’s another indication of their talent level.
Such an incredible week! So blessed I got to experience this, ganna miss the dudes I got close with! Thanks for the memories?✌? pic.twitter.com/YLDUHvtdEe
— Big T?? (@TristanWirfs74) January 8, 2017
Hawkeyes in the NFL
Iowa didn’t record a football victory on Sunday, but it might as well have. Former Hawkeyes Bryan Bulaga, Micah Hyde and Mike Daniels were instrumental in Green Bay beating the New York Giants 38-13 in a wild-card contest on Sunday.
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) January 9, 2017
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) January 9, 2017
Bulaga, who was questionable to play with an oblique injury, helped ensure QB Aaron Rodgers had the time to throw for 362 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Hyde had 7 total tackles and also returned 5 punts for 50 yards. Daniels added 4 tackles. Green Bay will now face Dallas, and former Iowa linebacker Anthony Hitchens, in the divisional round.
Former Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz and the Houston Texans lived to play another week, as well. He caught 2 passes for 35 yards in a 27-14 win over Oakland in a wild-card round contest on Saturday. Fiedorowicz and the Texans will likely need an all-time performance to advance to the AFC Championship Game. Houston travels to New England for a divisional-round game next Saturday, and the Patriots have already opened up a 16-point favorites.
Defensive linemen Justin Babineaux and Adrian Clayborn had the weekend off as Atlanta received a bye in the wild-card round. The Falcons also play Saturday, hosting Seattle.