IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa cornerback Desmond King’s matchup with Northwestern receiver Austin Carr is one of this week’s showcase showdowns in Big Ten action.
King, the reigning Jim Thorpe Award winner as the nation’s top defensive back, has yet to intercept a pass this year after picking off 8 in 2015. But that hardly means King has slumped this season.
After Iowa’s 14-7 win last week against Rutgers, Pro Football Focus graded King as Iowa’s top defender for the second consecutive game. King allowed 1 catch for 2 yards and was staunch defending the running game.
The previous week against North Dakota State, King didn’t allow a reception on 2 targets. Pro Football Focus graded King as the nation’s best cornerback in run defense for that game.
Iowa's Desmond King is a true ballhawk ⚫️?⚪️
— College Town™ (@CollegeT0wn) September 22, 2016
Carr entered the season as a role player and has vaulted into a prime-time performer. Carr leads the Big Ten in catches (26) and receiving yards (392). He has caught a touchdown pass in three straight games, the first Wildcats player to do so in five years. In the process, Carr has caught King’s attention as well.
“He’s one of their go-to guys, someone who’s going to make the play for them as well,” King said. “It’s going to be a task for us.”
Carr, a senior, caught 16 passes for 302 yards and a pair of scores last year. This year, he has at least 73 receiving yards in every game. Nobody else in the Big Ten is within 6 catches of Carr.
“We knew this was going to be a breakout year for him,” Northwestern running back Justin Jackson said. “He did really well last year in limited opportunities. I personally, and I think everyone on our team, knew that he was going to have a great year and he’s a great receiver for us.”
— Def Pen Sports (@DefPenSports) September 25, 2016