IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa running back Akrum Wadley won’t be high-stepping into the end zone anymore, at least through this January.
But that doesn’t mean he likes an NCAA football rule more today than he did last Saturday, when his two high-steps inside the 10-yard line was considered unsportsmanlike and his 74-yard touchdown was negated.
“I know, it’s unfortunate,” Wadley said in his first public comments since the touchdown was waved off. “Because you work hard all season and you just want to have fun out there. But it is what it is. Rules are rules.
“I’ve been doing that [high-stepping]. I’ve always been doing that.”
Late in the first quarter, Iowa faced a third-and-9 at its 26-yard line when quarterback Nate Stanley flung a pass to Wadley in the right flat. Wadley turned upfield and sprinted past the North Texas defense. When he reached the 6-yard line, Wadley glided and kicked his legs outward, which drew a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct. The touchdown was rescinded, the penalty was enforced from the 6, and the Hawkeyes were sent back to the 21-yard line.
Wadley had no idea he was flagged for the play until he reached the Iowa sideline.
“Coach [Kirk] Ferentz stopped me and he usually be shaking everybody’s hands and he didn’t shake my hand,” Wadley said.
“I was just shocked,” Wadley said. “They just took this touchdown back? I’ve been doing that for years. I didn’t know they could do that.”
“I just told him he’s too good of a player to do that,” Ferentz said on Saturday.
— Dr. Saturday (@YahooDrSaturday) September 16, 2017
Wadley sat out the rest of the series, which resulted in an Iowa touchdown 7 plays later.
When asked if he’ll high-step again at Iowa, Wadley replied, “That’s a negative.”
“I can hear Coach Brian [Ferentz] in my ear. During class I can hear him. That’s all he’s been talking about all week is high-stepping.”
Wadley was just as miffed by North Texas’ players not receiving a flag for celebrating after their first touchdown than he was for getting stripped of his own score.
“One of their guys scored and you see them?” Wadley said. “The three of them, they were shushing out fans. They were doing all kinds of things. Call it both ways.”
Wadley has 410 yards of total offense and 2 touchdowns this year. He injured an ankle in the second quarter against North Texas and did not return. But he’s ready to go against No. 4 Penn State (3-0) in the Big Ten opener Saturday night (6:30 p.m. CT, ABC).