Iowa's Coker has record-setting bowl debut

Running back topped Iowa's list of concerns heading into Tuesday night's Insight Bowl matchup against Missouri.

Marcus Coker made all the worries go away in barely a quarter of play.

The true freshman who entered the bowl as Iowa's only decent option at running back provided all the rushing production Iowa needed -- and then some. Coker rushed for 219 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries, setting Iowa bowl records in both categories. It marked Iowa's first 200-yard rushing performance in a bowl and the team's first since former Doak Walker Award winner Shonn Greene went for 211 against Purdue in 2008.

"I already knew before the game that the O-line was going to do a great job. I was pretty comfortable after the first couple plays," Coker said. "I was pretty comfortable after the first couple plays."

How good was Coker's bowl debut? He recorded the second-highest rushing total for a Big Ten freshman in a bowl -- Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne went for 246 yards for Wisconsin in the 1996 Copper Bowl.

"We said back in August we thought Marcus would be a great player for us," coach Kirk Ferentz said. "Unfortunately, he got hurt [broken collarbone in preseason]. He has been playing catchup through the season. When he had opportunities during the fall, he really did a good job.

"[Tuesday night] was certainly his best outing, his best performance, and he is a tremendous young man. So just really proud of him."

We'll have to see what happens with Adam Robinson, but Coker certainly gives Iowa's run game a jolt heading into 2011.