Thursday, September 13, 2012
SEPTEMBER 12, 2012
BY TROY HYDE
For the second straight weekend, a former Hawkeye legend will make his way back to Iowa City and serve as Iowa's honorary captain.
Former Hawkeye All-American center Bruce Nelson will take that honor Saturday as the Hawkeyes try to bounce back from a loss against Iowa State by playing FCS No. 7 Northern Iowa.
Kickoff for the game at Kinnick Stadium is set for 2:42 p.m. Iowa leads the all-time series with the Panthers 14-1 and has won 14 straight games.
Nelson was a first-team All-American in 2002 as the Hawkeyes posted a perfect 8-0 mark in the Big Ten Conference. He also helped Iowa to its first-ever BCS appearance when the Hawkeyes took on USC in the Orange Bowl.
Like many other Hawkeye greats, Nelson joined the Iowa program as a walk-on after graduating from Emmetsburg High School. He redshirted his freshman season and then started 48 straight games the next four seasons.
Nelson also was named a first-team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America and CNNSI.com, and he was a finalist for the Rimington Trophy, presented annually to the top center in the nation.
The Hawkeyes won 11 games in 2002 and set a single-season school record in points with 484, touchdowns with 60 and points per game at 37.2. The Hawkeyes also led the Big Ten in scoring in 2001 at 31.6 points per game and featured a 1,000-yard back in 2000, 2001 and 2002.
Nelson also excelled in the classroom, as he earned academic all-Big Ten recognition in each of his final three years. Nelson was drafted in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers.
Nelson will accompany the Iowa captains to the center of the field for Saturday’s pregame coin toss. He will also be with the Hawkeyes in the locker room before and after the game, and on the sidelines during the contest.