Iowa Stock Index: Hawkeyes’ stock report after win over Wisconsin

The Iowa Hawkeyes essentially have the driver’s seat in the Big Ten West. A sentence more or less unfathomable just a month ago is a very real situation and a reality that is fully upon us.

At 6-4, following a rivalry victory over the Wisconsin Badgers for the Heartland Trophy, the Hawkeyes are tied for first place in the Big Ten West. If they win out against Minnesota and Nebraska, paired with Michigan taking care of Illinois next weekend, the Hawkeyes are returning to Indianapolis.

The three-game win streak they are riding right now has seen efforts from all three units at different times and has Iowa not only tied for first in the Big Ten West, but officially bowl eligible as well.

Quite a few Hawkeyes have had their hands in the mix helping create this winning streak, but there are a few that are seeing their stock rising as we continue down the final stretch of the season.

One honorable mention is whoever played “Jump Around” in Kinnick following the game to really let Wisconsin know who won the rivalry.

Stock Rising: Cooper DeJean's All-American case

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

This was the Cooper DeJean game. What a game from the defensive back. From starting things off with a pick-six to stamp his mark on the game, to sparking the momentum with solid punt returns, DeJean did it all.

There is no reason DeJean should not be in the conversation for All-Big Ten, Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year, and an All-American. He has done it all for this defense and his case is only getting stronger.

Stock Falling: Iowa's offensive rhythm

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

On a day that ultimately saw the Hawkeyes pull out a victory, the offense did struggle. Granted Wisconsin has been performing well on defense, there was something left to be desired.

A day of 94 passing yards at 4.1 yards per attempt and 52 rushing yards at 1.2 yards per attempt is rarely going to cut it. The rhythm that Iowa had against Northwestern and Purdue will be needed in the final two weeks of the season.

That said, credit is due that the Hawkeyes offense did get points when given short fields. That proved to be incredibly important and they delivered when it mattered.

Stock Rising: Levar Woods' coaching trajectory

Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Levar Woods is going to get a shot to be a big time coach, it is just a matter of where and when, not if. He has the Hawkeyes’ special teams unit as one of the best in the country.

Yesterday saw a myriad of great special teams plays. Woods had punt returns set up that resulted in 82 punt return yards, with a long of 41. He helped the field position battle.

Woods also sent his unit after a punt in the second quarter that resulted in Deontae Craig blocking it. Also in the punt game, Woods has his gunners taught well as they downed a punt at Wisconsin’s own 1-yard line. This unit is excelling and making a difference.

Stock Falling: Iowa's wide receiver production

Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

On a day where passing success was hard to come by, the Iowa wide receivers did not have much opportunity to have an impact. This isn’t really a knock on the receiver group as there were only 94 total passing yards on 14 completions to go around.

The wide receiver group combined for six catches and 40 yards. Getting this group of athletes going in Nico Ragaini, Arland Bruce IV, Brody Brecht, and Diante Vines could really help this offense.

Stock Rising: The Hawkeyes defensive line

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Deontae Craig. Joe Evans. Lukas Van Ness. Logan Lee. Noah Shannon. John Waggoner. This group is feasting on opponents and did it again this week.

The group combined for 15 tackles, four sacks, six tackles for loss, and constant pressure on Wisconsin’s Graham Mertz all day forcing him into two interceptions and a completion percentage of just 45.7%.

Stock Falling: Kick returns in general

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

This is more so a play that is going the way of the dinosaur. The Hawkeyes employed an interesting strategy, one I was largely in favor of. They had zero kick returns. They simply fair caught every single kickoff to start at the 25-yard line, not risk a turnover, and not expose themselves to any penalties.

Wisconsin had just four kickoff returns averaging only 12.8 yards per return. That is due to Iowa’s swarming coverage but is a telling sign that the once momentum-changing kickoff return could be nearing extinction.

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Story originally appeared on Hawkeyes Wire