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NCAA Football Big 10 FootballIowa Hawkeyes

Iowa Hawkeyes Football: RB Mark Weisman an Important Player on Offense for 2013

Mark Weisman Iowa Hawkeyes

Mike DiNova – USA TODAY Sports

The Iowa Hawkeyes struggled on offense last season, finishing among the worst in the nation in both rushing yards and passing yards per game. If things are going to turn around this season, running back Mark Weisman, who burst on the scene last year, will need to take a lead role out of the Iowa backfield.

Weisman was called upon last season when the injury bug bit Iowa running backs Damon Bullock and Greg Garmon in the third game of the year against Northern Iowa. Weisman, who began as a walk-on fullback, took full advantage of his opportunity, rushing for 113 yards and three touchdowns.

He showed that he was more than capable of handling the rushing duties for the Hawkeyes as the featured back. His followed up his breakout performance by rushing for 217 yards and three touchdowns the next week.

Weisman went on to rush the ball 159 times for 815 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. Despite his production, the Hawkeyes were still last in the Big Ten Conference, averaging just 123 rushing yards per game.

One knock on Weisman is that all eight of his touchdowns and the majority of his yards came during a stretch of four games. He failed to find the end zone or crack the century mark in the other six contests he appeared in.

This year, the rushing game will need to improve and play a big part if Iowa hopes to find any success. Quarterback James Vandenberg, the only player to throw a pass for the Hawkeyes last year, is no longer around. There are currently three inexperienced guys battling to win the starting job at Iowa for 2013.

Due to the inexperience under center, Weisman is a huge key for Iowa this season. He’s a big-bodied, strong runner who can wear down defenses with his running style.

Though a healthy Bullock will be around to take carries, Weisman seems to have the most upside and should make the biggest impact for the Iowa offense.

Barry Leonard Jr. is  a Big 10 Football Writer for RantSports.com.  Follow him on Twitter @barryleonardjr,“Like”  him on Facebook or add  him to your network on Google.