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Commentary: Can't Hyde the truth, Micah can play

BY SAM LOUWAGIE | OCTOBER 15, 2012 6:30 AM

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EAST LANSING, MICH. — The Hawkeyes could not afford to play without Micah Hyde.

The senior cornerback got the wind knocked out of him when a Michigan State player landed on him in the final minute of regulation on Oct. 13. He stayed on the ground for more than a minute, and the rulebook dictated that Hyde needed to miss the next play.

But the Spartans were trying to move down the field to win the game, and Hawkeye coach Kirk Ferentz couldn’t give them a play without his top cover man on the field. Ferentz called a time-out so he wouldn’t have to miss a play. On the next snap, Hyde blanketed a receiver all the way to the sideline as a pass flew out of bounds.

Hyde has been doing it all season. Opposing teams have simply avoided throwing deep on him for most of the year. And as Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker said on Oct. 2, “If I was a quarterback, I’d do the same thing.”

We found out why this weekend, when the Spartans tried to beat Hyde deep for at least three passes.

He swatted them all down, including one twisting, midair deflection that saved a sure touchdown.

Safety Tom Donatell and backup cornerback Greg Castillo have 2 interceptions each. Linebackers James Morris and Anthony Hitchens rack up ridiculous tackle totals every week. Defensive end Joe Gaglione has four sacks.

Those numbers earn deserved acclaim. Hyde, meanwhile, has spent much of the season shadowing opposing receivers. And removing them entirely from a play doesn’t lend itself to many interception opportunities — the senior hasn’t picked off a pass this season.

So Hyde’s play wasn’t garnering enough attention even before his public-intoxication arrest on Oct. 6.

That arrest finally put him in the spotlight but for the wrong reasons. The top five results on a Google search for Hyde’s name are related to it. Hyde’s loss of captaincy — but not of eligibility for the Michigan State game — was last week’s top Hawkeye football headline.

This was a single incident that, as Ferentz said on Oct. 9, “is not unique to anybody in the student body.” It didn’t outweigh his three years of good behavior enough to earn him a suspension.

It would be a shame if it obscured what was so plain on the field in Spartan Stadium: Hyde is an outstanding player who is doing everything in his power to help keep the Hawkeyes in games.  

That was clear in the way Iowa needed to burn a time-out just to keep him on the field in the fourth quarter. It’s reflected in Iowa’s fourth-best-in-the-conference defense.

Just maybe not in his personal stats.

“[Castillo] was teasing me a little bit, saying he’s up two picks on me now,” Hyde said. “He can get up six on me. I won’t care, as long as we keep winning.”


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