The recent curse that has recently been put on running backs at the University of Iowa has struck again.

CBS Sports is reporting that Hawkeyes running back Barkley Hill has torn his ACL during the team's practice on Saturday. He will have reconstructive surgery next week.

Head coach Kirk Ferentz confirmed what was already known.

“Barkley Hill’s knee injury during Saturday’s practice will require ACL reconstruction surgery later this week.”

The curse or bad omen I’m referring to is called ”AIRBHG,” which stands for the Angry Iowa Running Back Hating God, which first surfaced in 2001 with an injury to Ladell Betts. Since that moment, here is a rundown -- courtesy of Hawkeye Nation --  of bad things, or omens, that have happened to the Iowa running backs.

1) Ladell Betts, after logging hundreds of carries over his first three seasons which do not result in a winning record, makes it through his ‘payoff’ senior year only to miss his final game, due to injury. This is the first time where AIRBHG strikes, but it’s unattributable due to it being the first occurrence.
2) Replacement Aaron Greving rushes for over 100 yards in the Alamo Bowl, raising expectations for 2002.

1) Greving, the projected starter is injured and abruptly quits mid way through the season.
2) Justice Hariston fails to qualify, goes to prep school and then to Purdue where he has a decent, injury free, career.
3) Jermelle Lewis has a very good year backing up Fred Russell; AIRBHG takes note.
4) Russell has one of the most productive rushing seasons in Iowa history

1) Lewis tears ACL in the spring, misses first half of season but is not the same back upon his return
2) Promising freshman Albert Young breaks leg on kickoff return, out for year.
3) AJ Johnson lasts a semester before getting kicked out.
4) Russell escapes the wrath of AIRBHG, likely due to his being 5-feet-6 inches tall and hiding behind gargantuan Left Tackle Robert Gallery
5) Champ Davis starts at fullback for Iowa in season opening win against Miami, becoming the first true freshman to start on offense under Kirk Ferentz at Iowa. AIRBHG is not amused and takes note.

1) Shonn Greene fails to qualify out of high school
2) Russell leaves early for the NFL, thumbs nose at AIRBHG. However, he goes undrafted
3) In a move designed to confuse AIRBHG, Champ Davis moves from fullback to tight end during 2004 spring practice before moving back to fullback during the season
4) Lewis tears other ACL
5) Albert Young tears ACL misses second full season.
6) Marques Simmons misses several games with a high ankle sprain
7) Marcus Schnoor tears ACL
8) Champ Davis misses final four games of 2004 due to injury
9) Sam Brownlee leads Iowa in rushing with 227 yards.
NOTE: Iowa overcomes AIRBHG and shares the Big Ten title with Michigan, despite one of the worst rushing attacks in college football. Iowa finishes the year 10-2 after a 2-2 start, concluding with Drew Tate hitting Warren Holloway as time expired on a bomb in the 2005 Capital One Bowl. AIRBHG attempted to influence the outcome in this one by distorting Offensive Coordinator Ken O’Keefe and Head Coach Kirk Ferentz’s clock awareness, but the players were able to rise above and emerge victorious. However, AIRBHG is unamused.

1) Ferentz tricks AIRBHG by briefly moving Damian Sims to corner. As of 2012, Sims remains is the only scholarship running back to go four years without a major injury.

1) Kalvin Bailey – flunked out after one year
2) Corey Robertson – flunked out after one year
3) Albert Young, having sacrificed two years to AIRBHG, is rewarded with a complete season in which he gains over 1,000 rushing in conference play alone. He remains the last scholarship Iowa running back to reach his senior season while still enrolled at the University of Iowa.

1) Shonn Greene ineligible
2) Dana Brown assaults girlfriend and is kicked off the team during the great purge of ’07.

1) Jevon Pugh – left school after one year
2) Jeff Brinson – injured and redshirts
3) Nate Guillory, a Juco transfer, leaves in fall camp. Rumors abound that he saw an apparition resembling AIRBHG whilst chanting ‘Bloody Mary’ in the football training room with the lights off and left town without bringing along any of his personal effects. This is unconfirmed, however.
4) Paki O’Meara #2 on depth chart throughout season.
5) Greene, having surrendered two years to AIRBHG, is rewarded with the best season running the ball in Iowa history and wins the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top running back.

1) Just days into 2009, Greene comes across a collection of long lost Irish sayings which includes ‘May you be in the NFL one season before AIRBHG knows you’re out of Iowa City’ and decides to turn professional with one year of eligibility remaining. He is presently unharmed and walks without the aid of crutches or a knee brace.
2) Jewel Hampton tears ACL in fall camp
3) Brinson still injured has one carry
4) Adam Robinson and Brandon Wegher do a nice job but usually one or both is hobbled
5) Paki again a staple on depth chart. Rumors suggesting Paki was a frequent visitor to the Black Angel in an Iowa City cemetery are as of yet unfounded.

1) Brinson leaves before spring ball
2) Wegher chooses not to play football for Iowa following an 11-2, Orange Bowl winning season.
3) Marcus Coker – breaks collarbone in August camp
4) Hampton – torn ACL by game three, transfers prior to bowl
5) Robinson – concussions, then academics, not in good standing, then marijuana arrest, kicked off team
6) Paki apparently also injured.
7) Brad Rogers misses 2010 Insight Bowl with heart condition

1. Mika’il McCall was the talk of camp and goes off in the first quarter of the first game, then suffers a broken ankle after nine carries
2. Rogers misses the first half of the season with the heart condition, then is cleared to play
3. McCall is cleared to play but doesn’t see action against Minnesota and Michigan. Gets two carries at Purdue, fumbles and is benched. Suspended for the season shortly thereafter for undisclosed reasons
4. Coker somehow escapes AIRBHG for the regular season, but is suspended for the 2011 Insight Bowl for a violation of the student code.
5. Jordan Canzeri starts and plays well in bowl game, AIRBHG notices.
NOTE: Hampton has a breakout year for Southern Illinois, gaining 1,121 yards and scoring 17 touchdowns. He elects to turn professional with one year of eligibility remaining.

This year alone, the Hawkeyes have dealt with the loss of four running backs for a myriad of reasons. Marcus Coker was dismissed for several arrests. Mika’il McCall transferred. Jordan Canzeri tore his ACL. De’Andre Johnson was dismissed for legal issues as well.

Iowa’s only healthy running back, which was Greg Garmon, was arrested earlier this year for marijuana possession. Garmon will have to carry the load this season for the Hawkeyes and God forbid he goes down.

No pun intended.

Photo Credit: Cedar Rapids Gazette 

Glenn Erby is a NFL writer for FootBasket. He also owns the NFL blog, Tha Cover 2. You can read more about him over there. Follow him on Twitter @thacover2.


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