The Iowa football team is looking to reassert its dominance in the Big Ten. Kirk Ferentz’s program won their division but got demolished in the conference title game by Michigan. As they look to get the 2022 season started against South Dakota State, the Hawkeyes will have to do so without running back Gavin Williams.

Chad Leistikow of the Des Moines Register reports that Williams is dealing with an ankle injury and is not expected to play in Iowa’s season opener at Kinnick Stadium. Leshon Williams, Kaleb Johnson and Jaziun Patterson will be the backfield options for the Hawkeyes against the Jackrabbits.

Live and breathe sports?

🚨 Get viral graphics, memes, rumors and trending sports news delivered right to your inbox with the Clutch Newsletter.

As a redshirt freshman last season for Iowa football, Williams was the key backup for 1,000-yard rusher Tyler Goodson, who is now on the Green Bay Packers practice squad. Williams rushed for 305 yards on 65 attempts in 11 games last season. He is slated to be the top option behind Spencer Petras but will have to wait for at least one game to see his first taste of action as a starter.

According to Steve Batterson of the Quad-City Times, Gavin Williams understands his role is now as a leader, so he should still be helpful for the offense as Iowa begins its season. “I’m not the young guy anymore. The guys I looked up to for leadership and advice, they’re gone,” Williams said, via the Quad-City Times. “Now, I’m that guy. Instead of asking questions, I’m doing my best to answer them.”

Iowa football ended the season ranked 23rd in the AP Poll but is looking to return to the top 10 for good in 2022. After being ranked as high as no.2 and then suffering a brutal upset from Purdue, the Hawkeyes will look to finish the job this season.