Ramon Ochoa was one of the key ingredients in Iowa’s run to the Outback Bowl. With standout receiver Mo Brown sidelined for much of the season with an ankle injury, Ochoa — a senior from Maywood, California, — picked up the slack and led the team in receptions with 33 and also set an Iowa recvord for punt return yards. It almost didn’t happen. Ochoa played the entire season with a stress fracture in his foot that was diagnosed during pre-season drills. Ochoa could have had surgery and come back next season, but he graduated this month and decided he wanted to see how long he could play on it. Ochoa says he struggled with the injury every week. Ochoa says if you came out to a practice on Wednesday, you might not have seen him take a snap, but he says “it seemed to work on Saturdays.” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says at time he wondered how Ochoa was going to play from week-to-week. Ferentz says Ochoa looked like “a dog with arthritis on the practice field” but was able to make it work on game days. Ochoa and the rest of the Hawkeyes take on Florida in Thursday’s Outback Bowl.
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