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Former Iowa S Dane Belton recovers opening kickoff fumble, propels Giants over Panthers

Dane Belton is the latest Hawkeye DB to make an immediate impact in their rookie NFL season, helping propel the NY Giants to their first 2-0 start since 2016.
Credit: AP
New York Giants' Dane Belton, right, tackles Carolina Panthers' Ian Thomas during the first half an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants rookie safety and former Iowa Hawkeye star DB Dane Belton made a big impression in his first career NFL snap on Sunday, Sept. 18. 

In his debut, Belton recovered an opening kickoff Chubba Hubbard fumble to give the Giants the ball at the Panthers' 22-yard line. The fumble recovery led to a 36-yard Graham Gano field goal which proved to be crucial, as the Giants narrowly defeated the Panthers, 19-16. You can watch the play here:

The fumble recovery was only the start of an outstanding professional debut for Belton. Listed on the Giants' depth chart as the backup for both safety positions, he tallied five solo tackles which ranked second among all Giants.

Despite breaking his collarbone just seven weeks ago, the rookie DB is one of just three safeties that the Giants listed on their 53-man opening day roster.

In July, the 2022 fourth-round draft pick signed a four-year deal worth $4.583 million, with a $935,882 signing bonus, according to Sports Illustrated.

The 2021 first-team All-Big Ten defensive back played in 30 career games for the Hawkeyes from 2019 to 2021. He had a career season in 2021, tallying 46 total tackles, three tackles for loss, five interceptions and seven pass deflections. 

In three seasons at Iowa, Belton logged 112 total tackles, 69 solo tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and five interceptions. In games which he played, he helped lead the Hawkeyes to a 23-7 record.

Also of note, former Hawkeye and pro-bowl long snapper Casey Kreiter contributed heavily on special teams, snapping all four Giants' four field goals to help pave the way for their first 2-0 start since 2016.

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