After an ugly first half of football, at least offensively, the Iowa Hawkeyes put it together and the Heartland Trophy is back where it belongs. Let’s take a look at how the Hawks graded out offensively and defensively against Bucky.
Spencer Petras ended the day with the following stat line: 14/25 211 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT. Petras connected on a few balls downfield, and he continues to throw the ball with more touch when needed. I was tempted to give Big Spence an A-, but I’d like to see a completion percentage higher than 56%. Petras is making strides and that is all we can ask for.
This one was tricky for me. At the end of the day, Iowa put together solid numbers out of the running back position. A huge chunk of this came on Tyler Goodson’s 80 yard breakaway score. Goodson finished with 106 yards and Mekhi Sargent added 57 yards on the ground.
It was a relatively quiet day from Iowa’s receiving corps with the exception of the Hawks finally hitting a big play. Ihmir Smith-Marsette had himself a day catching 7 balls for 140 yards and 2 TD’s. Unfortunately, I S-M probably flipped himself out of playing one more time in Kinnick Stadium. Next man in. Typically injuries aren’t self-inflicted, but I S-M’s flip will give others more snaps to Tracy and Jones. Iowa’s tight ends were taken out of the passing game; Sam LaPorta had one catch for 11 yards.
This was another tough grade. Iowa allowed two Petras sacks. The first half was abysmal with the Hawks running 18 times for just 25 yards. The second half was much better. The stats are skewed a bit with Tyler Goodson’s 80 yard scamper. The Hawkeyes could sell tickets for people to watch Tyler Linderbaum sprinting downfield keeping pace with Tyler Goodson.
Iowa’s defensive line accounted for 19 tackles. Chauncey Golston and Daviyon Nixon both played terrific games. That’s what we’ve come to expect from them. How nice is that? Zach VanValkenburg and Jack Heflin also continue to have tremendous seasons.
Wisconsin, despite being down a starting running back, is still Wisconsin. The Badgers ran for only 56 yards on the day. Nick Niemann (8 tackles, .5 TFL, and 1 fumble recovery) continues to have a nose for the ball, Jack Campbell (4 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT, and 3 pass breakups) was everywhere, and Seth Benson had 4 tackles, 1 sack, and 1.5 TFL.
Graham Mertz never looked very comfortable. I would guess Phil Parker takes great pleasure in this. Matt Hankins, Riley Moss, Dane Belton, Jack Koerner, and Kaevon Merriweather continue to give Iowa an excellent secondary that does not give up big plays.
Special Teams: C
Keith Duncan continues to do Keith Duncan things. He made field goals from 30 and 45 yards. This game was a punt fest for a while. Tory Taylor averaged 42.1 yards per punt, slightly below his average on the season. Taylor’s illegal kicking penalty was basically a turnover, and Charlie Jones muffed a punt. Two turnovers out of the special teams can’t happen, thus the grade.