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Iowa Football Position Grades: Wisconsin

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So that was.... not fun.

Iowa v Iowa State
Fullback dive or fullback dive?
Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images

It’s a funny thing. It’s very enjoyable typing up Hawkeye articles after wins. After losses. Nope. After terrible losses. Whoa, Nellie! I know that if you are reading this, Sundays after losses feel the same way to you. That was an epic fail offensively unlike anything we have seen in two weeks. The positive is that I already know how many points I will predict we score next week against Northwestern. Seven. Lucky 7. Thanks to JP for covering for me last week while I was away. Anyway, let’s get to this week’s report card.

Offense

QB: F

First, a caveat. Iowa’s offensive line is offensive (more on this later). On the day Spencer Petras was not good. He did have a few balls dropped. His numbers were poor. He was 9 of 19 for 93 yards. He purposely fired a 4th down pass out of bounds. He did rush for a one yard touchdown. His immobility is not ideal with Iowa’s sieve-like offensive line. Alex Padilla came in during garbage time. He was 3 of 6 for 39 yards. With our offensive line you can’t help but wonder if Padilla would do a better job of eluding the onslaught of defenders and making something out of nothing than Petras. To Petras’ credit he is taking a beating this year and he keeps getting up. Padilla being a smaller guy might not take those hits. This is why Brian Ferentz is making the big bucks to make such decisions.

RB: D-

First, a caveat (see above). Tyler Goodson ran 13 times for 27 yards (2.1). He caught one ball and dropped another. There wasn’t much running room for Iowa’s backs. Ivory Kelly-Martin (great Hawk) gave the ball back to Bucky after an incredible goal-line stand by Iowa’s defense. Gavin Williams should get every carry when TGood needs a breather. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

WR: D

Same as above. This was not a good day statistically for Iowa’s wideouts. Five different Hawkeyes caught passes. Keagan Johnson had an incredible 12 yard run.

Nico Ragaini had 3 catches for 35 yards. Johnson caught two for 27 yards, including a drop that would have been a nice gain. Charlie Jones, Arland Bruce IV, and Tyrone Tracy all caught one pass each.

TE: C

Sam LaPorta hauled in 3 passes for 44 yards. Luke Lachey did not have any targets. Maybe Iowa needs to go back to utilizing more two tight end sets to help with blocking if nothing else. This Iowa offense is lacking an identity.

OL: F-

I wrote prior to the season that Iowa had to replace two tackles and that it would be a struggle up front. Iowa may have one of the top 3 players in all of college football in center Tyler Linderbaum, but our guards have underwhelmed this year. Our young, inexperienced tackles, have looked like they hate our quarterbacks. Iowa’s new offensive line coach, George Barnett, has gotten a free pass up to this point. I’m not sure why that is. Without being an insider it’s hard to know the differences between Tim Polasek and Barnett, but it feels like some returning players have regressed. It was the hope of all Iowa fans that after the Purdue debacle, Iowa’s offensive line would make strides. Granted, Wisconsin’s defense is pretty salty, but Iowa made them look like the ‘85 Bears.

Defense

DL: C-/D+

It was a pretty quiet day statistically for Iowa’s defensive line. The Hawks had a terrific goal line stand.

I bumped the grade up because of this. I initially rated this unit lower as Iowa never sacked Graham Mertz nor did they collect a quarterback hurry. Noah Shannon led this group with 5 tackles on the day, Logan Lee had 4, and Yahya Black had 3. Zach VanValkenburg collected 2 tackles while John Waggoner collected one tackle. The Hawks need more from their defensive ends. The Badgers rushed for 166 yards (3.5 yard average).

LB: C

Jack Campbell had a nice day with 9 tackles and 1 pass break up. Seth Benson chipped in with 7 tackles, and Jestin Jacobs had 3 tackles with one pass break up. Wisconsin set up the play action pass very well with their solid run game.

DB/Cash: B

The Hawkeyes were without starting cornerback Riley Moss for the second straight game. Also, backup Terry Roberts did not play due to injury. Jermari Harris filled in admirably, collecting 7 tackles including 6 solo tackles. Jack Koerner had himself a game with 11 tackles (9 solos). Matt Hankins had 1 pass break up and 4 tackles. Graham Mertz started out pretty hot but Iowa’s back end helped slow things down. Mertz finished the day 11 of 22 for 104 yards.

Special Teams: B

Tory Taylor punted the ball 7 times for a terrific average of 49 yards. He placed 3 punts inside the 20, and his one touch back was nearly downed inside the one. Charlie Jones had almost 100 yards (99) in return yards. Caleb Shudak hit his one extra point. A big story was that Charlie Jones was not back on a kickoff and a punt. On the punt he was out for Max Cooper muffed a punt. Thus the lower grade. Cooper was back there as he is a veteran. Hindsight is 20/20 but if Jones can’t return a punt I’d like to see Arland Bruce IV, Keagan Johnson, or Cooper DeJean back there.

Next Up: Northwestern

Iowa’s offense has become (okay, 20 years) the idea of hoping to not make mistakes. We have been successful, no doubt. To take the next step, I’d like to see us be the attacker. Rant over. As always, Go Hawks!