The Iowa Hawkeyes are headed back to Indianapolis for the first time since 2015. It still feels strange to say, or type, out loud. After surging to #2 in the country after an exhilarating win over top-5 Penn State in week six, it’s been a roller coaster of a ride for Hawkeye fans complete with a two game losing streak to nearly knock Iowa out of the top-25 altogether and a quarterback change that seemed to spark new life in the offense.
It still took outside help and a change back to the previous starter to escape with a comeback win over Nebraska and the Big Ten West title, but here we are: watching the Hawkeyes play for a Big Ten title. But after the events of Black Friday, many a Hawkeye fan are wondering what to make of the quarterback battle in Iowa City.
On Monday afternoon, we got out answer as the Hawkeyes released their depth chart for the Big Ten Championship Game.
- Let’s get right to it: Spencer Petras is your starter. This frankly isn’t a huge surprise and I’ll take yet another opportunity to remind everyone that these depth charts are a reflection of how the game ended rather than how they’ll start next week. BUT it certainly feels like we’re back to Petras as the starter. Whether that means a reversion to the playbook we saw with him previously, inclusive of virtually no play-action and consistently running into stuffed boxes without any creativity, remains to be seen. Probably yes. Huzzah.
- There are no new names listed this week and no other changes to mention, but it’s worth calling out that a few of the guys recently banged up did play last week and remain on the depth chart this week. That includes Jack Koerner at safety, who played 59 snaps a week ago. However Terry Roberts and Matt Hankins are still out. Hankins is expected to miss this week with a hamstring injury while Roberts remains up in the air with a bone bruise.
- On offense, Mason Richman is listed as the backup left tackle this week but did start there against Nebraska. He played 39 snaps but wasn’t in much down the stretch so that’s a name to monitor this week. Beside him, Cody Ince played 18 snaps last week and is still listed as your backup left guard.
That’s really all there is this week. On the other sideline, there is no depth chart for the Wolverines. Jim Harbaugh in true Jim Harbaugh fashion does not release a depth chart because why would you?
We’ll continue to get more tidbits on player availability throughout the week as both coaches address the media. Don’t expect too much from either side, but perhaps we’ll get more clarity on how Iowa will approach the game in terms of Padilla playing as part of the plan vs. only as a result of injury.
Iowa and Michigan are set to face off in the Big Ten Championship Game from Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis on Saturday at 7pm CT. The game will be televised on FOX.