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Iowa Football Position Grades: Michigan

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The sun came out today (sort of); on to a bowl game!

Iowa QB Spencer Petras
Brian Ray

After a 42-3 drubbing it’s hard to come away with many positives. Iowa looked terrific very early on. The Hawks got a stop on Michigan’s first series and moved the ball on offense. An oh-so-close pass from running back Gavin Williams to fullback Monte Pottebaum was overthrown, and Mr. Automatic Caleb Shudak missed a field goal from 33 yards. After that Iowa’s defense fought valiantly, despite giving up a few big plays, the Hawkeyes’ special teams were bad, and Iowa’s offense remained in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes did not get it done on the big stage. That Michigan team beats us 9 12 times out of 10. Maybe 10/10. Oh well. On to the grades.

Offense

QB: D

Spencer Petras was efficient early on. Here are two nice throws to LaPorta and Jones.

He took a big hit on a nice scramble; how that wasn’t targeting is beyond me, and after that he seemed to struggle. Petras gave way to Alex Padilla in the second half. Petras was 9 of 22 for 137 yards. Padilla was 10 of 15 for 38 yards and one interception. With Deuce Hogan leaving the program, the door was potentially cracked open for Joey Labas. I am a fan and I love our Hawks, but neither Petras nor Padilla is the answer. Brian Ferentz isn’t doing anyone any favors with his play calling. The younger Ferentz’s grade would be an F unfortunately. My hot/bad take? Give Labas the reins for the next month and the bowl game. It is more of a Madden strategy than running a program, but let’s see what we have. I’m mostly kidding here. That game beat the common sense out of me.

RB: C

Michigan’s defense is pretty salty. Tyler Goodson and Gavin Williams took their lunch pail to work with them Saturday night. Goodson rushed 18 times for 50 yards (2.8) and Williams rushed 12 times for 56 yards (4.7). Both backs were utilized in the passing game. Goodson caught 6 passes for 28 yards while Williams was targeted twice with one catch. Here was an excellent run that shows Williams’ north/south, powerful running style.

WR: D

It was never going to be a game where Iowa’s wide receivers were going to catch a ton of balls against the Wolverines. Michigan’s pass rush necessitated quicker, shorter passes. Charlie Jones caught two balls for 41 yards. Arland Bruce IV caught two passes and Keagan Johnson caught just one pass. Johnson was interfered with on one of his deep targets. Nico Ragaini was thrown to once; he was held without a catch.

TE: B+

Sam LaPorta has made a resurgence the last few games for the Hawkeyes. He caught six passes for 62 yards. He looked good after the catch as well. Luke Lachey caught one ball for 22 yards.

OL: C+

Michigan’s defensive line is the best Iowa has faced in years. It was quite a feat for Iowa’s offensive line to give up only one sack on the day. Iowa rushed for 104 yards (3.2 average). As I stated these numbers are acceptable against that defense. Tyler Linderbaum is more than likely going to be a first round draft choice. If he opts to come back, he should get Heisman consideration (he wouldn’t get it, but we can dream). Either way, I expect Iowa’s offensive line to be much improved next year. The Hawks’ inexperienced guys received a great deal of on- the-job training this season.

Defense

DL: C

Iowa’s defense did a nice job of defending Michigan running back Hassan Haskins. Against Ohio State Haskins had 169 yards with five touchdowns. He ran the ball 17 times for 56 yards and 2 TD’s against the Hawkeyes. Iowa’s first line of defenders accumulated 18 tackles on the day. They played physical football against an excellent offensive line. Logan Lee, Noah Shannon, Lukas Van Ness, and Deontae Craig each collected three tackles apiece. Zach VanValkenburg had 2 tackles including one TFL. John Waggoner ended the day with three quarterback hurries. None of the Hawkeyes’ defensive linemen collected a sack.

LB: C

Michigan had one big play on the ground, while the game was in question, on a terrific 67 yard touchdown run by Blake Corum. Other than that Iowa did an adequate job of making the Wolverines fight for their yardage. Seth Benson led Iowa’s linebackers with six tackles. He had one TFL and one QBH. Jack Campbell, the number one priority for Michigan’s scouting report, collected five tackles. Michigan did everything possible to get a hat on Iowa’s star linebacker. Campbell had 1 QBH and had a terrific interception.

Jestin Jacobs had one tackle on the day.

DB/Cash: C+

It was a meh day for Iowa’s defensive backs. Jack Koerner will be a big loss if he elects to move on to the NFL next year. He is always around the football. Koerner had eight tackles on the day. Kaevon Merriweather had a quality game with six tackles and a pass breakup. Riley Moss had five tackles. Jermari Harris had 3 tackles including 1 TFL. Harris also hauled in an interception on a Hail Mary attempt to end the first half. The Hawks dodged a bullet on that one as Michigan’s receiver got behind Iowa’s defenders.

Special Teams: D

You know things are bad when Iowa’s special teams struggle. The only positive was Tory Taylor’s 47.3 yard average on seven punts. Michigan got close to blocking a punt a number of times and later they were successful in doing so. Charlie Jones lost six yards on his two punt returns. Caleb Shudak hit a field goal from 22 yards and missed one from 33.

Up Next: Let’s Go Bowling

At the time of this writing it looks like the Hawkeyes may go to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida, and play Kentucky, led by former Hawkeye Mark Stoops. A few years ago Iowa’s offense against USC in the Holiday Bowl looked like a different animal. Brian Ferentz showed some creativity in that game. Let’s run that back. This squad has a chance to win eleven football games. Before the season I predicted we would go 7-5 not including a bowl game. Despite the abomination against Michigan, it has been a great season. It’s great to be a Hawkeye. As always, Go Hawks!