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Iowa Football Position Grades: Kent State

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The Hawks won by 23. Progress noted on offense.

NCAA Football: Middle Tennessee at Iowa
TGood=TGreat!
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

After playing the cupcake part of their schedule (Iowa State), the Hawkeyes faced a formidable opponent in Kent State. Iowa prevailed 30-7. Jack Campbell forced a fumble at the goal line; if it weren’t for this, the game would have looked/felt much closer than the final score. Of course Iowa’s defense scored. I can’t remember the last time a Hawkeye defense has scored 3 games in a row. The Hawks will try to make it 4 against Colorado State.

Offense

QB: C+

I asked my fellow BHGP writers what letter grade they would give to Spencer Petras. The consensus was a “C” with another that said, “Haha, you don’t want to know my grade!” On the day, Petras was 25-36, 209 yards, and 1 TD. The overturned Tracy catch is one of those situations where you have a replay official who must be on a date and they get the call to review a play. Said replay official to his/her/their date, “You want to be impressed? Watch this. I’m going to overturn this nice completion from Iowa’s Spencer Petras to Tyrone Tracy, Jr. Yes, I know it was a catch, but I’m all-powerful. How you like me now?!?” Spencer did not turn the ball over. The Hawks won. I’d love to give him a B-, I’m still holding out for a little bit more, however, before #7 gets in the B column.

RB: A+ (Goodson and Gavin Williams) / D (IK-M)

A shoutout to BHGP’s own Boilerhawk for the split grade. I typically lump them together. After Tyler Goodson’s big day, I didn’t want to downgrade his accomplishment. Goodson had a huge day with 153 yards and 3 TD’s. A hefty 7.0 yard average. Brian Ferentz deserves some credit for a few of these big chunks. Goodson’s first touchdown of 46 yards was one of the easiest runs I’ve ever seen.

Ivory Kelly-Martin put the ball on the floor two times with the Hawks losing one. IK-M is a talented back and terrific team leader, but the football is gold. This opened the door for Gavin Williams. Williams looked good on his 4 carries for 17 yards, also catching 3 balls for 14 yards. Williams has probably leapfrogged Kelly-Martin.

WR: B-

It appeared that Iowa tried to target Tyrone Tracy, Jr. a little more than in the previous two games. Tracy caught 5 balls for 43 yards. Yes, he should have had 6 catches and about 53 yards; that was a catch. Nico Ragaini caught 4 balls for 54 yards. It was nice to see Arland Bruce IV and Keagan Johnson getting some targets. The Hawks will need these two to get up to speed by the time we play the likes of Penn State, Wisconsin, etc... Charlie Jones was targeted twice with no catches. Petras seems to struggle throwing to guys not named LaPorta, at least anecdotally or using the eyeball test.

TE: A

Sam LaPorta had himself a day. LaPorta was targetted 7 times and caught all 7 balls. He had 65 yards and a TD. LaPorta is definitely Spencer Petras’ security blanket. They kind of have a Step Brothers vibe to them on the field.

Spencer and Sam are super-close.

It’s nice to have, but hopefully Big Spence starts to develop that chemistry/confidence in some wideouts.

OL: A-

This could very well be an A, but I have the highest of expectations for an Iowa offensive line. The Hawks gained 206 yards on the ground (5.4 average) and didn’t allow a sack. That’s a good day at the office. The Hawkeyes got Kyler Schott back so that should help solidify things going forward. The Hawks continue to average about 5 yards every QB sneak. Now that is Iowa football!

Defense

DL: A

In the summer I wrote about how I expected our defensive line would go through some growing pains. Our defensive line accumulated 6.5 sacks against Kent State on Saturday. Lukas Van Ness seemed to be everywhere, collecting 7 tackles and 2 sacks. Joe Evans, Zach VanValkenburg, and John Waggoner also consistently made plays. What I thought to be a weakness could end up being a strength. I like it. Here’s a bad snap and a plethora (Three Amigos shoutout) of Hawkeyes converging on the ball. Someone should edit this clip with the audio of a goat screaming. QB Dustin Crum probably had his life flash before his eyes there.

LB: A-

Another day another “A” for Iowa’s linebackers. Jack Campbell had 11 tackles and the forced fumble on the goal line. Jestin Jacobs collected 8 stops, and Seth Benson had 5. This is as solid of a linebacking corps the Hawks have had in some time. It is reminiscent of the Anthony Hitchens, Christian Kirksey days.

DB/CASH: B+

The Hawkeyes held a good offensive team to 7 points. Iowa’s back end played well, but not quite to the level of the previous two games. At times it appeared that the Hawks were looking for the big play (jumping a route) instead of playing solid, Iowa football. Coach Ferentz referenced this a few times as well. Kent State connected on a few big plays. They are a nice offensive football team with a big-time quarterback. A game that is not up to par that gets a B+? Yes, please.

Special Teams: A-

Caleb Shudak was 4 for 4 on extra points. Tory Taylor hit 5 punts for an average of 47.6 yards, including 2 inside the twenty. Taylor also had a beauty that hit the pylon that was oh-so-close. Terry Roberts is as fun to watch on special teams as any Hawkeye in recent years. He flies around, hits, and has fun. Roberts will be a star next year in the secondary. The minus comes from the Hawkeyes taking a delay of game penalty and then running a fake field goal. Tory Taylor of course threw a strike for a completion, but the play should have been designed to go past the first down sticks. It didn’t hurt us, and Iowa’s opponents the past few years have had to game prep for Iowa exotics (Coach Fry-ism) on special teams.