There is a great deal of parity in college football; probably more this year than in years past even. Iowa’s football team is a good football team. I would not consider them great. Iowa does not have the type of team that can show up and win by 30. We’re not built that way. Our defense and special teams will lead us, and our offense needs to play mistake-free football and hit on some nice plays for us to win. That happened, eventually, on Saturday against a motivated Colorado State team. Let’s get into the position grades for our 4-0 Hawkeyes.
I did it. Ok, actually Spencer Petras did it. He moved the needle past a “C” grade. Petras did turn the ball over in a very pivotal 14 point swing. I thought the play call and Tracy losing a “fight” for the ball led to this play. What Petras did accomplish is something that he has not done a lot of in the past. He connected on balls down field. On the day Petras was 15-23 for 224 yards and 2 TD’s. Opposing defenses are going to throw the sink at Tyler Goodson. If Big Spence can make defenses pay by going over the top, it will loosen up running lanes for Goodson. That was a big first step for our offense going forward.
It was a tough day for Tyler Goodson. On the day Goodson rushed for 57 yards on 18 carries (3.2) and caught 4 balls for 34 yards. Goodson looked hesitant for much of the game waiting for holes to develop. Iowa did not get much going on the ground, and Iowa’s ground game sets the tone for our entire offense. It was a frustrating day in many ways.
Welcome to The Show, Keagan Johnson! I wrote a while back that I thought that true frosh Keagan Johnson would lead Iowa’s wide receivers in touchdowns this year. Johnson showed that he belongs. Johnson displayed the same type of separation he flashed in his high school film.
It was also nice to see Arland Bruce IV getting a jet sweep run for an explosive 13 yards.
Iowa has traditionally been slow in allowing special talents to see the field early on. My guess is that Brian Ferentz realizes he has a special defense opposite his side of the ball and that if this team doesn’t meet expectations it is going to come back to him. If you have playmakers, get them on the field. Props to Coach B. Ferentz for speeding up the true freshmen timeline for a few of these kids. Johnson ended with 2 catches for 92 yards and a score. Nico Ragaini adjusted nicely on a vertical route and ended up with two catches for 38 yards.
Sam LaPorta found the endzone again for the Hawkeyes. The play call was pretty much perfect. Iowa ran a fake bubble screen and LaPorta was wide open down the seem for an easy six points. LaPorta was flagged for potentially the lamest unsportsmanlike penalty in the history of football. Note to players, you can’t do anything after scoring. No spinning the ball. No smiling. No yelling. (That should cover it.)
LaPorta hauled in 4 balls for 45 yards and the score. Iowa has not spread the ball around to two tight ends as much this year as they have in the past. Luke Lachey is certainly capable. Iowa may need to utilize two tight end sets more to get our run game going.
Iowa’s offensive line flat out didn’t get it done on Saturday. Colorado State had 8 TFL’s, 3 sacks, and 2 QBH’s. The Hawkeyes ended the day with 32 carries for 54 yards for an average of 1.7 yards/carry. That’s not Iowa football. New offensive line coach George Barnett has to replace two starting tackles, but 4 games in I would expect Iowa’s offensive line to be playing at a higher level. “Coach Kirk Ferentz, please report to the offensive line meeting room.” The Hawks need to show drastic improvement over the next few weeks in this area or we will see our first blemish in the loss column.
Another week another nice outing by Iowa’s defensive line. The Hawks continue to get production out of their front line. Zach VanValkenburg had 5 tackles, 2.5 TFL, and 1 QBH. Logan Lee had 5 tackles and 1 sack. Yahya Black was active with 4 tackles, 1 forced fumble, and 1 pass break up. Noah Shannon had 4 tackles on the day. Finally, John Waggoner had 3 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL, and 1 pass break up. Finally, Colorado State averaged only 2 yards per rush. The Hawkeyes are stuffing the stat sheet all along their defensive line.
Hawkeye linebacker Jack Campbell was named the B1G defensive player of the week after collecting 18 tackles, 3 pass breakups, and recovering a fumble. It felt like he was virtually everywhere. If you were to ask a Colorado State player, they would probably more than likely say he was literally everywhere. It was that kind of game for him. Iowa has been graced with some stellar linebackers through the years. Larry Station and Josey Jewell are a few Consensus All-Americans that come to mind. Campbell seems like he could get there some day. Iowa’s other starting linebackers, Seth Benson and Jestin Jacobs totaled 19 tackles between them with 1.5 TFL and 1 QB hurry. Here is a clip of Campbell recovering a fumble deep in Colorado State territory.
It was a somewhat quiet day for the Hawkeye secondary, and oftentimes that’s an OK thing. The week before the Hawks sometimes got caught with their hand (eyes) in the cookie jar. Iowa played a more disciplined football game on the back end than the previous week. Iowa allowed a couple of scores against Colorado State on short fields. The Hawkeye defenders pitched a shutout in the second half. Matt Hankins led this position group with 8 tackles, including 1 TFL. Jack Koerner chipped in 6 tackles, and Dane Belton added 4 stops with 1 TFL and 1 pass break up. A solid day and a solid grade for Iowa’s defensive backs.
Special Teams: A-
Charlie Jones had 111 return yards on the day. Starting field position having gained over a football field and a first down makes a big difference in a tight football game. Jones has been a difference maker. It’s not often that Tory Taylor isn’t the best punter on the field. Colorado State’s punter Ryan Stonehouse looked the part of an NFL punter averaging 51.1 yards on the day. Caleb Shudak was 3 for 3 on extra points and he banged a 45 yard field goal through the uprights on his only attempt. Iowa’s special teams have consistently played at an A level this year. That consistency is tremendous. It will also be necessary to stay at such a high level for Iowa to play in Indianapolis for the B1G Championship.
Hit up the comments on what you agree/disagree with. That’s part of the fun, Hawk fans! On to Maryland, and as always, Go Hawks!