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Iowa Football Position Grades: Illinois

And apathy sets in...

Iowa v Illinois
Tell Barta that I’ll take the job
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

I have done these grades for three years. I will say that this is the least interested I have ever been to write one of these. We have become a national punchline. Our 9-6 loss to Illinois may have been the proverbial nail in the coffin for this season. Thankfully the Hawks don’t play this coming week. Then we go to The Shoe to get boat-raced by (the) Ohio State University Buckeyes. After that we start looking ahead to Fran’s and Lisa’s basketball squads. Speaking of Fran, he has taken some serious heat for the defense his teams play. Fran’s defense is the 1963-64 Bill Russell-led Boston Celtics compared to Brian Ferentz’s offense. I had written a few weeks ago that Iowa’s defense needed to score for us to win; that was (almost) exactly the case against Illinois. Riley Moss’s scoop and score almost bailed out Iowa’s offense yet again, but alas, the Illinois ballcarrier was down. Anyway, let’s get on with the grades.



Spencer Petras is a good dude. He’s a warrior who cares a great deal. An Illini defender tried to take his head off (not targeting) and Spence got up and continued playing. After the game he showed he is hurting and wants to be successful. Unfortunately, he’s not being put in a position to be successful. Iowa’s stubbornness in sticking with Petras has probably been a disservice to the young man. As always Petras made a few excellent throws. He also threw a number of balls at his receivers’ feet. On the day he was 18 for 36 for 170 yards with an interception. His misses are flat out terrible. Our offensive line hasn’t been doing Spencer any favors.

RB: D-

Iowa’s running backs have been tough to judge this year due to Iowa’s struggle on the offensive line. Leshon Williams carried the ball seven times for 32 yards (4.6) and Kaleb Johnson ran it nine times for 26 yards (2.9). Johnson had a nice run called back because of a rarely called offensive facemask penalty. It was that kind of night. Gavin Williams looked completely out of sorts. He ran four times for four yards.


Nico Ragaini’s return has helped, but that’s all relative. Ragaini caught seven passes for 46 yards. Arland Bruce IV caught two passes for 12 yards. Brody Brecht was targeted once but did not have a catch. I was pretty salty when Charlie Jones bolted for the Boilers. Turns out Charlie is a freaking genius. Sorry, Charlie.

TE: A-

Sam LaPorta was targeted 16 times. 16! He had 9 catches for 100 yards. Luke Lachey had 16 yards.


As in, F this. Five sacks and six QBH (quarterback hurries). It felt like twice that many. George Barnett is not earning his keep. Brian and George should give half of their salary to Phil and LeVar.


DL: C-

Chase Brown is a Dude. Illinois ran for 200 yards. Iowa had zero sacks. Lukas Van Ness had two QBH. Noah Shannon and Logan Lee each had eight tackles.


Not a stellar day for this unit. Jack Campbell had 13 tackles. Seth Benson had seven. Both ‘backers recovered a fumble. Campbell’s was on special teams. Jay Higgins had one stop.

DB/Cash: B-

Quinn Schulte had nine tackles and a key (at the time) interception. Cooper DeJean collected six tackles. Riley Moss had six tackles, a forced fumble, and he almost had a game-winning touchdown. Kaevon Merriweather laid some pretty serious wood, picking up five solo tackles.

Special Teams: B-

Iowa recovered a muffed punt. Of course we didn’t do crap with it, but at this point we’re not all that surprised. Tory Taylor didn’t punt it up to his standards with a 40.9 yard average. Drew Stevens made field goals from 32 and 27 and missed from 45. It was Stevens’ first miss of the season.

  • Side note - I was watching the Hawk game w/ a buddy and he mentioned he was friends with former Hawk QB Matt Sherman (he of the glorious banana peel uniform).
Does Matt have any eligibility? A Covid year, perhaps?

Matt was a dang good QB for the Hawks. Sherman, I believe, works for the Gophers (threw up in my mouth a little). Despite this, I’d still buy a beer for him, especially if I could hang with my all-time favorite Hawk Tim Dwight. I once bought a beer for Ross Verba, but that’s another story that won’t make the blog. As always, Go Hawks!