This version of Stock Watch will be short and sweet. The Hawkeyes had few bright spots in this game. The offense struggled to move the ball consistently before garbage time and it seemed like when they did, there were penalties. The defense played well, and arguably well enough to win the game, but it doesn’t have that kind of wiggle room this year. Let’s get onto stock watch.
Ticker Symbol: (BULL)
One of the only players that I am putting in the stock risers category this week, Lachey may have officially had his coming out party vs Michigan. While it could be argued that some of his statistics came against a Michigan defense playing prevent defense, Lachey added enough film that future opponents will now have to pay attention to him. “The Bull”, which is the nickname that has been created by and is now property of BHGP, had 4 receptions for 84 yards and a score. The Bull is a massive target and will have an advantage against any opponent Iowa faces with fellow TE Sam Laporta commanding so much attention. It was also refreshing to see play calls designed for Lachey up the seam. Being such a big player, that seam route is a tough throw to miss...
Expect many more stat lines like Saturdays from Lachey as Iowa may start calling plays similar to 2018 as they search for some form of identity on offense.
Leave me alone, the pickings were slim. I put Petras in this spot only because more and more I believe his main issues to be related to shoddy line play. Yes he still misses two or three passes he must complete every game but he’s done a few things the last two weeks that I’ve liked. In the Rutgers game, the camera panned to Petras on the sideline after a three and out and he was visibly upset at himself for missing a throw. That’s what most people would do but Spencer has had a tendency of looking unbothered by offensive performances in the past. So that was nice. On Saturday, apart from the overthrow up the seam and the overthrow on the sideline to Brecht, I thought he actually threw well when given time. Now, the argument is obviously “Alec, he’s not going to have time with this young line.” I understand that point, and I agree with it. But I also thought that Spencer did a little bit better job of stepping up in the pocket. He still can’t move worth a damn and never will, but I can’t say we have a player on this roster who could have avoided the abusive pass rush Michigan was applying when they wanted to do so. Now, I can’t say we don’t have a player who could have avoided the rush either, but we all know that’s a moot point.
Ticker Symbol: (YOUNG)
This unit is going to continue to go through growing pains this year as it slowly matures. This was a tough game. Positive plays seemed to always be negated by penalties and Michigans pass rush had too easy of a time getting through to Petras. The running backs in this game rushed for 66 yards on 20 carries, good for 3.3 yards a pop. Thats not awful vs the #4 team in the country but it’s not a winning number either. In my opinion, George Barnett needs to stop shuffling guys in and out and pick a top 5 or 6 guys and stick with them.
Ticker Symbol (ELITE)
If we are going to continue to call this defense “elite”, the grading scale is there fore going to be set extremely high. On Saturday, the defensive line got moved. They bowed up some in the second half but when you only tally 2 tackles all game for 1 yard or less thats not elite. I can’t give them the excuse that it was the amount of time they were on the field either because Michigan was on them from the start. In the two matchups against quality competition this year, Iowa Sate and Michigan each got 100 yards or more from a tailback. Combined, both those opponents averaged 3.62 yards a rush. Thats a good number, but thats not an elite number. This unit could really use Yayah Black’s size in the middle but it sounds like he’ll be out vs Illinois as well. This Illinois game is a huge opportunity for this unit. Bert would love nothing more than to grind out Iowa the way the Hawkeyes have ground down Illinois in the past. The defensive line will have to hold in this one other wise, the Hawks could be looking at a 3-3 record with Ohio. St next... Yikes.
I’m going to end with that because I think the Michigan game was one where we as fans should take away any little positive bits and move on. Michigan was simply the better team and deserved to win that football game. God that tasted awful coming out of my mouth. I like the fact that Illinois beat Wisconsin in the manner that they did because I believe the coaching staff will treat this week like I just mentioned as well. None of us saw this visit to Champagne as possibly the most crucial game of the year before the season but that just may be what it’s turned into. I think both lines will be up for the challenge.