A quick note about last week’s grades. I had written that I gave a general grade to Kirk, Brian, Phil, and LeVar last week. It wasn’t specific for the South Dakota State game, but rather how I would assign a blanket letter grade to the coaches. That’s why Phil Parker’s grade said “A” (and also why I give him a “D” when we play Purdue. ) Also, many people thought my grades were too lenient last week. I sort of agree. I made the conscientious decision to not be a negative Nelly. The gloves are off, however. I’m in a bad mood as there was no way the Hawks should have lost that football game. I had to watch the second half on my phone again as I watched Macalester College (2-0) roll to a big win against Martin Luther. The Scots’ Nick Bice (a Fort Dodge, Iowa, product and huge Hawk fan) has seven catches for 143 yards and four TD’s on the season. It has been refreshing watching a college team complete forward passes. Anyway, on to the game.
When Spencer Petras threw his interception I commented, “That’s the last pass he will ever throw for the Hawkeyes.” I guess I haven’t been paying attention the last 20+ years. Petras is a good, standup dude. He also doesn’t have the “IT” factor. He may have “IT” in practice, but as Allen Iverson so famously stated, practice and games are different animals.
On the day Petras was 12 for 26 for 92 yards and one interception. By no means is Spencer the only problem we have on offense, but he has been given plenty of opportunities. Let’s go with a more-mobile Alex Padilla or throw Joey Labas into the deep end. Heck, I’d rather see Cooper DeJean back there running the Wildcat. It’s not hyperbole to say that our offense can’t get much worse.
Iowa’s lead back, Gavin Williams, is close to getting up to speed after an injury. He had just two carries on the day but he averaged 5 yards. Leshon Williams found the endzone but he ran 14 times for just 34 yards (2.4). Freshman Kaleb Johnson 4/13 (3.2) looks like he can be a nice back if he gets some running room. Monte Pottebaum fumbled at the goal line. The Hawks would have gone up 14-3 at the time and not looked back.
The only thing that wasn’t offensive about our offense was that we got some production from Sam LaPorta and Luke Lachey. LaPorta caught eight balls for 55 yards and Lachey hauled in two Petras passes for 14 yards. It would be nice to feel like we can build off of this solid game from our tight ends, but honestly it doesn’t feel like the Hawks have any confidence on the offensive side of the ball.
This grade is somewhat challenging as these guys can’t throw the ball to themselves. Statistically speaking Iowa’s wide receivers were as close to irrelevant as you can get. Arland Bruce IV caught one pass for nine yards. Alec Wick caught his first career pass for 14 yards. That’s it. Injuries have certainly played a part in this catastrophe, but that fella Charlie Jones has been doing ok for himself. Hopefully Keagan Johnson and Nico Ragaini can return to the lineup sooner rather than later.
Earlier in the week Brian Ferentz commented that Petras had enough time to throw on most of his South Dakota State passes. It was a bit of a shot at Petras and it was a little bit of a boost to the psyche of Iowa’s O-line. Spencer Petras was sacked just one time; the Cyclones did have 4 QBH’s. Iowa’s run game was lackluster as the Hawks rushed 25 times for 58 yards (2.3). That’s not going to get much hay in the barn.
The Hawks’ defensive front accounted for 25 tackles. Logan Lee led the squad with 8 stops. Lee also had a TFL (tackle for loss) and a QBH (quarterback hurry). Iowa State averaged 3.1 yards on the ground. John Waggoner tallied the only sack on Hunter Dekkers. The Hawkeyes uncharacteristically gave up a 99 yard drive. There were many opportunities for the Hawkeyes to make a play, and they did not. One can’t really fault the defense when the offense is so inept.
Seth Benson led Iowa’s linebackers with 10 tackles. Jack Campbell added nine and a QBH. Logan Klemp filled in for the injured Jestin Jacobs and he tallied two tackles and recovered a fumble.
Iowa’s defensive backs were pretty salty on Saturday. Cooper DeJean and Terry Roberts have looked phenomenal so far this season. DeJean had 11 tackles, an interception, and two pass breakups.
Quinn Schulte has been terrific as well. He ended up with nine tackles on the day. Riley Moss had nine tackles. Kaevon Merriweather had five tackles and forced a fumble. You know the Hawks have incredible depth as all-world recruit Xavier Nwankpa has not played many snaps.
Special Teams: A-
Aaron Blom could have tied the game but his 48 yard attempt missed as time expired. It would have been a terrific kick even in perfect conditions; the conditions were not perfect. This was not the reason why the Hawks lost, however. Tory Taylor continues to do Tory Taylor things. He punted six times for 304 yards (50.7). He had a 63 yard bomb and landed two inside the twenty. Lukas Van Ness blocked two punts. Without his first block, the Hawks wouldn’t have scored their only touchdown this year. I don’t see this offense putting a length-of-the-field drive together. This boggles my mind.
Kirk Ferentz: F (love him but not going to the portal for a QB and/or sticking w/ Petras... yikes)
Brian Ferentz: F (everything we do on offense seems labored)
Phil Parker: A (hopefully he is LeVar Woods’ first hire)
LeVar Woods A (our next head coach)