Hawkeyes need to pick up the ‘O’


Xavier Potts, Staff Writer

The Iowa Hawkeyes’ 3-2 record is largely thanks to their defense. An article posted by “The Gazette” after the Hawks’ week one win against South Dakota State University was headlined “I-WA VICT-RY,” taking a shot implying that Iowa had no “O” or offense in the game. The headline is a fair one considering the Hawkeyes scored only three points on offense, the other four were safeties by the defense.

This has been the story all season for Kirk Ferentz and his Hawks, poor offensive outings saved by the defense. In their week four matchup against Rutgers (3-1), the Hawks won the game 27-10, with a scoop and score from defensive back Kaevon Merriweather and a pick-six from defensive back Cooper Dejan.

With the offense lacking, some may wonder where does the blame fall? Many blame offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz and his poor ability to utilize the weapons he has been given. 

According to ESPN, Iowa has been in the bottom 10 out of teams all across Division I football in yards per game, and this season they are dead last. To add to that unimpressive stat, the Hawkeyes score more points than 11 other programs in Division I. 

The blame cannot be entirely on Ferentz’s poor work as an offensive coordinator. Quarterback Spencer Petras has been performing poorly to the standards fans had set for him going into his career at Iowa.

Petras attended Marin Catholic High School, the same school that Detroit Lions Quarterback, Jared Goff, attended. Petras broke just about every single record that was previously held by Goff. Some notable stats from Petras’ high school career are his 7248 career passing yards and his 84 touchdown passes. Needless to say, Hawkeye fans were excited about his commitment to Iowa.

Unfortunately, to say Petras has not lived up to expectations is quite the understatement. This season, Petras has only thrown for 524 passing yards and only one touchdown through five games. Out of Division I, Petras ranks 112th in total passing yards and Petras is ranked 150th in passing touchdowns.

While some quarterbacks can make up for poor passing with their running game, Petras cannot. Petras is very immobile in the pocket and cannot scramble well at all. Petras ranks 1158th in total rushing yards through all of Division I, better than only six other QBs. . 

There is no question that the offense needs to improve for Iowa to be able to compete at the Power 5 level. The Hawks can only rely so much on their defense if they expect to win more games and compete at a higher level.

A lot of the talk has been about how poor the Hawkeyes offense has been, but it seems not as many people truly acknowledge how good their defense is. Dejan is tied for second throughout Division I in interceptions and Linebacker, Jack Campbell, is tied for 21st in total tackles. As a unit, the Hawks lead Division I in fewest points given up per game, they are sixth in rushing yards allowed per game and in total yards allowed per game.

Although Michigan defeated Iowa this past Saturday, 27-14, the performance did offer some hope, as the offense was able to put up two fourth quarter touchdowns. However, the offense will need to score earlier and more often if the Hawks want to stay in the hunt for postseason play.