The Good: Tyler Goodson and the Skill Players
Iowa had the misfortune of playing two good defensive teams to kick off the year and the results were less than inspiring. Arguably the worst thing about weeks one and two was that Tyler Goodson could never get going as, well, Tyler Goodson never had any room to run. That wasn’t the case this game as Goodson for a few chances to break the big one and boy did he break the big one:
With Iowa lining up in the I-formation, expecting the ball to go to fullback Monte Pottebaum was a reasonable assumption. And the thing about Iowa’s predictability on offense is that it opens up opportunities for misdirection. This was one of those opportunities and Brian Ferentz fully capitalized on it. Kudos to him and kudos to Goodson for shaking off all of the rust on a 150+ yard, three-touchdown day.
For all of the complaining I’m going to do about the offense, it’s actually not (all) on the players themselves. Spencer Petras had an OK game, completing more than 60% of his passes the first time all year and not turning the ball over. He also didn’t get sacked, which might explain why he was able to complete 69% of his passes (nice).
Sam LaPorta had yet another very good game, catching seven balls for 65 yards and a touchdown. Tyrone Tracy got involved, as did Nico Ragaini and Gavin Williams. Petras spread the ball around, even if wasn’t for a lot of yards.
Honorable Mention: Linebackers and the defensive front getting seven sacks.
The Bad: Picking on a Cornerback
Prediction: a Purdue wide receiver goes for like 150+ yards against the Hawkeyes this season. How do I know this? Well, because they’ve already done it several times and Kent State just followed the blueprint. The Golden Flashes had 185 passing yards. Keshunn Abram had 138 of those yards because they kept lining him up against Riley Moss and went to work. Again. And again. And again. Riley Moss’s ball hawking skills are pretty damn impeccable, as he was the one who was there to recover the Kent State fumble that changed the dynamic of the game. But ball hawking only goes so far. You can’t intercept a pass when you’re five yards behind a receiver because you either bit horribly on a double move or just got outran. If Moss can’t keep up with wide receivers in a straight line, then they better get him some help. If not, get ready for a 150+ yard game from [insert random Purdue wide receiver].
The Ugly: Random Decisions
I…I can’t with this:
Just so we’re clear: Iowa took a delay of game on a punt and then…ran a fake punt? And the fake punt they ran was just a bunch of Greg Davis routes?
This fake punt is sort of a microcosm for the passing game. Petras isn’t throwing the ball down field but how many of his routes are actually down the field? The only long passes he seems to complete are seam routes to LaPorta. Is everyone running slant routes or something?
Tyler Goodson was great on Saturday but his second rushing touchdown came on a capitulation call by Brian Ferentz. The call was a sweep play out of shotgun on 3rd and 9 on the Kent State 35-yard line. Whenever you see a draw or a sweep play out of shogun on a third-and-long situation it means you’re either setting up for a punt or a field goal. Ferentz just got lucky that Tyler Goodson decided to be a playmaker.
We’ll continue to have this conversation as long as Brian Ferentz is in charge. His play calling is predicable. Which isn’t good. But it’s fine. His plays themselves are stale. That’s also bad, as more than one wide receiver should be running past the first down marker but whatever, we’re used to it. Perhaps the greatest frustration is that despite those two things, there continues to be mind boggling decision-making in crucial moments and because Iowa’s margin for error is so razor thin on offense, they will continue to struggle.