Iowa football: Hawkeyes show mid-level offense can beat mid-level rosters
Have you ever heard how something is “mid?”
What exactly does “mid” mean to those who aren’t younger Millenials or Gen Zers, who don’t consume their news through the Twitterverse?
Mid simply means middle. There’s nothing good to say about it, but anything negative is nothing more a one’s opinion. It’s about a basic as a person who claims that fall is “their season” because they love the aroma of autumn leave candles burning inside their apartment and the taste of overpriced pumpkin flavoring in their $7 coffees.
Unseasoned jambalaya? Mid. Butterless popcorn at the movies? Mid. A dark and gloomy afternoon with zero rain on the radar? Mid.
Iowa’s offense? It’s about as mid as it gets moving into conference play.
If one were to look up “mid” on Urban Dictionary, there’d be a photo of Hawkeyes’ quarterback Spencer Petras and offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz likely arguing over the play call that will garner the team a total of 3 yards on third down.
SPENCER PETRAS TO ARLAND BRUCE FOR THE IOWA TOUCHDOWN pic.twitter.com/L6vrDmTjv7
— SuperHawkeyeFan (@superhawkeyefan) September 18, 2022
Saturday’s 27-0 win over Nevada marked the first time all season that Iowa fans could say anything positive about the offense. Petras found wide receiver Arland Bruce IV for a 21-yard touchdown, marking his first score of the season. Running back Kaleb Johnson rushed for 103 yards and 2 touchdowns, both of which came on runs of over 40 yards and made him look quicker than the lighting that struck Iowa City.
Petras connected with 7 receivers for 175 yards. Bruce, Nico Ragaini and Gavin Williams all had at least 1 explosive play of over 20 yards. As a unit, the Hawkeyes’ receivers averaged 12.5 yards per reception and looked dynamic running the 11-personnel (1 back, 1 tight end).
All that’s fine. It’s a positive for Iowa moving into Week 4’s matchup against Rutgers. Context also matters when discussing the outcome of games. Entering Saturday, the Wolf Pack ranked mid-level in total defense, allowing opponents to average over 400 yards of total offense.
Nevada’s defense is mid. And the Hawkeyes still couldn’t finish with over 350 yards of offense.
One can talk about the promise and potential of players such as Johnson, Williams and tight end Sam LaPorta. They can talk about how the rushing offense surpassed 100 yards for the first time this season and how Petras might be able to do enough to keep the offense rolling.
Those same fans should also be talking about the dominant defensive performance against Nevada’s offense. The Wolf Pack finished with 151 yards at Kinnick Stadium. The passing offense averaged 2.9 yards per throw. They averaged 1.9 yards on the ground.
If one were to go a bit deeper into the stats, Iowa’s offense rode the seesaw throughout the evening. One drive would go for 2 plays and a touchdown. The next would go for 4 plays and another score, followed by an 11-play drive ending with a field goal. After that? Punt, punt, field goal, punt, punt, 1-play touchdown drive, punt, ball game.
The Hawkeyes picked up 15 first downs. Nevada nabbed 10. Iowa ran 63 offensive plays. Nevada ran 65. The Wolf Pack won the time of possession battle by nearly a minute. If not for an interception in the first quarter and a missed field goal in the third, the score would have ended up being likely 27-10.
Iowa’s offense picked up positive points for the first time all season. It still looked mid. The rushing attack totaled over 160 yards. Nearly 110 yards came off 3 plays. Petras also missed a wide-open Ragaini in the third quarter that should have gone for six.
The results? Mid, mid, mid.
Iowa knows its place in the B1G West. It’ll contend for the division title because of strong defensive play. It’ll stay irrelevant in terms of contending for a conference title because of its inept offense.
Iowa is about as mid-West as its gets. Its offense is just about as mid as it gets as well. And 1 game against a sub-par Nevada roster that allowed FCS Incarnate Word to post over 600 yards of total offense won’t change that opinion, either.