It’s been a strange season for Iowa so far, hasn’t it? Iowa is 1-1, which happens, but the way in which the Hawkeyes have gotten to this point has been rather depressing.

Iowa’s offense is ranked dead last in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes have scored just 14 points in 2 games, and 4 of those points are from safeties earned by the defense in Week 1.

The offensive display has been pathetic. There’s really no other way to put it. Still, head coach Kirk Ferentz has committed to sticking with starting quarterback Spencer Petras, who is 23-of-51 passing for just 201 yards, no touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

It hasn’t necessarily been confidence-inspiring, so shouldn’t fans expect more of the same from the offense in Week 3 when Iowa plays host to Nevada?

That certainly seems to be the case, so why not put Petras on the bench for now and see if his backup, Alex Padilla, can make a difference? After all, nothing changes if nothing changes, and the Hawkeyes absolutely need to try to get something going offensively. They learned in Week 2’s loss to Iowa State that an elite defense can only get you so far. It’s like having an ace pitcher that keeps losing 1-0. After a while, you’re just wasting resources.

Giving Padilla a chance makes sense. For some reason, though, Ferentz relayed earlier this week that he’s sticking with his senior quarterback.

“We obviously spent a lot of time looking at it, considering it, talking about it,” Ferentz said, via ESPN. “It’s really tough to give an honest evaluation right now. I’ve talked to Alex about the same thing. No matter who’s in there right now, we’ve got some challenges, and we’ve got to work through those and try to improve in those, and then we’ll have a fairer way to assess.”

That’s certainly not an inspiring quote from Ferentz. In fact, he sounds like a coach who doesn’t have any answers.┬áPadilla was 3-0 last season in spot starts for Iowa, and it’s not like things can get any worse for the Hawkeyes.

Still, Ferentz refuses to change.

“Alex is capable, and he proved that last year,” Ferentz said of Padilla. “I just go back to body of work. … We were 0-2 at the start of the [2020] season and then we won 12 straight with [Petras] at quarterback. He built up some credit right there. He played really well, not in each and every game, but he did a pretty good job and led our football team.”

It’s notable that Ferentz wouldn’t say whether or not everyone on his coaching staff agrees with the decision to keep rolling with Petras.

“I think we’re together as a program,” he said, which again, isn’t all that inspiring of an answer.

“I’m not asking anybody to agree with me,” Ferentz continued. “I’m guessing fans aren’t agreeing, and maybe the media, but everybody’s entitled to their opinions, I’m all for that. What our jobs are, and my job, ultimately, I’m the head coach, is to decide what’s best for our football team and our program. That’s my assessment at this point.”

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results, Iowa football may need to be institutionalized.

Prediction

Nevada is a Mountain West team, but we’ve seen so far this football season that even elite teams are susceptible to upsets, no matter the opponent. The Wolf Pack are scoring 34 points per game compared to Iowa’s 7. They also put up 337.7 yards per game compared to Iowa’s 158.

With that said, Nevada has given up 27 points and 400.3 yards per game in 3 contests, so that would suggest that Iowa’s offense should be able to do something while the defense projects to remain stout.

Still, how does anyone outside of Ferentz trust Petras at this point? We also haven’t even gotten into offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz, who likely only has a job because of his last name.

It’s tough to pick Iowa in this one because of the offense. No matter how good the defense is, it’s tough to see that unit getting the support it needs. So maybe we shouldn’t bet against the boys from Reno.

Nevada 20, Iowa 13