After three games where the # 5 Iowa Hawkeyes (4-0) were able to assert their will early and win early, the Hawks finally faced a team up to the challenge in the Colorado State Rams (1-3). In a game that was rarely easy due to the Rams’ handling of field position, the clock and turnovers, the Hawkeyes won 24-14.

The Hawkeyes were punctuated by Spencer Petras’ most prolific day of his career, although it was marred by a brutally low moment. He finished with 224 yards on a 15/23 pass with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. Much of the running game was stalled with just 54 yards and Tyler Goodson led with 57 yards on 18 carries.

The Rams set the tone by receiving the ball to open the game – Hawkeye’s first of all opponents so far – and were able to win the field position game for a scoreless first quarter. Iowa turned things around a bit with their last possession of the period and snuck into a Tyler Goodson run just before the end of the quarter. Brian Ferentz added a bit of flair by involving the freshmen – Arland Bruce IV on a 13-yard end and a route to Keagan Johnson which resulted in Iowa’s first touchdown.

The punt exchange continued, but a rare rod from Tory Taylor awarded the ball to the Rams at the Iowa 35. They converted on a Todd Centeio draw – he was continually a thorn in the Hawkeyes’ side in the running game but finished with just 31 yards – to tie it at 7-7.

The Hawkeyes’ next practice began with another deep shot on Johnson, but stalled as he entered Ram’s territory. A broken tunnel screen at Tyrone Tracy was popped by Robert Floyd and he returned the 62-yard pick to set up Colorado State with just 1:32 left in halftime. Centeio’s pass to Gary Williams reduced the Hawkeyes’ 14-7 halftime deficit.

Iowa struggled to get the attack going right after the break, but a turnaround and the game’s first hold call put CSU behind the chains. An annoyed exchange saw the ball hit the ground and Jack Campbell jumped on it.

Brian dialed a slippery end to give Tracy a six-yard touchdown run and tie him at 14.

The Hawkeye defense was absolutely cooking at this point and forced another three-and-out. Charlie Jones’ return gave Iowa a great field position at CSU 41. They conceded a third down pass interference with a wide open Sam LaPorta TD. It was so wide open that the spinning ball penalty seemed absurd since there was not a single ram within 20 yards of it. Too bad.

A fourth-quarter field goal took Iowa to 24 points, then the teams traded empty possessions the rest of the way.

Other takeaways:

  • A lot of what fans have been asking for came to fruition today, as Iowa regularly attacked the Rams high school on the field. This led to some great games – both takes of Johnson, Nico Ragaini, LaPorta all stepped into the action – but also a fair amount of QB pressure, as Petras was sacked 3 times. It was certainly top to bottom – a red zone turnover within 2:00 a.m. is about as bad a scenario as you might imagine – but Iowa took its shots early and often. .
  • Iowa just hasn’t played much at 55. CSU did a solid job of keeping the game in check and took the Hawks out of the field in precarious positions. To the defense’s credit, the Hawkeyes didn’t even fold that much. But the two times Colorado State had a great field position, they conceded. A better team executing Kirk’s game plan against him probably gets away with this one.
  • The defense on the 3rd down was absolutely frustrating, however. He finished at 11/23 but was 9/13 at halftime. Phil Parker cleaned that up. Jack Campbell was a threat with 18 tackles. Seth Benson and Jestin Jacobs added 19 between them as Iowa tied CSU’s heavy staff for most of the game.


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