116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MADISON, WIS. — In a different state and against a different style of opponent, Iowa’s offense experienced much of the same Saturday.
For the second consecutive game, the Hawkeyes failed to produce offensively against an unranked opponent en route to a three-possession loss.
First it was against Purdue on Oct. 16. Two weeks later, it was against Wisconsin on Saturday.
Players and coaches were already well aware of their offensive shortcomings after the Purdue loss.
“I need to play a lot better, as does the other 10 guys on the offense,” Petras said on Oct. 16.
Offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz joked on Oct. 20 about whether he was asleep for the third quarter of the Purdue game. Iowa had just 6 total yards in that quarter.
Iowa’s plan didn’t change much between the two games, though.
Petras and wide receiver Charlie Jones both said Saturday the focus of the bye week was on “fundamentals” and the chance to rest after a grueling seven-game stretch.
“Our offense isn’t inventing any plays” during the bye week, Petras said.
A similar strategy between the Purdue and Wisconsin games bore similar results Saturday, though.
Iowa turned the ball over at least three times, had fewer than 3 yards per carry and did not have a passing touchdown in both games.
The problem? Kirk Ferentz said the offense is “not moving the ball consistently enough” and acknowledged the lack of protection for Petras was a “problem.”
Petras pointed to “better execution” and said it’s a “unit-wide thing.”
“It wasn’t perfect by anyone, by any means,” Petras said.
Petras threw nine touchdowns versus just two interceptions during Iowa’s 6-0 start. Since then, he has been without a touchdown, thrown four interceptions and completed just 51 percent of his passes.
The ground game, meanwhile, has struggled mightily. The Hawkeyes had 0.8 yards per carry against the Badgers — the punt return unit had more yards than the rushing attack Saturday — and 2.5 yards per carry against Purdue.
Kirk Ferentz recognized the need to be “finding solutions” after the last two weeks of subpar offensive production.
“That’s what we’ve been doing, and we’ll continue to do that,” Kirk Ferentz said.
It’s too early to know what Kirk Ferentz will specifically change to get those solutions, though.
“I can’t answer that right now,” the 23rd-year head coach said. “We just finished the game a half-hour ago, so we’ll see what we can do to put a better plan together for the next week.”
One thing is clear, though. Kirk Ferentz believes in his “outstanding staff,” including his son and offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz.
"We’ve got a good room of people and a good staff of people, and we’ll figure out what we can do to get better,“ Kirk Ferentz said. “I’ve got total confidence in our staff.”
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