116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Iowa could not have had a better start to its season, and with two home non-conference games next on the schedule, it’s a good break from the pressure of ranked opponents before hitting the road for a Friday night in Maryland.
The defense has carried the Hawkeyes through the past two games, especially when Iowa’s offense struggled to move the ball against highly-touted defenses. While the Kent State Golden Flashes are known for interceptions — eight over the past two games — they still gave up 303 yards rushing and 41 points to No. 7 Texas A&M.
It’ll be interesting to see how much Iowa can run up the score on offense after a mainly defensive show the past two weeks.
Here’s what to watch for Saturday at Kinnick Stadium (2:30 p.m., BTN).
Kyler Schott returns
After breaking his foot baling hay before fall camp, Kyler Schott will return some experience to the Iowa offensive line at the right guard position.
“Kyler Schott started working back last week,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “He'll play some this week. I don't know how much, but he'll play some.”
Iowa has started its youngest offensive line in years in two straight games. While the line has held up well, it will enjoy two more weeks of experience before Iowa begins the rest of its Big Ten schedule and, by then, Schott could be in full force.
Kent State’s run defense is not very strong, allowing 223.5 yards per game on the ground, so Iowa running back Tyler Goodson could be putting up serious numbers Saturday.
Rattling the quarterback
Kent State leads the nation in interceptions (8) and next in line is Iowa (6).
On the contrary, through the eight-game win-streak, Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras has completed 116 of 204 passes for 1,339 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions. Crum played a shortened four-game season in the MAC, connecting on 107 of 156 for 1,450 yards through the past six games, including this season’s first two against Texas A&M and VMI. He had two interceptions last season and so far has two more this season.
Crum was known as one of the most accurate passers last year, registering a 73.5 completion percentage. During his last full season in the MAC, he threw for 2,625 yards on 69.3-percent efficiency.
Iowa’s defense has rattled quarterbacks in the past two weeks to the point the starters were removed by the fourth quarter. Jack Tuttle replaced Michael Penix Jr. for Indiana with 9:47 left while Hunter Dekkers entered the game for Iowa State with 12:43 left in the fourth quarter following cornerback Matt Hankins’ second interception of Brock Purdy.
Spencer Petras’ steady consistency
It’s not flashy, and Ferentz said people may not like it, but Petras will take the sack over the risk of an interception. So far, he’s pleased with Petras protecting the ball even though he knows there is room for improvement.
“You can't do it at the cost of being so conservative you're afraid to do anything,” Ferentz said. “There’s a fine line there. I think Spencer has done a good job of that. Every player has plays they'd love to have over again. He's got a few from last week.”
So far, Petras has targeted tight end Sam LaPorta the most. Through two games, LaPorta has six receptions for 104 yards. Second in line is wide receiver Charlie Jones, who has three catches for 38 yards. Tight end Luke Lachey is not far behind with two receptions for 32 yards.
Petras has 251 passing yards on 50-percent efficiency through two games and one passing touchdown in addition to his rushing touchdown on a draw play against Indiana, which is last in the Big Ten. It’ll be interesting to see if he throws the ball more against a defense known for its interceptions.
Iowa vs. Kent State prediction
My guess is Goodson is going to pop off and Petras will start throwing it more in the second half for reps.
Iowa 30, Kent State 0
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