Spencer Petras asks Iowa fans to ‘remember that I’m a human being’ as some send angry tweets

Petras breaks down last interception that ended Iowa’s comeback hopes

ORLANDO, Fla. — No one is more aware of Spencer Petras’ shortcomings in the Citrus Bowl than Spencer Petras.

“I made a pretty costly mistake there at the end,” Petras said, referencing the interception with less than a minute left that dashed the Hawkeyes’ Citrus Bowl comeback hopes.

Another interception set up Kentucky with precious field position although the defense limited the Wildcats to a field goal.

How does he evaluate his performance overall? “Not good enough,” he said.

His family could do without the social media firestorm, though.

A glance through Twitter shows dozens of vile tweets directed and tagged at Petras. Several include profanity.

One fan used “#choke” as he told Petras to “please do us a big favor” and “get out of Iowa.” A fan named Larry said he is “begging” Petras to leave.


Users called him a “bum” and “hot stinky worthless garbage,” among many other insults.

The more someone scrolls, the more comments they’ll see just like those.

Now finishing his second season as Iowa’s primary quarterback, Petras has “grown my immune system in dealing with that — the things that people say about me.”

“But it’s never easy for loved ones or parents, ex-teammates, things like that,” Petras said, “to read some of the things people say.”

The trend of hateful comments is certainly not unique to Iowa’s fan base or even college football, and Petras understands that.

“It happens all the time with guys across the country, especially at quarterback,” Petras said. “But to have my mom see some of the stuff people say is tough. … It’s definitely tough to see her emotions about it, and I try to tell her it doesn’t matter, but it’s easier said than done.”

What went wrong on final interception

As Iowa ran its two-minute offense, Petras was responsible for calling all the plays.

Iowa had the ball on the Kentucky 40-yard-line — not far from field goal range for Caleb Shudak, whose season-long kick was a 51-yarder — with less than a minute left.

Petras, “trying to get an easy 5 yards” and an “easy completion,” called a smash concept.

“That was the wrong call on my part,” Petras said.

As Kentucky defensive back Yusuf Corker sprinted at the junior quarterback without anyone blocking him, it “disrupted me a little bit,” Petras said.

As he tried to get the throw off, it “got away from” Petras, and the rushed throw missed high. Deandre Square dove for the game-sealing interception.

“I can’t really force it,” Petras said. “Can’t let it go high like that because they leave the back open, but there’s guys behind him. So if it goes high, it’s an interception, and that’s what happened.”

Comments: (319) 398-8394; john.steppe@thegazette.com