116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Tyler Goodson is already a confident player, but this was the spark he needed to show that his junior season is going to be what he wants it to be.
Last week was tough; Goodson struggled against Iowa State’s defense, averaging 2.6 yards per carry for 55 yards on the ground and had 9 yards receiving. This was after commenting on Cyclone running back Breece Hall’s lack of versatility.
The week before, Goodson was just 1 yard shy of a 100-yard performance, but his 56-yard touchdown run to open the game lit a special spark in a team that was ranked behind a hyped-up Indiana team backed by quarterback Michael Penix Jr.
So this Saturday, Goodson trotted for 153 yards, including an outside pitch to the left where he coasted to the end zone on a 46-yard touchdown run. The first question he was asked in postgame was if he knew that pitch play was a touchdown, and without hesitation, Goodson said, “yes.” The people before him laughed, confused, as if there were any doubt. He reluctantly smiles as he begins to describe the play.
“From pre-snap, they had all the guys to boundary and the whole defense was to the boundary,” Goodson said. “It was all about if that down end to that side was going to squeeze or play outside containment, and he’s squeezing.”
He added two more touchdowns, including a 35-yard run in the fourth quarter to put the exclamation point on the fifth-ranked Hawkeyes’ 30-7 win over Kent State at Kinnick Stadium.
“I saw that they had both backers plugged up in the A-gap and only a corner to that side of the play,” Goodson said. “From there it was just all about me taking the ball, being patient and making sure my guys got to the blocks, and they did, and from there it was about picking my feet up.”
Goodson also accounted for 35 yards of the 95-yard drive Iowa had in the second quarter, including the opening 13 to get Iowa out of its own 5-yard line and capture a first down in safer territory.
“Driving the ball is important, especially when you’re backed up,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “It’s kind of illustrative in a lot of ways of what it takes to be a good offense is just concentrating play after play, not worrying about trying to make the big play.”
Kent State is not known for its rushing defense. It gives up an average of 220.5 yards on the ground per game, which is No. 117 in the FBS. Iowa put together 206 rushing yards and 212 passing yards Saturday.
The young offensive line, which Ferentz credited for Goodson’s first touchdown, has also not been as strong for Goodson, who has struggled to run to the left side in the past two games. And despite Kent State’s ranking, Ferentz said that head coach Sean Lewis’ defensive philosophy is still tricky and stems from his time playing in the early 2000s for Wisconsin. It’s designed to stop the run. That left-pitch play was just a case of it over-pursuing.
But there’s nothing stopping Goodson once he gets going, and that’s what makes him a trusted back to anchor an offense like Iowa’s.
“A guy like T-Good, if they’re going to make that hole, he’s going to take it in,” Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras said.
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