116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Iowa cornerback Terry Roberts took an unwelcome hit from something that was red and gold Saturday at Kinnick Stadium, and it wasn’t a player in an Iowa State uniform.
“It looked like some fries or Tater Tots,” Roberts said. “I don’t know what it was. I couldn’t tell. I just saw a lot of ketchup.”
The projectile potato product from the Kinnick bleachers was another sign of what’s been growing fan frustrations with an Iowa football team that inched past an FCS team and then lost to its in-state rival.
Iowa fans’ enthusiasm leading up to the season seemed palpable.
Iowa Athletics sold out all seven 2022 home games for the first time since 2011. The ticket office announced the seventh and final sellout on Aug. 3 — a full month before Iowa’s first snap of the season.
But the results — a 7-3 win against South Dakota State and 10-7 loss against Iowa State — have left many fans less than thrilled. Iowa’s offense is at pace to be the worst in Kirk Ferentz’s 24 years at Iowa.
Booing was evident in both games, and the food that hit Roberts was certainly not the only debris thrown onto the field in the Cy-Hawk game.
One fan used Cameo, a website where people can pay celebrities for personalized messages, to troll offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz while turning famous Hawkeye figures into unknowing accomplices.
A video from Bob Stoops said sometimes the “best advice is to break free from the family business.” A Fran McCaffery video said to “maybe think about a move back to New England.”
McCaffery later put out a statement saying he does the Cameo videos to raise money for Coaches vs. Cancer and “would never do anything to disparage any Hawkeye program.”
Despite the offense becoming a national punch line while the defense thrives, a sense of unity continues to permeate the locker room.
Cornerback Riley Moss said some members of the offense have come up to him and said, “Hey, that’s on us.”
“It’s not, though, because it’s a team game,” Moss said. “It could come down to us. We allowed a touchdown. If they didn’t score a touchdown, they didn’t have any points, we would’ve won the game.”
Linebacker Jack Campbell similarly has avoided assigning any blame to the offense. He told reporters after the South Dakota State win he is “always going to have their back” and “never going to point fingers.”
“I’m never going to complain because I have the greatest opportunity in the world,” Campbell said. “Because I love football, and I get to go out there and play football every single day. I can walk, and I can talk, and I can hear and I can see.”
Players have downplayed the critiques of people outside of the Hansen Football Performance Center.
“Most people tweeting stuff are sitting on their couch, drinking beer, drunker than piss, eating potato chips,” Moss said. “Why do I care what this person thinks?”
Moss, a fifth-year senior, wasn’t always so capable of blocking out the noise, though.
“I kind of learned to stay off Twitter and Instagram when I need to,” Moss said. “My freshman year, I didn’t, and that really got the best of me.”
Players have pushed back on questions from reporters.
It’s not just fans on their couches that have drawn ire from Iowa players. When a reporter asked tight end Sam LaPorta what he thought of quarterback Spencer Petras’ performance in Week 2, some of his frustration with the negativity outside the football facility showed.
“The average fan or the average reporter — you guys might s--- on him, but I don’t,” LaPorta said. “I see what he does in practice, and I see the work he puts in on film and everything.”
As for Roberts, he could do without any more airborne french fries or Tater Tots.
“I didn’t know if it was an Iowa State fan that threw it or if it was an Iowa fan trying to hit an Iowa State player,” Roberts said. “But either way, I just feel like we shouldn’t do that.”
Comments: (319) 398-8394; firstname.lastname@example.org