Iowa Football

What if Iowa QB Spencer Petras is really good?

Start the countdown for the Iowa-Minnesota Friday night game in September

Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras (7) passes to running back Tyler Goodson (15) in the fourth quarter of the Hawkeyes' gam
Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras (7) passes to running back Tyler Goodson (15) in the fourth quarter of the Hawkeyes' game against Middle Tennessee at Kinnick Stadium last Sept. 28. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

Have you noticed people only seem to be annoyed or even outraged about sports awards when it involves someone from their favorite team?

Shouldn’t we stand up and fight all injustice? Maybe not.

They’re awards. Of course they’re subjective and bogus. Unless you win one. Then, the electorate is sensible and wise.

Anyway, lots of Iowa fans have complained about Keith Duncan, a consensus first-team All-American, not winning the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top kicker. It instead went to Rodrigo Blankenship of Georgia.

You can’t have everything. Where would you put it? Thank you, Steven Wright, who also said “I intend to live forever. So far, so good.”

Look, if voters actually got things right ... I know, I know. Don’t go there.

But about Groza: His career kicking mark in pro football was 264 of 481 field goals for 54.9 percent. Any kicker at any college team who isn’t making 54.9 percent of his field goals isn’t kicking field goals for very long. Of the 111 FBS kickers who attempted enough field goals to qualify for the national lead in percentage this season, only one made less than 54.9 percent.

Well, times change. Groza was the premier kicker of his time, someone who played in an era (1946-1967) when most teams made less than half of their field goal tries. His list of accomplishments in kicking is long, and he also played offensive tackle.

Duncan had a wonderful season for Iowa in 2019. But the Hawkeyes would rarely have gotten into field goal range had Duncan (5-foot-10, 180 pounds) been one of their two offensive tackles.

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• Speaking of college football, Clemson is playing LSU in Monday night’s national championship game. The previous four title games were Alabama-Clemson, Alabama-Clemson, Alabama-Georgia and Alabama-Clemson. Kind of monotonous, isn’t it? Regional, too.

In Division I men’s basketball, 13 different schools were in national title games in the 2010s, and no one appeared more than twice. Two different Big Ten teams (Wisconsin, Michigan) have been to the basketball national title game since the last time one was in the football championship.

• Do you realize Minnesota is going to be very near a spot in the final football top 10? Iowa plays the Gophers, with nine offensive starters returning, in Minneapolis on Friday night, Sept. 18. That’s six days after the Hawkeyes play Iowa State and the Gophers host Tennessee Tech.

• I saw the football stadiums in Iowa City, Ames and Lincoln, Neb., last week. Empty coliseums. They are used an average of less than once per month. How would you explain to someone from another planet why such huge pieces of real estate are occupied so rarely?

Then, how would you explain to us that you tried to explain something to someone from another planet?

 So, Iowa has Duncan back for one more season. It also has wide receivers Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Brandon Smith, Tyrone Tracy and Nico Ragaini and tight end Sam LaPorta returning, and has a running back in Tyler Goodson, who caught 24 passes in 2019 as a freshman. What if new starting quarterback Spencer Petras is, you know, really good?

Petras completed six passes in 2019 for a total of 25 yards. One assumes he’ll average more than 4.2 yards per completion in the future.

“Probably the strongest arm we’ve had at Marin Catholic,” that high school’s coach, Mazi Moayed, said in 2017. Which may not overwhelm you unless you knew Moayed coached Jared Goff, the first pick in the 2016 NFL draft and the player who quarterbacked the Los Angeles Rams in last year’s Super Bowl.

As a senior at Marin Catholic, Petras had 50 touchdown passes and two interceptions.

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“The ball just jumps out of his hands,” Moayed said in early 2018, “He’s got a major league arm.”

Yowsah! Circle that Friday night Sept. 18 date for Iowa-Minnesota. Unless you have a high school game to concern yourself with that evening.

 I’d be more interested in Monday’s football title game if Gonzaga were playing Villanova.

Comments: (319) 368-8840; mike.hlas@thegazette.com

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