No. 5 Hawkeyes looking for more consistency from offense

Sep 14, 2021, 1:42 AM | Updated: 1:44 pm
Iowa State defensive end Will McDonald (9) sacks Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras (7) during the fir...

Iowa State defensive end Will McDonald (9) sacks Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras (7) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)

(AP Photo/Matthew Putney)

              Iowa running back Tyler Goodson (15) runs the ball during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa State, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa won 27-17. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)
              Iowa State defensive end Will McDonald (9) sacks Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras (7) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Thanks to a strong defense, No. 5 Iowa has its highest ranking since 2015. The Hawkeyes need more production from their offense if they’re going to stay there.

“Obviously we haven’t done as good as we think we can as an offense,” left tackle Mason Richman said. “And I think that’s exciting, especially after winning both games. It means we can keep getting better, keep improving as a unit.”

The Hawkeyes (2-0, 1-0 Big Ten) beat consecutive ranked opponents in Indiana and Iowa State. But they are last in the Big Ten in rushing, passing and total offense and three of the team’s seven touchdowns have been scored by the defense.

“We’ve gotten a lot of help from our defense,” tight end Luke Lachey said. “It’s a team sport, and we’ll take that, for sure. But our offense isn’t where we think it can be, and it starts everywhere.”

The Hawkeyes got two interception returns for touchdowns from cornerback Riley Moss in the 34-6 season-opening win over Indiana. Linebacker Jack Campbell had a fumble return for a touchdown, and Iowa got 20 points off four Iowa State turnovers in last Saturday’s 27-17 win. Iowa’s defense has forced seven turnovers, leading to 37 points, to start the season.

The Hawkeyes rank 126th out of 130 FBS teams in total offense, averaging 238 yards per game. They are 104th in rushing offense (112.5 yards per game) and 122nd in passing (125.5 yards per game).

The Hawkeyes had minus-6 yards of offense in the third quarter against Iowa State but scored 10 points in the quarter on Campbell’s return and Caleb Shudak’s field goal set up by an interception by linebacker Seth Benson.

Punter Tory Taylor has been a part of the Hawkeyes’ success as well. Taylor ranks sixth nationally with an average of 50.4 yards per punt, with seven of his 14 going for 50 yards or more and six punts landing inside the opponents’ 20-yard line.

“Tory does a great job of pinning teams back inside the 10,” receiver Charlie Jones said. “He’s one of the best, if not the best.”

The expected playmakers on offense have been steady without a lot of impact.

Quarterback Spencer Petras, in his second season as a starter, has completed 24 of 48 passes for 251 yards and a touchdown. Running back Tyler Goodson has 154 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Sam LaPorta leads the team with six catches for 104 yards.

The Hawkeyes’ offensive line is young outside of center Tyler Linderbaum, a preseason Associated Press All-American. Richman is a redshirt freshman, right tackle Nick DeJong is a sophomore, right guard Justin Britt is a sophomore and left guard Cody Ince is a junior.

Senior right guard Kyler Schott, who broke his foot in a farm accident before preseason practice began, is expected to return Saturday against Kent State.

“I look at our football team coming out of August, we’re young at both lines, from an experience standpoint,” coach Kirk Ferentz said. “You look at the offensive line, we expected some bumps, at least I did. It was part of the process. I am pleased with how the guys have held up. What I would be concerned about is if we didn’t see continual growth.”

It has helped that the Hawkeyes have built big leads in both games. They led 31-3 at halftime against Indiana and had a 27-10 lead early in the fourth quarter against Iowa State. That has allowed the offense to play at a different tempo.

“We want to be as aggressive as possible,” Jones said. “But that’s kind of out of our control a little bit. That’s up to the coaches.”

Ferentz said he expects there will be improvement.

“Certainly we don’t have the consistency we need,” he said. “But it will come.”


More AP college football: and Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter:

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9), wide receiver Tee Higgins (85) and Cincinnati...
Associated Press

Bengals powered by 3 young stars: Burrow, Chase, Higgins

CINCINNATI (AP) — Joe Burrow says the Cincinnati Bengals’ championship window should stay open for years. “The window is my whole career,” the franchise quarterback said matter-of-factly after the Bengals clinched their second straight AFC North title. His confidence is understandable given the offensive weapons available: Receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins have gained 1,000 […]
1 day ago
San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans speaks at a news conference before an NFL fo...
Associated Press

NFC title game a Philly reunion for 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — DeMeco Ryans’ influence on the NFC championship runs through both locker rooms. Ryans finished his playing career as a linebacker for Philadelphia, earning the nickname “Mufasa” (from “The Lion King”) for the leadership skills that he taught the handful of teammates still on the Eagles that have been carried forward […]
1 day ago
FILE - Alex Hall of the United States, checks the score following his run in the slopestyle finals,...
Associated Press

Winter X daredevils ride fine line between height, happiness

ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — Freestyle skier Alex Hall’s happy place this winter has been sliding down hand rails outside of offices and schools all over Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and other midwestern spots. The steeper and twistier, the better. Last winter, he found happiness at the Beijing Olympics on a run that nobody mistook for […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Georgia: SUV in crash was for recruiting, not personal use

Georgia athletic department officials say the vehicle involved in a crash that killed a football player and employee on Jan. 15 was to be used only for recruiting activities, not personal use. The University of Georgia athletic association provided that information in a statement to The Associated Press on Saturday, saying personal use of the […]
1 day ago
FILE - Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy (15) during an NCAA college football game between Iowa St...
Associated Press

Hurts, Purdy set for college-era rematch in NFC title tilt

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jalen Hurts and Brock Purdy could be primed for a shootout in the NFC championship game. It’s the first time Hurts — the league MVP finalist for the Philadelphia Eagles — and Purdy, the ” Mr. Irrelevant ” rookie sensation for the San Francisco 49ers, have matched up in the NFL. And […]
1 day ago
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pays his respects to victims of a deadly helicopter crash d...
Associated Press

Russia issue looms for Paris Olympics, Zelenskyy rebukes IOC

GENEVA (AP) — The question of if and how Russia competes at the Olympics hangs over the 2024 Paris Summer Games. Just as it has now for five straight Olympics during Thomas Bach’s leadership of the IOC, whose support this week for some Russians to compete in Paris was publicly challenged Friday by Ukrainian President […]
1 day ago
No. 5 Hawkeyes looking for more consistency from offense