Iowa QB Alex Padilla preparing for 1st start against Gophers

Nov 8, 2021, 11:56 PM | Updated: Nov 9, 2021, 1:57 pm
Iowa quarterback Alex Padilla looks to pass against Northwestern during the first half of an NCAA c...

Iowa quarterback Alex Padilla looks to pass against Northwestern during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Alex Padilla got his first opportunity to play meaningful snaps for Iowa and did enough to impress coach Kirk Ferentz.

Now he’s days away from what probably will be his first start in place of the injured Spencer Petras.

The sophomore is listed No. 1 on the depth chart for Saturday’s home game against Minnesota, and he’s been working with Iowa’s No. 1 offensive unit all week.

“Based on what I’ve seen the last two days, he’s handling it,” Ferentz said Tuesday. “I don’t want to call him low-key, but he’s a steady, even-keeled person, and that helps at that position.”

Padilla is in his second year as Petras’ backup and saw limited action in four games this season before he took over on Iowa’s fourth possession in a 17-12 win at Northwestern last week.

“I can’t say enough about how Alex went in and performed,” Ferentz said. “I’m not a quarterback guru or anything like that. You watched him and it was like, ‘OK, no big deal.’ “

Padilla was called on after Petras, who injured his shoulder against Wisconsin on Oct. 30, was ineffective on Iowa’s first three drives.

Padilla led the Hawkeyes to back-to-back touchdowns, then managed the game the rest of the way. He completed 18 of 28 passes for 172 yards.

“You’ve got to prepare every week like you’re the starter,” Padilla said after Saturday’s game — he wasn’t available Tuesday because of a class conflict. “You just have to be ready and waiting for your opportunity, and don’t waste that opportunity when it comes around.”

Ferentz said he thought Petras would be good to go against Northwestern, but he completed just 2 of 4 passes for 4 yards and was struggling with the accuracy and velocity of his throws.

Padilla said he knew his time to play was coming from listening to the discussion among offensive coaches over the headset.

“It was kind of out of the blue, a surprise to me,” he said. “But there was no time to think about it. You just have to go in and execute the plays.”

Ferentz said he had no doubt Padilla was capable of leading the team.

“You just hope guys are going to step up and do the job,” Ferentz said. “There was no reason to think he wouldn’t, but you still have to do it. I thought he kept a real clear head, kept a really good demeanor about him, and really executed things pretty well for us.”

Padilla threw for 5,684 yards in his high school career in Greenwood Village, Colorado. He redshirted at Iowa in 2019, then played in two games last season in mop-up duty. He’s 22 of 42 passes for 233 yards in five games this season.

Ferentz said Padilla’s experience against Northwestern was the best preparation for what might lie ahead, depending on how Petras heals and how Padilla plays.

“It’s like driving a car in some ways,” Ferentz said. “At some point you have to get on the highway or drive in the city. It’s all positive. But there’s going to be ups and downs, like every player.”

Ferentz said Petras is medically cleared to play, but he hasn’t practiced so far this week to rest his shoulder.

“We’ll see what he can do tomorrow, see how he looks,” Ferentz said. “He’s feeling pretty well, it’s a matter of throwing the ball effectively.”

It’s unclear how the quarterback position will look for the Hawkeyes for the rest of the season. Petras has led Iowa to a 13-4 record in his 17 career starts.

“Alex is helping himself, or helped himself, Saturday,” Ferentz said. “So the good news as we stand here today, which is really premature, is we have two guys that have played pretty well. We know more now than we did a week ago, that’s for sure. And I’d love to have both guys healthy, ready to go. See where it all goes here.”


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.


Calgary Flames' Adam Ruzicka celebrates his goal against the Washington Capitals during the third p...
Associated Press

Andrew Mangiapane scores twice, Flames beat Capitals 5-2

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Andrew Mangiapane scored twice, Adam Ruzicka had a goal and two assists and the Calgary Flames beat the Washington Capitals 5-2 on Saturday night. Blake Coleman and Elias Lindholm — into an empty net — also scored for Calgary and Mikael Backlund had assists. Dan Vladar stopped 27 shots. Conor Sheary […]
24 hours ago
Vancouver Canucks' Brock Boeser (6) scores against Arizona Coyotes goalie Karel Vejmelka during the...
Associated Press

Horvat lifts Canucks past road-weary Coyotes 3-2 in OT

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Bo Horvat scored his second goal of the game at 4:09 of overtime and the struggling Vancouver Canucks beat the road-weary Arizona Coyotes 3-2 on Saturday night. Brock Boeser also scored for the Canucks. Spencer Martin stopped 21 shots in his first start since starter Thatcher Demko suffered a lower-body […]
24 hours ago
Associated Press

Osborne, No. 15 UCLA women beat UC Santa Barbara 68-57

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — Charisma Osborne scored 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting, Kiki Rice added 14 points and eight rebounds and No. 15 UCLA overcame a cold-shooting start to beat UC Santa Barbara 68-57 Saturday night. Gabriela Jaquez made 5 of 7 from the field and scored 12 points for UCLA (8-1), which rebounded […]
24 hours ago
Florida Panthers center Carter Verhaeghe (23) skates from the goal after scoring his second goal of...
Associated Press

Panthers snap Kraken’s seven-game win streak with 5-1 win

SEATTLE (AP) — Carter Verhaeghe’s first-period scoring flurry and a standout performance in goal from Spencer Knight brought the longest active win streak in the NHL to a halt. Verhaeghe scored twice 26 seconds apart in the first period, Matthew Tkachuk scored his 12th goal and had an assist, and the Florida Panthers snapped Seattle’s […]
24 hours ago
Associated Press

UNLV remains unbeaten with 95-78 romp over San Diego

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Luis Rodriguez finished with 19 points, EJ Harkless scored 17 and UNLV remained unbeaten with a 95-78 victory over San Diego on Saturday night. Rodriguez sank 7 of 9 shots with three 3-pointers for the Rebels (8-0). Harkless added five assists. Justin Webster made all four of his 3-point shots and […]
24 hours ago
Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons (1) shoots as Utah Jazz forward Jarred Vanderbilt (8) ...
Associated Press

Simons’ career-best 45 points carries Portland past Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Anfernee Simons scored a career-high 45 points and blocked a potential 3-pointer with 4.6 seconds left to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 116-111 win over the Utah Jazz on Saturday night. “I wanted to be aggressive and set the tone for my teammates,” Simons said. “Early on, let […]
24 hours ago
Iowa QB Alex Padilla preparing for 1st start against Gophers