Ruden: Young Hawkeyes showing positive signs for future

Iowa’s young players getting in on the action — and doing well — is a positive sign for the future.

Iowa+wide+receiver+Tyrone+Tracy%2C+Jr.+celebrates+after+a+catch+during+a+football+game+between+Iowa+and+Rutgers+at+Kinnick+Stadium+on+Saturday%2C+September+7%2C+2019.+The+Hawkeyes+defeated+the+Scarlet+Knights%2C+30-0.
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Ruden: Young Hawkeyes showing positive signs for future

Iowa wide receiver Tyrone Tracy, Jr. celebrates after a catch during a football game between Iowa and Rutgers at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, September 7, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Scarlet Knights, 30-0.

Iowa wide receiver Tyrone Tracy, Jr. celebrates after a catch during a football game between Iowa and Rutgers at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, September 7, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Scarlet Knights, 30-0.

Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa wide receiver Tyrone Tracy, Jr. celebrates after a catch during a football game between Iowa and Rutgers at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, September 7, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Scarlet Knights, 30-0.

Shivansh Ahuja

Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa wide receiver Tyrone Tracy, Jr. celebrates after a catch during a football game between Iowa and Rutgers at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, September 7, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Scarlet Knights, 30-0.

Pete Ruden, Pregame Editor

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Iowa’s second game of the season and first Big Ten game of 2019 couldn’t have gone much better for the Hawkeyes.

Iowa utilized a balanced attack on offense, passing the ball with ease until the run game figured out a way to get going. On the defensive side of the ball, the Hawkeyes put up one of the most impressive performances in college football, holding the Scarlet Knights to just 41 passing yards and 125 total yards en route to pitching a shutout.

Putting together a complete performance in a conference game this early in the season can only mean good things for Iowa moving forward, especially when so many fresh faces contributed.

After all, there were so many young bright spots on both sides of the ball, and the end result was never in question.

Iowa’s balance was apparent on offense, as it threw for 244 yards and ran for another 194. Speaking of positives for the future, the Hawkeyes got a good glimpse of their young players that could play key roles this year and beyond.

After catching one pass for 22 yards in his first college game against Miami (Ohio), redshirt freshman wide receiver Tyrone Tracy hauled in three passes for 42 yards and a touchdown on a crossing route for the best performance of his young career.

True freshman running back Tyler Goodson looked like a legitimate threat on the ground. He picked up 53 yards on 10 carries, including a 19-yard rush on his first touch that showcased his vision in just his second college game.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Spencer Petras even got in on the action, completing 3-of-6 passes for 8 yards. Although he didn’t put up gaudy numbers by any means, he didn’t make glaring mistakes in his first game action.

Sophomore Jack Koerner — a former walk-on — made his first start against the Scarlet Knights as well, making 4 tackles without letting the big stage get to him.

Combine those performances, and Iowa might need to buy a pair of Ray-Bans, because the future looks bright.

If these players can continue to contribute right away — and Iowa hasn’t shied away from not redshirting young players — that’s even better for the Hawkeyes.

It adds another dynamic to what is already considered a solid offense and impressive defense just on veteran merit.

It’s not as if the Hawkeyes are dependent on their younger players, though. 

There’s no chance Iowa puts up anything close to the same numbers without Nate Stanley at quarterback, Ihmir Smith-Marsette at wide receiver, A.J. Epenesa on the defensive line, and Michael Ojemudia in the secondary.

But that doesn’t mean the extra contributions don’t help. It helps Iowa now, and it’ll help the group develop when they’re called upon more in the future.

There’s no better time to get these new players experience. It won’t last long, though. Iowa won’t get to play Rutgers and Miami (Ohio) every week.

Soon, the Big Ten schedule will be running teams ragged across the conference. Now that Iowa’s young players are getting the experience they need, they’ll be ready when they’re called upon.

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