By the numbers | Where the Hawkeyes succeeded against the Spartans

The team’s first victory of the season contained some significant statistics.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa wideout Brandon Smith runs after a catch during a football game between Iowa and Michigan State in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. The Hawkeyes dominated the Spartans, 49-7. Smith caught Petras lone touchdown pass.

Isaac Goffin, Assistant Sports Editor

Iowa football bucked its losing trend on Saturday with a 49-7 over Michigan State at Kinnick Stadium. All three phases of the game were successful for the Hawkeyes.

The game was Iowa’s first victory of the season after losing two close games in the first two weeks.

The domination by the Hawkeyes was evident in several telling numbers.

Zero – Iowa turnovers

It might have been overlooked, but indeed the Hawkeyes were clean with the ball against the Spartans, which is important compared to their turnovers in the previous two games.

In Week 1 at Purdue, Iowa committed two turnovers. Iowa running backs Tyler Goodson and Mekhi Sargent each fumbled the ball once, and Sargent’s fumble led to Purdue’s game-winning drive.

In the home-opener, which Week 2 against Northwestern, Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras threw three interceptions in the second half which helped prevent Iowa from scoring that half. But on Saturday, the running backs kept control of the ball, and Petras had a better touch on his passes than he did the week before.

The Spartans, however, committed three turnovers, all interceptions thrown by quarterback Rocky Lombardi.

226 – Net yards rushing

During the first two weeks of the season, the Hawkeyes had a combined 181 rushing yards. In Week 3, Iowa surpassed that total in one game.

Goodson ran for 113 yards, half of the team’s total 226. He scored two touchdowns on the day, both of which came from within Michigan State’s 10-yard line.

Wide receiver Charlie Jones ran the ball twice on end arounds. His first attempt went for 27 yards to help set up Goodson’s first score of the day, and then his second attempt came when the game was already a blowout, though it did set up a touchdown for Sargent.

Speaking of Sargent, he had 31 yards for two TDs, both of which also came within 10 yards.

RELATED: By the numbers | Iowa’s football through two games of the season

167 – Passing yards

It was Iowa’s first win of the season but starting quarterback Spencer Petras threw for the lowest number of yards he had in a game this season.

The San Rafael, California, native went 15-of-27 for 167 yards and one touchdown, a 14-yard pass into the end zone which wide receiver Brandon Smith grabbed out of the air.

Petras’ performance was much improved from last week, when he went 26-of-50 passing and didn’t get much help out of the running game.

Four – Receivers over 30 yards

Petras was generous in giving the ball to his teammates, as he completed at least one pass to seven of them.

Receiver Tyrone Tracy led the team with 38 receiving yards on the day, 24 of which came on one play toward the end of the third quarter. Smith was the second leading receiver with 35 yards.

The longest catch for Iowa on the day came from receiver Nico Ragaini, who caught a 28-yard pass on a third-and-seven in the middle of the first quarter.

Five – Punts inside the 20-yard line

Another week and another great performance from punter Tory Taylor. He had seven punts of the day for an average of 45.9 yards. His longest was 61 yards, and he had zero touchbacks and five punts downed inside Michigan State’s 20.

On the season, Taylor’s averaging 46 yards per punt.