Grading the Iowa football team’s 34-6 victory over Indiana

High marks all around for the Hawkeyes after an impressive performance against the Hoosiers.


Jerod Ringwald

The Iowa football team enters the field before a football game between No. 18 Iowa and No. 17 Indiana at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. The Hawkeyes defeated the Hoosiers 34-6.

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

The No. 18 Iowa football team dismantled No. 17 Indiana, 34-6, on Saturday in a season-opening victory over the Hoosiers at Kinnick Stadium.

The Hawkeyes took the lead 85 seconds into the game and kept it for the rest of regulation.

Here’s how The Daily Iowan’s Pregame Editor Robert Read graded Iowa in all three phases after its impressive victory to open the 2021 campaign.

Offense — B

Tyler Goodson only needed until the fourth play of the season to go off for a 56-yard score. Iowa rotated in offensive linemen around center Tyler Linderbaum, and the team’s rotating front allowed Goodson to run for 99 yards (5.2 per carry) and for Ivory Kelly-Martin to pick up an additional 44 yards (5.5 per carry).

From left to right, Iowa started Mason Richman, Cody Ince, Linderbaum, Justin Britt and Nick DeJong. Connor Colby, Jack Plumb, Beau Stephens, Michael Myslinski and Tyler Elsbury all played at points as well.

Spencer Petras’ statline is far from impressive. The second-year starter at quarterback wen 13-of-27 for 145 yards against Indiana, but avoided any turnovers against an aggressive Indiana secondary. Petras’ most reliable target was tight end Sam LaPorta, who hauled in five passes for 83 yards.

Aside from Goodson’s long run on the first drive of the season, Iowa only put together one touchdown drive against Indiana (which ended in a quarterback draw for a score by Petras).

Defense — A+ (would give higher grade if possible)

Yeah, Phil Parker is pretty good at his job.

Iowa’s defensive coordinator held an offense with Michael Penix Jr. at quarterback and one of the deepest wide receiver corps in the nation to six points, the program’s fewest since 2013. The Hawkeyes forced three turnovers — including two interception returns for touchdowns by cornerback Riley Moss and nearly had a handful of others.

The Hawkeyes dominated at all three levels defensively. Parker rotated nine defensive linemen in within the first two quarters, keeping the Hawkeye front four fresh and disruptive at the line of scrimmage. Linebackers Jack Campbell, Seth Benson, and Jestin Jacobs were all quick to the football and rarely let a play get beyond the second level. In the secondary, Moss was Iowa’s best playmaker, but Matt Hankins rarely was even targeted — a sign of Indiana’s respect for the fifth-year starter.

Special teams — A

Nothing particularly spectacular from Iowa’s special teams on Saturday, but everyone did their jobs.

Charlie Jones returned the opening kickoff 33 yards, and totaled 28 yards via punt return on the day. The reigning Big Ten Punter of the Year, Tory Taylor, averaged 49.5 yards per punt, knocked one inside Indiana’s 20-yard line, and booted another 59 yards. On three other occasions, Taylor’s boots resulted in touchbacks, which were were only a couple yards from being perfect punts that pinned Indiana back deep in its territory. Still, not much to complain about.

Caleb Shudak went two-for-two kicking in his first game as Iowa’s full-time place kicker. One of those kicks, a 41-yarder, came at the end of the first half after Indiana coach Tom Allen called three consecutive timeouts. Can’t take them with you, I guess.