Halftime reactions: Colorado State leads No. 5 Iowa, 14-7

The Hawkeyes are trailing at halftime for the first time this season.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa running back Tyler Goodson finds a gap during a football game between Iowa and Colorado State at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021.

Robert Read and Austin Hanson

The No. 5 Iowa football team trails Colorado State, 14-7, at halftime of their Saturday matchup at Kinnick Stadium.

Iowa took a 7-0 lead toward the start of the second quarter, courtesy of a 43-yard scoring connection between quarterback Spencer Petras and wide receiver Keagan Johnson. The catch was the first of Johnson’s career. The freshman has two catches for 92 yards and a score in the first half.

Kent State scored two touchdowns in the final 3:55 of the half to take the advantage going into the locker room. DI Pregame Editor Robert Read and Sports Editor Austin Hanson are in the press box covering the game. Here are their thoughts from the first half

What did I just watch

What an ugly first half for Iowa. And all three phases were ugly at some point.

Iowa’s defense is doing uncharacteristic things. The Rams have gained 172 yards already, and converted 9-of-13 of their third downs. Oh, and they’ve already scored twice. Not that the defense has the offense or special teams to thank much.

After a third-and-long handoff to Monte Pottebaum was stuffed way short of the first down (surprise, surprise, that play call didn’t work), Tory Taylor shanked a put and set up Colorado State with great field position on their first scoring drive.

Petras snapped his interception-free streak at 163 throws when he tried to force a pass to Tyrone Tracy Jr. in the red zone. The ball was picked off by Colorado State’s Robert Floyd and ran back 62 yards, setting the Rams up at the Hawkeye 23-yard line. Colorado State scored five plays later with 24 seconds remaining in the half for touchdown No. 2.

Johnson may be the only bright spot of the first half for Iowa.

I’d imagine the Hawkeye locker room isn’t pleasant right now. Given the first-half performance, it shouldn’t be.

– Robert Read, Pregame Editor

Iowa’s offense needs a jump-start

The Hawkeyes’ offense might be good enough to beat the Rams today, but its current level of production won’t lead to many wins in Big Ten play.

In the first half of their game against the Rams, the Hawkeyes produced just 179 yards of offense. Only 57 of those yards came on the ground. Junior running back Tyler Goodson has just 41 yards rushing.

If the Rams’ and other foes Iowa faces this season continue to slow Goodson, Petras and the Iowa passing game will have to get going. 

The Hawkeyes’ passing attack has yet to shine this season. Petras’ season-high passing yards total is 209 against Kent State last week.

If Petras is forced to pass more this afternoon and throughout the season, he may be more apt to make mistakes like the interception he threw at the end of the first half.

Petras hadn’t been good prior to Iowa’s game against Colorado State, but he hadn’t turned it over.

If Petras is forced to throw more and continues to turn the ball over because opponents fully commit to stopping the Hawkeyes’ run game, Iowa won’t win a lot of its Big Ten games.

Perhaps the kick start Iowa needs is a change at QB. According The Athletic, backup QB Alex Padilla narrowed the gap between himself and Petras this offseason.

With the offense struggling and Petras turning the ball over, Iowa’s coaching staff now has a reason to go to Padilla — maybe even as soon as today.

Switching from Petras to Padilla could be the move that helps Iowa’s offense flip the switch and get going.

At minimum, Iowa has seen what it has with Petras. The Hawkeyes don’t, however, know what they have with Padilla. Why not give the backup a chance? If he falters and Iowa’s offense struggles, the Hawkeyes can always go back to Petras.

– Austin Hanson, Sports Editor

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