Iowa football notebook | Ferentz explains quarterback situation, Moss likely to play

Quarterback Spencer Petras is medically cleared to play but is still not at 100 percent for the Hawkeyes.


Grace Smith

Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras looks to pass during a football game between No. 19 Iowa and Northwestern at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois, on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. The Hawkeyes defeated the Wildcats 17-12.

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras is medically cleared to play against Minnesota on Saturday but is not listed on Iowa’s depth chart because of concerns over whether he can be effective, head coach Kirk Ferentz said on Tuesday.

Alex Padilla, who is in line to make his first career start against the Golden Gophers, replaced Petras late in the first quarter of the Hawkeyes’ 17-12 win over Northwestern. Petras didn’t have any “zip” on the ball, Ferentz said, and was removed after three series because of a shoulder injury he suffered in Iowa’s loss to Wisconsin on Oct. 30. The redshirt junior has been taking “mental reps” this week but has not been practicing.

A depth chart released on Monday lists Padilla as the starting quarterback and redshirt freshman Deuce Hogan as the backup. Ferentz said if Iowa was playing a game on Wednesday, Petras would not play. 

“Our strategy really has been to rest him,” Ferentz said. “We’ll see what he can do [Wednesday] and see how he looks. He’s feeling pretty well. It’s a matter of throwing the ball effectively …  For a quarterback, if you can’t throw it effectively, it’s tough.

“All of us are in the mindset that Alex will play and we’ll see where it all takes us from there.”

Petras, who has started Iowa’s last 17 games (winning 13 of them), finished 2-for-4 for four yards before being pulled after three offensive drives against the Wildcats.

Padilla, a redshirt sophomore who has served as Iowa’s backup the past two seasons, went 18-for-28 for 172 yards through just over three quarters of action and led the Hawkeyes on scoring drives on each of his first two possessions leading the offense.

Snaps against Northwestern were the first competitive reps Padilla has taken in his Hawkeye career.

Ferentz complimented Padilla’s play, saying he thought Padilla “executed things pretty well” and “kept a real good demeanor.” The 23rd-year Hawkeye head coach noted that with Padilla as the starter, there is pressure on Hogan to fill the backup role. As the third-string quarterback, Hogan didn’t see many reps in practice.

RELATED: Alex Padilla listed as Iowa’s starting quarterback ahead of Minnesota game

“The advantage of being a two is you get a lot of work during the course of the week,” Ferentz said. “It’s hard to practice three quarterbacks. Obviously, [Deuce] has been here for a while and he’s been paying attention and watching. He has gotten some work, but not as much as Alex.”

When asked whether Padilla will stay the starter when Petras is fully healthy, Ferentz said:

“Yeah, Alex is helping himself or helped himself Saturday. So the good news as we stand here today, which is really premature. 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.”

Moss likely to play against Minnesota, other injury updates

Iowa cornerback Riley Moss is practicing and on track to play for the first time since injuring his knee against Penn State on Oct. 9.

“He’s feeling pretty good right now,” Ferentz said. “Unless we hit a pothole along the way he’ll be full throttle Saturday. Anytime you’re getting guys back that’s a helpful thing especially veteran players like Riley. He was playing at a high level.”

Moss is tied for the Big Ten lead in interceptions (four) despite missing Iowa’s last three games.

In other injury news, Ferentz said that if Iowa was playing tomorrow, cornerback Terry Roberts (missed last two games) and starting left tackle Mason Richman (hurt against Northwestern) would not be playing. No. 2 running back Ivory Kelly-Martin is in a “delicate” situation with a foot injury, Ferentz added.

Roberts started one game in Moss’ absence before suffering his own injury. Jermari Harris has started Iowa’s last two games and recorded his first interception against Northwestern.

Kelly-Martin suited up in Evanston but did not play. Gavin Williams took on the role as the second running back behind starter Tyler Goodson, rushing for 41 yards on 10 attempts.