Grading the Iowa football team’s 42-3 loss to Michigan in the Big Ten Championship Game

Performances in all three phases were lacking against the Wolverines.


Jerod Ringwald

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh holds up the Big Ten Championship trophy during the Big Ten Championship game between No. 13 Iowa and No. 2 Michigan at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. The Wolverines became Big Ten Champions after defeating the Hawkeyes, 42-3.

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

INDIANAPOLIS — Daily Iowan Pregame Editor Robert Read graded the Iowa football team’s performance in all three phases after the Hawkeyes’ 42-3 loss to Michigan in the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday.

Offense — D-

Might as well start by getting this one out of the way. Iowa didn’t score any touchdowns against Michigan. Neither quarterback was particularly potent in leading the Hawkeye offense. Spencer Petras was 9-of-22 before being benched with an injury to his “torso.” Somewhat miraculously, Alex Padilla completed 10 passes, but only threw for 38 yards.

Iowa’s running game was largely nonexistent (3.2 yards per carry) until garbage time. But, hey, they set up a lot of punts and flipped field position (sighs). Yeah, everyone noticed the punts in the fourth quarter while the Hawkeyes trailed by multiple scores.

Defense — C-

Iowa’s defense allowed its first run of over 30 yards all season, two scores of over 60 yards, and six total touchdowns on the day. The Hawkeyes allowed their most points since the 2016 Rose Bowl, which I’m sure is bringing back some nasty memories for certain fans. The Hawkeye defense settled down after allowing two early scores and gave Iowa’s offense plenty of chances to come back from a 14-3 deficit. Well, that didn’t happen.

Special teams — D

Not even special teams could save Iowa this week.

Kicker Caleb Shudak missed a 33-yard field goal on Iowa’s first possession that cost the Hawkeyes from ever having a lead. Punter Tory Taylor had a punt blocked. Charlie Jones didn’t look right as a punt returner. Nothing went right here, and nothing went right for the Hawkeyes.