Halftime reactions | No. 22 Kentucky leads No. 15 Iowa, 13-3

The Wildcats scored on their opening drive and tacked on two field goals to lead by 10 midway through the Citrus Bowl.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras delivers a pass during the 2022 Vrbo Citrus Bowl between No. 15 Iowa and No. 22 Kentucky at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022.

Robert Read and Austin Hanson

ORLANDO, Fla. — The No. 22 Kentucky football team leads No. 15 Iowa, 13-3, at halftime of the Citrus Bowl at Camping World Stadium.

The Wildcats opened the scoring with a 13-play, 80-yard scoring drive. After Iowa kicked a field goal to make it 7-3, Kentucky tacked on two field goals of its own to lead by 10 points at the break. DI Pregame Editor Robert Read and Sports Editor Austin Hanson are on location covering the Citrus Bowl. Below are their reactions to the first half.

Check back to dailyiowan.com for coverage throughout the day.

Defense keeping this from being worse

I swear I have to write the same thing every game.

Given Iowa’s offensive challenges in the first half (Austin will have more on that below), it’s amazing Iowa only trails by 10 points. Kentucky has dominated time of possession in the first half (nearly doubling Iowa’s time with the ball), so the Hawkeye defenders have been forced to compete in the hot Florida sun for most of the game. Aside from the first drive for Kentucky, which saw the Wildcats command the field on the way to the end zone, Iowa has kept things from getting out of hand.

Iowa already has three sacks and six tackles for loss on the afternoon.

The Hawkeyes held Kentucky to a field goal after a Spencer Petras interception set up the Wildcats in Iowa territory. Defensive back Jack Koerner also came up with a huge pass breakup on that drive to keep Kentucky to three. Iowa’s defense hasn’t been perfect. There was the nearly perfect Kentucky opening drive, plus a third-and-26 that Kentucky converted that set up a field goal, but the Hawkeye defense is keeping the team in the game.

That’s more than the offense can say. A lot more.

– Robert Read, Pregame Editor.

New year, same Iowa offense

Sometimes, it feels like Daily Iowan Pregame Editor Robert Read and I are trapped in a time loop. For the better part of the last three months, he and I have sat in press boxes throughout the country covering Iowa football games.

When we discuss what we want to write for these halftime reactions stories, we always determine that the conversation needs to be about how bad Iowa’s offense is.

The new year is finally upon us, but Iowa’s offense is still the same. The Hawkeyes had nearly a month to prepare for this game. Their offense still doesn’t work.

Iowa scored three points in the first half of the Big Ten Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Dec. 4. The Hawkeyes finished that game with three points and a 42-3 loss to the Michigan Wolverines on their résumé.

In today’s game, Iowa scored three points in the first half. If the Hawkeyes’ offense doesn’t get it going in the second half against the Wildcats, Iowa runs the risk of getting blown out of the water like they did in Indy.

Quarterback Spencer Petras has thrown two interceptions — though one came on a hail mary at the end of the half. Petras has completed 10 of his 16 passes for 82 yards.

As a whole, the Hawkeyes’ offense has picked up 126 yards.

I’m not sure that switching to backup Alex Padilla will even help Iowa’s offense at this point. Maybe give third-stringer Joey Labas a shot?

I don’t have the solutions to Iowa’s offensive woes, and neither does Brian Ferentz

– Austin Hanson, Sports Editor