Halftime reactions | Iowa football scores two offensive touchdowns, leads Nevada 17-0

The Hawkeyes have surpassed the total number of points they scored in Weeks 1 and 2 in two quarters of action against the Wolf Pack.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa wide receiver Arland Bruce IV catches a touchdown pass during a football game between Iowa and Nevada at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022.

Austin Hanson and Isaac Goffin

Iowa football’s offense came to life in the first half of its Week 3 matchup with Nevada Saturday at Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeyes scored 14 points and gained 199 yards.

Iowa’s first touchdown of the game from true freshman running back Kaleb Johnson, who scored on 40-yard run up the middle. The Hawkeyes’ second TD came from senior quarterback Spencer Petras, who connected with wideout Arland Bruce for a 21-yard touchdown with 23 seconds left in the first quarter. The Petras-Bruce touchdown was the first the Hawkeyes have scored through the air this season.

The passing touchdown was Petras’ first since the 2022 Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1. The last time Petras threw two touchdowns in a game was on Oct. 9, 2021, when the Hawkeyes beat the then-No. 4 Penn State Nittany Lions, 23-30.

Iowa’s defense held Nevada scoreless and to 64 yards of total offense. Defensive back Cooper DeJean picked off one of QB Shane Illingworth’s passes with two minutes and 43 seconds left in the first quarter.

Iowa’s defense currently ranks sixth in the nation. It’s let up one total touchdown and 216 yards per game this season.

The Hawkeyes’ and Wolf Pack are still on track to start the second half on time — though lightning was spotted near Kinnick Stadium during halftime. Should lightning be detected within eight miles of Kinnick Stadium, play will be suspended for at least 30 minutes. Each strike of lightning resets the delay clock to 30 minutes.

Don’t get too excited about Iowa’s offense just yet

Iowa’s offense scored two touchdowns in the first half. One of them even came through the air out of Petras’ right hand.

The Hawkeyes have also seen marked improvement in the run game, picking up about 93 total yards or 4.4 per rush.

While this is the first time Iowa’s offense has shown a pulse, and there’s certainly room for optimism, I’d caution Hawkeye fans to proceed with caution.

I think what we’re seeing from Iowa’s offense might be a bit of a mirage. Nevada came into Saturday’s contest ranked 95th in the nation in total defense. The Wolf Pack surrendered 55 points to Incarnate Word — an FCS school — last week.

Through its first three games of the season, Nevada has let up almost 405 yards per game. If the Hawkeyes couldn’t move the ball against the Wolf Pack, they weren’t going to move it against any team.

I know the Hawkeyes got Nico Ragaini and Keagan Johnson back this week, and some might point to that as a tide-turning moment. But through one half Johnson has one catch for seven yards and Ragaini hasn’t touched the ball.

Iowa’s offense hasn’t been good because it has its top options at wideout and running back in its lineup. The Hawkeyes have played well because they’re facing a bad team.

If Iowa can do this against a Big Ten team, I’ll give them credit. For now, I think the Hawkeyes’ offense can’t be dubbed “fixed” or “good” until the play the Michigan Wolverines on Oct. 1.

— Austin Hanson, Pregame Editor

Hawkeye defense strong again

For the third week in a row, Iowa’s stout defense has shown up at Kinnick Stadium. It’s the first time the Hawkeyes haven’t allowed any points in the first half in 2022.

The Hawkeyes allowed 64 yards to the Wolf Pack. After starting quarterback Shane Cox last week, Nevada threw out QB Shane Illingworth against Iowa. Iowa defensive linemen Lukas Van Ness and John Waggoner each recorded 0.5 sacks against Illingworth. The Hawkeyes totaled four tackles for loss.

In the first quarter, Hawkeye cornerback Cooper DeJean secured an interception near the sideline on Nevada’s side of the field. The pick set up Petras’ 21-yard touchdown pass to Bruce.

Nevada notched 34 points per game in its first three contests of 2022. The Wolf Pack never moved the ball further than the Hawkeye 42-yard line.

Iowa’s defense is ranked sixth in the nation heading into Week 3. It’s letting up just 216.5 yards per game.

— Sports Reporter, Isaac Goffin