Former Power Five quarterbacks weigh in on Iowa football’s offense, play of senior Spencer Petras

Ahead of the Hawkeyes’ matchup with the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines, Matt Leinart, Brady Quinn, and Brad Banks provided thoughts on Iowa’s struggling passing attack.

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Grace Smith

Co-hosts Brady Quinn, Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, and Urban Meyer speak during a Fox Sports Big Noon Kickoff NCAA football pregame show featuring Iowa and Michigan on the lawn by Hillcrest and Petersen Residence Hall at the University of Iowa in Iowa City on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. Leinart said the Iowa defense executes plays well. “They’re so they’re so fundamentally sound,” Leinart said. “They just they don’t make a mistake.”

Austin Hanson, Pregame Editor


Iowa football’s offensive woes in 2022 have been well-documented. The Hawkeyes currently rank last in the 131-team FBS in total offense.

Iowa’s passing attack is rated 124th nationally, and the Hawkeyes’ ground game isn’t much better, sitting at 115th.

Iowa is averaging 131 passing and 232.5 total yards per game with one total touchdown through the air and four via the run.

Former Notre Dame starting quarterback and current television analyst Brady Quinn, who is in Iowa City to co-host FOX’s on-site college football pregame show “Big Noon Kickoff,” believes Iowa’s inconsistencies on offense can’t be attributed to one particular player.

“I think there’s a number of factors that play into where the offense has been to this point,” Quinn said after a Friday afternoon rehearsal. “For starters, I’m sure [starting quarterback Spencer Petras] hasn’t played as consistently well as I’m sure he’d like to … I think what you see, offensively, watching this team, is there’s just things that break down from time-to-time.  It’s not the same guy every play, but it’s one person every play.”

Petras, now in his fifth season at Iowa, has gone 48-of-94 for 524 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. The Californian’s quarterback rating currently sits at 11.6.

“He got off to a slow start,” 2004 Heisman Trophy-winning QB and Fox analyst Matt Leinart said. “… I think, the thing about him, he’s played a lot football. He’s experienced, and it’s not really how you start, it’s how you finish.

“He’s had his moments. Look, I’ve played the position. I’ve had inconsistencies. I’m sure he’d be the first to say, you know, he needs to get better. They lost some guys in the transfer portal. I think they’re still trying to figure out guys to step up and all that. He’s seasoned.”

Iowa lost two of its top wide receivers, Charlie Jones and Tyrone Tracy, when they both transferred to Purdue ahead of the 2022 season. Through four games with the Boilermakers in 2022, Jones has 41 receptions 533 and seven touchdowns.

Despite Petras’ struggles, former Iowa quarterback and Heisman Trophy runner-up Brad Banks had simplistic advice for the Hawkeyes’ current signal-caller.

“My advice has always been, just enjoy the game and play,” Banks told reporters ahead of the 2002 Iowa football team’s 20-year reunion. “Don’t let it be more than it is. It’s just a game, so have fun with it and make yourself proud, make your teammates proud. That would be all I say to him and everybody else that’s playing. We’re in the fourth game, fifth game or whatever it is. They’ve still got games left. Sometimes, it takes a little longer to find yourself. But once you do it, it’s downhill.”

Quinn and former Heisman Trophy-winning running back Reggie Bush both proposed ways to cure Iowa’s ailing offense. Quinn said the Hawkeyes might benefit from increasing the tempo their offense plays with. He added that going up-tempo helped Notre Dame’s offense play better during his time in South Bend.

Bush suggested Petras may be the answer to the Hawkeyes’ woes. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft said Iowa needs to throw more deep balls if its offense is going to improve this season.

“On the offensive side of the ball, they have playmakers,” Bush said. “I think the one thing that I would like to see Iowa do more is pushing the football down the field. They can run the football. I’m not worried about them running the football. They can do that.”

“Big Noon Kickoff” will air on FOX at 9 a.m. Saturday and broadcast from the lawn between the University of Iowa’s Hillcrest and Petersen residence halls. Iowa and Michigan will square off on the network immediately following the pregame show. The game’s official start time is 11:05 a.m.

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