Grading Iowa football’s 27-14 loss to No. 4 Michigan at Kinnick Stadium

Daily Iowan Pregame Editor Austin Hanson provides a three-phase breakdown of the Hawkeyes’ Week 5 performance.


Grace Smith

Michigan defensive lineman Taylor Upshaw grabs Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras during a football game between Iowa and No. 4 Michigan at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. Petras was sacked Petras four times causing the Iowa offense to lose 31 yards. The Wolverines defeated the Hawkeyes, 27-14.

Austin Hanson, Pregame Editor

The Iowa football team fell to No. 4 Michigan, 27-14, at Kinnick Stadium Saturday afternoon. The Hawkeyes are now 3-2 overall and 1-1 in conference play this season.

Senior quarterback Spencer Petras had his best game of the season, but Iowa’s offense still struggled. After the game, Daily Iowan Pregame Editor Austin Hanson graded the Hawkeyes’ performance in all three phases. 

Offense — C-

Iowa didn’t score any points against No. 4 Michigan until the fourth quarter on Saturday. The Hawkeyes mustered just 110 yards of total offense in the first three periods of their 27-14 loss to the Wolverines.

In the fourth quarter, however, the Hawkeyes somewhat managed to change the tone. Iowa found the end zone twice in four possessions and threatened to score on one other occasion. 

With less than six minutes remaining in the game, Iowa drove the ball to the Michigan 6-yard line. On fourth-and-2, the Hawkeyes opted to throw a short pass out to tight end Sam LaPorta, who failed to make the line to gain.

Had the Hawkeyes picked up the first down and gone on to score a touchdown, they would’ve trailed by six points with two of their timeouts still available.

Senior quarterback Spencer Petras had his best game of the year, completing 11 of his 21 passes for 246 yards a touchdown. Petras posted a 145 quarterback rating and did not turn the ball over.

Ultimately, Iowa’s offense deserves a C- because its fourth-quarter burst was arguably the best it’s been at any point this season.

The Hawkeyes should still have to take their share of lumps. Iowa only rushed for 35 yards and one touchdown as a team that brands itself as being run-first. The Hawkeyes also failed to score for the first three quarters of Saturday’s game.

Offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz’s decision to throw short of the line to gain to LaPorta on fourth-and-2 was also questionable, to put things nicely.

Defense — C+

By no means did Iowa’s defense cost the Hawkeyes the game this week. But defensive coordinator Phil Parker’s group has certainly had better outings.

Coming into this Saturday’s game, Iowa ranked sixth in the country in total defense, allowing about 236 yards and one touchdown per contest. The Wolverines racked up 327 yards and three TDs.

The Hawkeyes were also rated sixth nationally in run defense, letting up just 73 yards on the ground per game. Michigan picked up 172 yards and two touchdowns rushing at Kinnick Stadium.

The Hawkeyes also struggled to get off the field Saturday, as the Wolverines picked up 24 first downs. Michigan went 4-of-11 on third down and 1-of-1 on fourth down. On the game, the Wolverines earned 12 first downs without facing a third or fourth down situation the snap before.

Michigan put together two touchdown drives spanning more than 65 yards in length. Before the Wolverines hung 27 on them, the most points the Hawkeyes had surrendered in a game this season was 10.

Saturday’s game was also the first Iowa failed to force a turnover in this season. The Hawkeyes have amassed 11 turnovers in 2022.

Special teams — B

It’s been hard to knock Iowa’s special teams unit this season. But the Hawkeyes did make some minor mistakes in the punting game Saturday.

Junior Tory Taylor punted five times for 241 yards, booting five balls over 50 yards. Though he didn’t have many opportunities to do so, Taylor failed to down a single ball inside the 20-yard line. 

Taylor’s first punt of the game was downed at the Michigan 21-yard line. His second bounced at the 1-yard line and rolled into the end zone. 

Five is tied for the fewest punts Taylor has recorded in a single game this season. He also took the field five times when Iowa beat Rutgers, 27-10, at SHI Stadium in New Jersey.