Grading Iowa football’s 54-10 loss to No. 2 Ohio State

Sports Editor Chloe Peterson distributed grades to the Hawkeyes’ three phases following their loss to the Buckeyes.


Grace Smith

Iowa tight end Sam LaPorta jumps while running with the ball during a football game between Iowa and No. 2 Ohio State at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022. LaPorta caught six passes for 55 yards. The Buckeyes defeated the Hawkeyes, 54-10.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Editor

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Iowa football suffered its third loss in a row on Saturday, falling 54-10 to No. 2 Ohio State. The Hawkeyes dropped to 3-4 on the season following the loss.

Iowa, Northwestern, and Minnesota are now tied for last in the Big Ten West with matching 1-3 conference records. 

The Hawkeyes made a change at quarterback for the first time this season as backup QB Alex Padilla played the second half. Starter Spencer Petras struggled in the first half, going 6-of-14 for 49 yards and two interceptions, including a pick six.

Padilla finished the game by completing five of his 10 passes for 32 yards and one interception.

After the game, Sports Editor Chloe Peterson graded the Hawkeyes’ performance in all three phases.

Offense — F

Iowa’s offense was laughable on Saturday afternoon with both Petras and Padilla under center. 

Things started to go downhill for Iowa on the very first play of the game. Petras threw an interception to Ohio State defensive back Tanner McCalister when Hawkeye wide receiver Arland Bruce was also wide open on the play.

Petras was strip sacked two drives later, committing his second turnover of the game. His third turnover came when he threw a pick six near the end of the first half.

This time, the Hawkeye coaching staff decided to make a change at quarterback. But Padilla wasn’t much better.

On Padilla’s first snap of the season, the ball was fumbled and recovered by Ohio State. Padilla also threw an interception on his second drive of the game.

Running back Kaleb Johnson committed the Hawkeye offense’s ninth turnover of the game when he fumbled the ball with eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

Overall, Iowa had three interceptions, three fumbles, and three turnovers on downs. 

The Hawkeyes could only muster one scoring drive on Saturday. Iowa had a 10-play, 44-yard drive and settled for a field goal by true freshman kicker Drew Stevens.

Defense — C-

The Hawkeye defense all but fell apart in the second half, but it wasn’t entirely their fault.

The nine turnovers by Iowa’s offense allowed Ohio State to start drives in its own territory six times. The Hawkeye defense held the No. 2 offense in the nation to field goals three of those times. 

Iowa’s defense is also one of two teams so far this season to hold Ohio State’s offense under 400 yards. Iowa allowed 360 yards, while Notre Dame gave up 395 yards in Week 1.

But there’s only so much the defense can do. It allowed four passing touchdowns and one rushing TD. The Hawkeyes gave up 54 points — the most in Kirk Ferentz’s 23-year head coaching tenure at Iowa. 

Defensive lineman Joe Evans scored the Hawkeyes’ only touchdown on Saturday. He forced a fumble after he sacked Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud at the Buckeyes’ 11-yard line and returned the ball for a touchdown. 

Even if you subtract that touchdown, though, Iowa’s defense allowed 47 points, which would be the most the Hawkeyes gave up since they surrendered 45 points against Stanford in the 2016 Rose Bowl.

Special teams — B

Iowa’s special teams unit had the best performance on Saturday, mostly by not doing anything.

Stevens drilled a 49-yard field goal in the first quarter for Iowa’s only offense score of the day. 

Iowa was vigilant on kick returns on Saturday, as true freshman running back Kaleb Johnson returned five for a total of 118 yards. Sophomore Arland Bruce returned one punt for 18 yards.

But the Hawkeyes should be knocked down a peg for Tory Taylor’s decision to fake a punt and run the ball in the first quarter. Taylor punted five times for 205 yards at Ohio Stadium on Saturday. But he decided to forgo one punt attempt to rush the ball on fourth-and-6.

Taylor got four yards past the line of scrimmage — short of a first down. Postgame, Ferentz said Taylor’s rush wasn’t a designed trick play. Taylor made a split-second decision to run the ball instead of punting.