6 takeaways from Iowa’s 27-14 loss at Kinnick versus the Michigan Wolverines

Iowa welcomed in the nation’s No. 4 team in the Michigan Wolverines hoping to recreate some Kinnick Stadium magic against another top-5 opponent for FOX’s “Big Noon Kickoff.”

From the first series, Michigan made it clear that Iowa’s 5-1 mark against AP top-5 opponents in its past six games at Kinnick wasn’t improving to 6-1. The Hawkeyes also entered this contest having won their past four meetings over the Wolverines in Iowa City, but that streak was snapped as well.

Michigan (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) topped Iowa 27-14 to drop the Hawkeyes to 3-2 (1-1 Big Ten). Now that it’s in the record books, let’s take a look back at five of the lasting takeaways from this one for Iowa.

Another frustrating start offensively

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Against a team like Michigan, it was imperative that Iowa found a way to get off to some form of a positive start offensively to keep the crowd engaged and make Kinnick a factor. That didn’t happen. Instead, excluding the run to Leshon Williams right before half, Iowa’s first five possessions netted five punts and 80 yards of total offense.

The Hawkeyes headed into the fourth quarter with 128 yards of total offense and no points, though the first play of the final frame was a 2-yard touchdown run from Iowa running back Kaleb Johnson. Versus the Wolverines at home and hoping to pull an upset, that just wasn’t ever going to cut it.

The defense struggled early, too

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Upset-minded Iowa didn’t help itself much with the defensive start either. For a group that gets all of the flowers on this team, the Hawkeye defense got off to a poor start. Iowa got dinged for an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive right out of the gates on Michigan’s first possession. The Wolverines faced just the one 3rd-and-1 on that opening drive and it ended with Ronnie Bell waltzing 16 yards untouched into the end zone.

After a punt on its second possession, Michigan scored on each of the next three with a pair of Jake Moody field goals of 44 and 35 yards before halftime and then a 10-play, 67-yard touchdown drive to start the second half. Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy found Donovan Edwards on the 3rd-and-7 snap from the Iowa 12-yard line for the 12-yard score.

Iowa never could consistently run the ball

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If you take out the four Michigan sacks of Spencer Petras which were a net minus-31 yards, then Iowa rushed just 20 times for 67 rushing yards. Or, Iowa rushed for 3.4 yards per carry. Kaleb Johnson’s longest rush of the day was 12 yards and Leshon Williams’ was nine yards. Outside of those two carries, there just wasn’t much there on a consistent basis.

Penalties were an absolute killer

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Penalties didn’t help Iowa’s slow offensive start. A holding call against Iowa’s Gennings Dunker wiped out what was going to be a nice run for Kaleb Johnson. That really didn’t matter because Petras quickly found Brody Brecht to help Iowa move the sticks. But, the 15-yard personal foul call on Connor Colby for tripping put Iowa in a 1st-and-25 situation that the Hawkeyes couldn’t overcome. This offense isn’t good enough to put itself behind the sticks like that and expect to have any success.

4th-and-2 play illustrates peak Iowa offensive failure

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With the game on the line and Iowa facing a 4th-and-2 from the Michigan 6-yard line, Iowa dropped back with Spencer Petras to pass. That part makes sense. Iowa hadn’t run the football effectively all day and Petras isn’t the type of quarterback where an RPO is an option. The play design and execution itself was a nightmare, though.

Wide receiver Arland Bruce IV ran a slant to clear out space for Sam LaPorta underneath. There were just a couple of problems, though. LaPorta didn’t run past the sticks, Petras’ throw was a yard further back from the 4-yard line where LaPorta’s flat route had taken him and Bruce also was ticketed for offensive pass interference as he ran directly into a Wolverines defensive back. That really ran the gamut of Iowa offensive failures. The route wasn’t run deep enough, the throw was even shorter of that and, oh by the way, Iowa wouldn’t have gotten a first down anyways because of the OPI.

Luke Lachey is forming a solid tandem with Sam LaPorta

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Luke Lachey had a terrific day, and Petras made a pair of nice throws to him. While Iowa leaves this game frustrated about poor starts on both sides of the football, it can take solace in the continued emergence here. Lachey had grabs of 26, 34, 19 and 5 yards. The last went for a 5-yard touchdown reception.

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Story originally appeared on Hawkeyes Wire