Iowa football cruises past Kent State 30-7 thanks to Tyler Goodson's career day
Saturday could have been a trap game for the No. 7 Hawkeyes.
After two straight weeks against ranked Power Five opponents, an ease-up against a Group of Five opponent in Week 3 wasn't out of the realm of possibility. And Hawkeye fans had seen their team do it before. (Remember North Dakota State?)
But there were no such issues Saturday at Kinnick Stadium, as Iowa led wire to wire and cruised to a 30-7 victory over Kent State.
The defense scored again, on a safety to get the first 2 points of the game, and it forced a key goal-line fumble in the third quarter to permanently shift momentum to Iowa in a game that was more close than Kirk Ferentz would have wanted for a time. On the other side of the ball, the offense did enough. Tyler Goodson had a career-best day and Spencer Petras connected on his longest pass of the year to Nico Ragaini.
Here's how the game played out, possession-by-possession.
More Iowa Hawkeyes football coverage
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- Hawkeyes claim they aren't overlooking the MAC's Kent State
- How to watch Iowa vs. Kent State
- Iowa football pinpoints small improvements ahead of Saturday's game
- Leistikow: 3 reasons it's too early to panic about Iowa's offense
Postgame: Kirk Ferentz
"Happy to get the win. It was a good experience for our team."
On his third-quarter catch that was overturned and ruled incomplete: "I thought I caught it. The coaches thought I caught it. The crowd thought I caught it."
Postgame: Spencer Petras
After the game, Spencer Petras said: “I thought we took a step in the right direction today.”
Tyler Goodson's third touchdown run of the day, this time from 2 yards out, just about seals the win for Iowa. A 48-yard connection from Spencer Petras to Nico Ragaini down the left sideline set up the score. I believe that was Iowa's longest passing play of the season.
Might we now see backup quarterback Alex Padilla if Iowa gets another possession?
After losing 5 yards, Kent State was forced to punt from its 30-yard line, and Iowa will take over at its 36 with the chance to just milk the clock with a 23-7 lead.
The Golden Flashes force a quick three-and-out and, after another booming Tory Taylor punt, will take over, down 23-7, at their 25-yard line. They'd need a quick score to preserve any hope of a comeback.
Iowa recorded its sixth and seventh sacks of the game in a quick three-and-out for Kent State. It had just three sacks over the first two weeks combined.
After a punt, the Hawkeyes will take over at their 10.
11:25/Q4: Career-best for Tyler Goodson
Tyler Goodson is up to 143 yards on 19 carries. Those 143 yards are a new career best for Goodson. That achievement happened during a drive that stalled out at Kent State's 37-yard line. Iowa tried to draw the Golden Flashes offside on a fourth-and-4 before taking a delay of game penalty.
Then a fake punt! Tory Taylor's pass was complete to Sam LaPorta, but he was well short. Kent State takes over at its 39-yard line, down 23-7 with 11:25 left.
14:06/Q4: The momentum has fully shifted
Iowa forces a quick three-and-out on Kent State's first drive of the fourth quarter. After the punt, the Hawkeyes will take over right around midfield.
Start of Q4: Ethan Hurkett helped off the field
Defensive lineman Ethan Hurkett had to be helped off the field during Kent State's first possession of the fourth quarter. Looked like a lower-body injury. Something to keep an eye on, as the redshirt freshman out of Cedar Rapids Xavier has blossomed into a rotational piece on the defensive line.
Per the Big Ten Network broadcast, Iowa's defense has now forced eight turnovers and turned those turnovers into a country-leading 44 points.
As the Iowa drive was about to stall out on a third-and-9 at Kent State's 35-yard line ... Tyler Goodson did his thing, take the handoff, scooting through a hole on to the left of the line and sprinting the rest of the way for his second score of the day.
Goodson is now up to 16 carries for 137 yards and two touchdowns.
What a shift in momentum. Kent State was about to make it 16-14 ... then it fumbled at Iowa's 1-yard line, and now the Hawkeyes lead 23-7.
The fumble recovery wasn't converted to points for Iowa, which stalled out at Kent State's 35-yard line.
Backed up to their 1-yard line, Iowa forced Kent State running back Bryan Bradford to couch it up and Riley Moss scooped it up in the end zone. That was definitely a bend-but-don't break situation if there ever was one.
It looked like Kent State was going to make it 16-14.
Dustin Crum scrambled for first down just beyond midfield on a fourt-and-1 rush. He also got first down on a crucial third-and-short earlier in the drive. Big plays from Crum.
A facemask from Lukas Van Ness gave Kent State an extra 15 yards to push them to Iowa's 11-yard line at the midway point of the third quarter. Two consecutive runs from Bradford got a first down, and then came the fumble.
I believe Jestin Jacobs forced it. He technically stopped Bradford behind the line, and it looked like the ball just slipped from Bradford's hands when he tried to extend it beyond the goal line.
Big third-and-6 completion from Spencer Petras to Tyrone Tracy Jr. for a first down at Kent State's 44-yard line ... or wait, the call on the field was overturned after officials deemed the ground jostled the ball loose.
FOX rules analyst Dean Blandino disagreed with the call on the Big Ten Network broadcast. "At the very least," he said, the call should have stood.
Tory Taylor punted, and the Golden Flashes have it at their 20 when action resumes.
13:46/Q3: Defense hangs tough on fourth down
Two straight pass completions and a 12-yard run from Marquez Cooper and a roughing-the-passer penalty on Logan Lee pushed Kent State quickly to Iowa's 37.
But the defense forced the Golden Flashes into a four-and-out (didn't attempt a field goal) from there, and Iowa takes back over at its 35.
That 20-play, 95-yard scoring drive for Iowa that took up about nine minutes?
Maybe that's this offense's strength. So far, big splash plays haven't really come through the air this season; those have come courtesy of Tyler Goodson on the ground.
But what Spencer Petras and his pass-catching corps have shown is the ability to make smart, short-to-intermediate gains and bleed the clock down as they methodically march downfield. They did it on today's 20-play scoring drive, and they showed a bit of that ability in the second quarter of the Cy-Hawk game.
Sam LaPorta leads Iowa pass-catchers with five receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown. Tyrone Tracy Jr. has four catches for 29 yards and Nico Ragaini has two catches for 7 yards.
Six other receivers (Arland Bruce IV, Tyler Goodson, Monte Pottebaum, Jackson Ritter, Gavin Williams and Ivory Kelly-Martin) all have one catch apiece, ad Spencer Petras has spread the ball around to nine different Hawkeyes in the first half.
Tyler Goodson has paced things so far with his 12 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown. Through the air, there haven't been any wow plays yet, but Spencer Petras has been effective and safe: 18-for-26 for 124 yards and a touchdown.
On defense, Iowa has stifled Kent State's rushing attack to the tune of 38 yards from their running backs. The mistakes have come in blown coverages in the passing game, with Keshunn Abram catching five passes for 129 yards and a score. Quarterback Dustin Crumm has gone 7-for-9 for 138 yards and a touchdown.
It was a mixed bag from the passing game, but it got the job done.
An excellent pass from Spencer Petras was dropped by Tyrone Tracy Jr. on a curl route, which led to a third-and-9. But Petras then found Sam LaPorta for an 11-yard gain and a first down. Then, on the ensuing play, on a play-action pass, Petras' throw fell short of Charlie Jones. But, again, Petras bounced back with a 6-yard gain to Arland Bruce IV to convert for first down. That was Bruce's first catch as a Hawkeye, and it put Iowa into the Kent State side of the field.
Petras then hit Nico Ragaini for his first catch for a short gain, which led to a third-and-10 at Kent State's 29, and Tracy then gained 10 for a first down on a nifty catch-and-run through traffic.
(Ivory Kelly-Martin was back in on that drive, too. He fumbled the ball again after a reception, but LaPorta recovered. From then on, Iowa's second running back on that drive was Gavin Williams, who nabbed a first down on a red-zone reception.)
Also: Goodness gracious, that was a long drive. Are we already at halftime? Wound up being a 20-play scoring drive, with Petras' 5-yard touchdown pass to LaPorta.
On a second-and-16 from the Kent State 14, Dustin Crumm found Keshunn Abram for yet another 40-plus-yard completion down the left sideline. The corner was Riley Moss, who Abram beat earlier today, too, but it's not immediately clear if Moss just blew the coverage or if he was expecting help from the safety.
Either way, Kent State's drive stalled out at Iowa's 28-yard line. And Crumm's third-down incompletion was ruled an intentional grounding, which pushed the offense back to to 35 and out of field-goal range. Ouch.
Kent State's ensuing punt was pinned at Iowa's 5.
A 7-yarc completion from Spencer Petras to Tyrone Tracy Jr. was a promising start for the Hawkeyes, and Tyler Goodson then got a first down. But two incompletions (one overthrown to Arland Bruce IV, one thrown away) and a short completion to Jackson Ritter led to another stalled drive.
Tory Taylor's punt very nearly was pinned inside the 1-yard line, but it bounced off the pylon, which is ruled out of bounds. Golden Flashes ball at their 20 when we get back.
Iowa forces a three-and-out in which Kent State lost 10 yards, and Charlie Jones fair caught the ensuing punt at the Hawkeyes' 41.
And Golden Flashes quarterback Dustin Crumm is, um, playing well.
Can he keep it up?!?\
Kent State ball on their side of the 50 when action resumes.
Ivory Kelly-Martin got the ball punched out at the 22-yard line of the Golden Flashes, and Kent State recovered.
A great 17-yard pass from Spencer Petras to Sam LaPorta started this drive. Perfect placement and soft hands from LaPorta. Also a nice 7-yard dart from Petras to Jackson Ritter, with Kelly-Martin giving some great protection on that pass.
On the next play, he was rewarded with a carry, which he took 9 yards.
A defensive holding helped Iowa as its drive began to stall around Kent State's 30.
Then ... the fumble.
Iowa's secondary had two rare lapses on that drive. The first didn't matter as Kent State's Dustin Crumm overshot his man. But he didn't miss on the next, hitting Keshunn Abram for 48 yards to get to Iowa's 28. He was wide open.
Then, on third down, Crumm connected again with Abram on a 24-yard dart across the middle to the end zone. Heck of a catch.
Iowa's secondary got beat a few times on the drive. We haven't seen anything like that really at all this season so far.
After sputtering through the first half of the first quarter, Iowa's offense finally broke through with Tyler Goodson's 46-yard touchdown run on a pitch from Petras. There was no one within 5 yards of him as he ran untouched to the end zone.
Kyler Schott is in the game, by the way. He played snaps at left guard in that series.
Let's see if this run can be a sparkplug for this offense. With the safety and Goodson's run, that was quite a couple minutes for the Hawkeyes.
Iowa 2, Kent State 0, 8:03/Q1: ANOTHER defensive score. Are you kidding me?
Zach VanValkenburg began the series with a sack ... then was offside on third down.
THEN a high snap allowed the defense to swarm Kent State quarterback Dustin Crumm in the end zone for a safety. Iowa has a 2-0 lead early.
Another defensive touchdown. Are you kidding me?
A false start from Luke Lachey and a collapsed pocket that forced Spencer Petras' arm to be smacked as a threw for an incomplete pass started the drive. A jet sweep on Charlie Jones on second-and-15 then went for a loss of a yard.
On third-and-16? A botched screen from the start in which Petras had to throw the ball to the turf.
Iowa's offense looks shaky to start.
Tory Taylor and Taylor Roberts teamed up to pin Kent State with a 60-yard punt to pin the Golden Flashes at their 5-yard line, though.
We'll see. He hasn't been on the field yet, but Kirk Ferentz said he'll be available to play today. Schott missed the first two games after breaking a bone in his foot on his family farm in August.
10:22/Q1: Australian punters. Yay!
Iowa's defense forced a three-and-out on Seth Benson's big-time tackle on third-and-2. Then we found out Kent State's punter, Josh Smith, is also an Aussie like Hawkeye star Tory Taylor. Fun.
Hawkeyes take over at their 38 when action resumes.
Iowa's first offensive possession had some good and not-so-good moments.
The good? Tyler Goodson's 15-yard rush and a nice 9-yard completion from Spencer Petras to Sam LaPorta for a first down. The not-so-good? Tyrone Tracy Jr. slipping on a third-down screen that likely would have gotten a first down.
Now, it's the defense's turn.
Matthew Bain is the deputy sports editor for the Des Moines Register. He still covers some recruiting, too. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.