The off-season was filled with questions: Who’s the starting quarterback? Is the starting quarterback going to be any better? Has Iowa fixed its offensive line? Can the Hawkeyes run the ball? Oh, and what about that five-star recruit Iowa got? How much will he play?
Now come to the answers when the Hawkeyes host FCS power South Dakota State Saturday in the season opener at Kinnick Stadium.
Ranked second in the nation among FCS teams, the Jackrabbits certainly pose more of a threat than your typical lower-level season-opening opponent.
Iowa will rely on experienced stars: Sam LaPorta, Jack Campbell, Kevon Merriweather, and Riley Moss.
However, all eyes will remain on their starting quarterback Spencer Petras, who, after a lengthy quarterback battle this summer, will be tasked with drastically improving an offense that ranked No. 120 in the nation in 2021.
Kickoff is set to take place at 11:05 a.m.
11:40 a.m. — Special teams again sets Iowa up nicely
11:36 a.m. — Hawkeyes honoring the school’s female athletes in honor of the anniversary of Title IX
11:35 a.m. — Another punt by Iowa
After getting a heavy dose of Leshon Williams (four rushes for 19 yards), the Hawkeyes’ offense can still not drive the ball downfield and has to punt. Luckily, their punter Tory Taylor has a terrific game, pinning the Jackrabbits back at the five-yard line.
11:29 a.m. — Change made to Iowa’s offensive line
11:26 a.m. — South Dakota State is forced to punt again
After a strong tackle by Iowa safety Kaevon Merriweather to prevent a first-down, the Jackrabbits again are forced to punt. This drive was more promising than the first as they made it to Iowa’s 47-yard line.
11:21 a.m. — Timeout called for an injured Jackrabbit
Following a seven-yard completion from South Dakota State’s quarterback Mark Gronowski to his tight end Tucker Kraft, the latter was down on the field after an apparent injury. He had to be helped off the field.
11:17 a.m. — Iowa misses a scoring opportunity
Despite beginning the drive in a favorable field position, the Hawkeyes cannot capitalize on it. Their kicker Aaron Blom missed a 40-yard field goal try, giving South Dakota State the ball back at their 22-yard line.
11:15 a.m. — Jackrabbits’ drive stalls early
Seemingly doomed from the start, two early false start penalties push South Dakota State to their seven-yard line. After being held by the Hawkeyes’ defense to just 11 yards, they are forced to punt.
11:12 a.m. — Iowa fans having an impact early
11:09 a.m. — Hawkeyes’ opening drive ends with a punt
After a couple of good plays from the Hawkeyes, they were eventually forced to punt after Spencer Petras was sacked on third down by South Dakota State’s Reece Winkelman.
11:04 a.m. Starting WR Keagan Johnson is out for the opener.
After it was announced during pre-game that the Hawkeyes’ starting running back, Gavin Williams, was out of action. It looks like they will also be without their leading receiver. Their starting receivers today are Arland Bruce IV and Alec Wick.
11:03 a.m. — Iowa wins the kickoff and elects to receive.
10:49 a.m. — Some good injury-related news for the Hawkeyes.
10:34 a.m. — A look at Iowa’s starting offensive line
From left to right, it looks like the second group will be Matt Fagan, Mike Myslinski, Tyler Elsbury, Gennings Dunker, and Jack Plumb.
9:59 a.m. — RB Gavin Williams has been ruled out
8:53 a.m. — The Hawkeyes are here at Kinnick Stadium