2022 Iowa Hawkeyes Preview

by Matt Fargo

Iowa Hawkeyes

2021-22 Season Record 10-4 (7-2 Big Ten) - 6-6-2 ATS - 6-8-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 8
Defense - 7

Overview

You know you have a solid program when there has been just two head coaches since 1979 and at 23 years and running, Kirk Ferentz is by far the longest tenured coach in the Big Ten. With a 10-4 record last season, it was the ninth straight winning campaign for the Hawkeyes which broke their previous record of eight, set twice, the last coming from 1981-1988. They have finished in the final top 10 in the AP Poll five times under Ferentz but no higher than No. 7 and playing in the rugged Big Ten makes it hard to get over the top. There are 15 starters returning and Iowa will come into the season ranked and should get off to another strong start that will push them up on the polls before the beef of the conference season kicks in. Iowa has another legitimate shot at making it back to the Big Ten Championship playing in the weaker West Division but the crossover will be a test.

Offense

This is where Iowa fell flat last season as it finished No. 123 in total offense and No. 96 in scoring offense while averaging 8.5 ppg in its four losses. The quarterback situation was a mess as Spencer Petras and Alex Padilla split time because of injuries and neither were effective as combined, they completed 54.3 percent of their passes for 2,305 yards, 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions. The good news is both saw extensive time so whoever wins the job knows the system and has plenty of reps in it. The leading receiver is back, albeit a tight end, and Iowa needs to find ways to get the ball downfield. Surprisingly, the running game was just as bad as the Hawkeyes averaged just 120 ypg on 3.5 ypc and that is not Iowa football. Leading rusher Tyler Goodson and his 1,151 yards need to be replaced and it will be up to the improved offensive line to open holes and protect better.

Defense

The defense carried the team all season as the Hawkeyes finished No. 18 overall and No. 14 in points allowed and while they did allow 42 points to Michigan in the Big Ten Championship, they were great in almost every other game. They did slip a little down the stretch but that happens to a lot of teams going deep into a season and Iowa has the potential to be just as good. There are seven starters back that includes All-Conference playmakers on each level. Lukas Van Ness and Joe Evans are stars on the defensive line after combining for 14 sacks and were excellent run stuffers. The linebackers are in great shape with Jack Campbell and Seth Benson returning after a combined 246 tackles and both will be considered for the Big Ten First Team. The secondary has to replace some key components but they are led by Riley Moss who returns after missing three games.

2022 Season Outlook

Iowa has not had back-to-back double-digit winning seasons since doing it three straight times in 2002-2004. Getting to that 10-win milestone again will be difficult based on the setup of the conference schedule but if everything goes at it should, yes it is possible. The Hawkeyes have had only four losing seasons under Ferentz, two coming in his first two seasons and another because of a bowl loss so this has been one of the most consistent programs in the country. The Hawkeyes will open 4-0 barring a home upset against Iowa St. before hosting Michigan. They have three tough road games at Ohio St., Minnesota and Purdue and the only other difficult game is at home against Wisconsin. The O/U win total is 7.5 which is a very reasonable number as there are seven wins at first glance so it will take just one win in those hard games and it is very possible Iowa gets more than one. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

© 2022 Al McMordie's BigAl.com. All Rights Reserved.