Will Alex Padilla get any snaps?
Iowa will put on a quietly impressive streak on Saturday afternoon.
The seventh-ranked Hawkeyes have won 13 consecutive non-conference football games, FBS’s second longest active streak. When they host Kent State for a 2:40 p.m. kickoff at Kinnick Stadium, it will be 1,721 days since their last non-conference loss – Jan. 1, 2017 to Florida in the Outback Bowl.
The streak includes three bowl games (beating Boston College of the Atlantic Coast Conference, Mississippi State of the SEC and USC of the Pac-12) and four wins over Iowa State of the Big 12. ; a win over FCS Northern Iowa; and five against a group of five opponents.
For the prospect, Kirk Ferentz’s previous best non-conference run during his 23-year tenure was eight games (spanning the 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons). Hayden Fry’s best non-conference run in 20 years in Iowa was, surprisingly, only six.
Why the recent domination? Certainly a lot of credit goes to the defense of Phil Parker in Iowa, who during this 13-game frenzy held non-Power Five enemies to point totals of 3, 14, 7, 14, 14 and 3.
And, hey, it’s worth mentioning that Iowa hasn’t lost a non-conference game with Brian Ferentz as the offensive coordinator. Ferentz, 38, is 13-0 in non-Big Ten games as an OC with an average of 32.1 points.
Those numbers on both sides of the ball are a testament to good scouting (against unfamiliar teams) and good training (to implement winning game plans).
Even though Kent State brings a quick offense and a turnover-creating defense that presents challenges, recent history suggests the Hawkeyes (favored by more than three touchdowns) will take care of the business. If that happens, Iowa will have recorded their 300th victory at Kinnick Stadium.
Saturday’s possibility of an unbalanced result also raises another hot topic: Can Iowa get sophomore quarterback Alex Padilla his first extended playing action?
Kirk Ferentz said this summer he would feel comfortable with Spencer Petras (the undisputed starter, with eight straight wins) or Padilla on offense. In the spring, Padilla showed good glide and precision with his right arm and an ability to make off-script plays with his feet.
While they wouldn’t say it publicly, it’s something coaches should discuss behind the scenes. They know Padilla in two seasons as No.2 has just 21 clean-up shots – all with a lead of over 28 points – and three passing attempts (one was full, for 12 yards) under his belt.
Ideally, in one or the next two games – against Kent State (No.109 nationally in total defense) and Colorado State (No.94) – coaches should have a predetermined plan to get Padilla under center before the garbage time.
Up 17 points in the third quarter? Give him a streak to execute the first team attack against a first team defense.
Up to three scores to start the fourth? Give Padilla the keys for the rest of the game, with Petras and the first team defense on hold, and let him throw him five to 10 times.
Heck, there is some credit in giving Padilla a streak in the first half. Considering Iowa’s national positioning (No.5 in the Associated Press poll), there has to be some holistic thinking in the middle of approaching one game at a time. The Hawkeyes do it all the time with offensive linemen, so why not at the most important position in football?
If Petras were knocked out with an injury on Oct. 1 in Maryland or Oct. 9 against Penn State or Oct. 30 in Wisconsin, you wouldn’t want the first “real” shots of Padilla to occur in a scrambled situation.
Iowa wins if …
The defense drops to “25 under 25” – their 25th straight game on FBS allowing less than 25 points. Kent State averaged 606.5 yards and 49.5 points in a 2020 season shortened by COVID and brought back nine offensive starters. The Iowa defense must remain disciplined to slow down a rushed offense that leads the FBS with 360 yards per game. Iowa has scored at least 25 points in eight straight games for the first time in school history.
Kent State wins if …
The Golden Flashes’ best chance is to surprise Iowa at the foot of their rivalry’s victory and run to a two-goal lead early on, then try to capitalize on a defense that created nine takeaways in two. matches. The Hawkeyes have been playing forward for most of the past year. Falling behind early would be an unknown feeling.
Kent State (1-1) 7th overall over Iowa (2-0, 1-0 Big Ten)
Time, TV, Tipico Sportsbook line: 2:40 p.m. Big Ten Network, Iowa by 22Â½ points.
Prediction: Iowa 41, Kent State 17.â¦ Tyler Goodson and Ivory Kelly-Martin combine for 200 rushing yards as the Hawkeyes begin their rushing game after Kyler Schott returns.
Friday’s Big Ten Game
Maryland (2-0, 0-0) vs. Illinois (1-2, 1-0)
Time, TV, line: 8 p.m. CT, Fox Sports 1, Maryland at 7:30 p.m.
Prediction: The Illini allowed 556 yards in last week’s loss to Virginia. Phew, Bret Bielema. Hawkeye fans will want to assess Maryland, which was explosive behind Taulia Tagovailoa (48-for-63, 606 yards). Maryland 38, Illinois 20
Saturday’s other Big Ten games
(Every hour CT, lines from Tipico Sportsbook)
No.8 Cincinnati (2-0) at Indiana (1-1)
Time, TV, line: 11:00 am, ESPN, Cincinnati by 3Â½
Prediction: A great opportunity for the Hoosiers, who are 8-2 at home since 2019 and wear retro uniforms to commemorate former Bill Mallory teams, to show that their preseason rankings were no fluke after their dismantling by Iowa. Indiana 27, Cincinnati 24
Following:Why Mason Richman’s move from defensive to offensive is paying off for Iowa football
Northern Illinois (1-1) to No.25 Michigan (2-0)
Time, TV, line: 11 a.m., BTN, Michigan by 26Â½
Prediction: A year ago, Rocky Lombardi, a West Des Moines Valley alumnus, helped the state of Michigan stun Michigan at the Big House. Now Lombardi returns as NIU’s starting QB after the transfer. No such upheaval this time. Michigan 45, Northern Illinois 10
Nebraska (2-1) at No. 3 Oklahoma (2-0)
Time, TV, line: 11:00 am Fox, Oklahoma by 22Â½
Prediction: The game Scott Frost didn’t want to play has arrived. This is the first meeting of the former rivals since the Big 12 Championship Game 2010. They will meet again in 2022, 2029 and 2030. Oklahoma 49, Nebraska 21
Following:Examine why Iowa football’s supercharged wide receivers get off to a slow start
Michigan State (2-0) vs. Miami of Florida (1-1)
Time, TV, line: 11 a.m., ABC, Miami at 6:30 a.m.
Prediction: Chosen to finish last in the Big Ten East, Mel Tucker’s Spartans gained more than 500 yards in their first two games (Northwestern, Youngstown State). Miami 27, Michigan 25
Minnesota (1-1) vs. Colorado (1-1)
Time, TV, line: Noon, Pac-12 network, Colorado by 2Â½
Prediction: Trey Potts (178 rushing yards vs. Miami from Ohio) is the Gophers’ new hobbyhorse after Mo Ibrahim’s injury ended the season. Minnesota’s altitude and poor defense will be key factors. Colorado 28, Minnesota 24
Following:Iowa vs Kent State football: how to watch TV, stream and listen online
Purdue (2-0) at No. 10 Notre-Dame (2-0)
Time, TV, line: 2:30 p.m., NBC, Notre Dame by 7Â½
Prediction: The Irish, who had two three-point breakaways against Florida State and Toledo, have won 25 straight home games. If he wins on Saturday, Brian Kelly will equal Knute Rockne for the most wins as coach of Notre Dame (105). Notre-Dame 31, Purdue 27
Tulsa (0-2) at 11th Ohio State (1-1)
Time, TV, line: 2:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1, Ohio State by 25Â½
Prediction: Ohio State has allowed more points (118) than any three-game streak in school history. Tulsa has just suffered an emotional loss to rival Oklahoma State, and the Buckeyes will be looking to wipe out some frustration after losing to Oregon. Ohio State 56, Tulsa 21
Following:Leistikow: 3 reasons it’s too early to worry about the University of Iowa offensive
Delaware (2-0) at Rutgers (2-0)
Time, TV, line: 2:30 p.m., BTN, no line
Prediction: Rutgers under Greg Schiano is on the “Iowa plan”. The Scarlet Knights are No. 1 nationally in turnover margin (plus-8), averaging 50.7 yards per punt and allowing 10.5 points per game. They will be 3-0 for the first time since 2012. Rutgers 47, Delaware 8
Northwest (1-1) at Duke (1-1)
Time, TV, line: 3 p.m., ACC network, north-west by 2Â½
Prediction: The Wildcats have 48 wins in one possession since the start of the Pat Fitzgerald era (2006), tied with the Navy for most in the nation. Add another Saturday in Durham. Northwest 21, Duke 17
No.20 Auburn (2-0) to No.12 Penn State (2-0)
Time, TV, line: 6:30 p.m., ABC, Penn State by 6Â½
Prediction: After last week’s stop in Ames, ESPN’s College GameDay is heading to Happy Valley. Penn State aims to improve a pedestrian record of 6-6 in “White Out” matches at Beaver Stadium against an Auburn team making their first trip to a Big Ten stadium in 90 years. The Big Ten could use a head-to-head victory over the SEC in playoff selection. Penn State 24, Auburn 20
Hawkeyes columnist Chad Leistikow covered the sport for 26 years with The Des Moines Register, USA TODAY and Iowa City Press-Citizen. Follow @ChadLeistikow on Twitter.