Iowa’s Opener Features New Quarterback For First Time in 40 Games
Saturday's 2020 opener for the Iowa football team versus Purdue will feature a new man under center for the Hawkeyes for the first time in 40 games. Following 39 consecutive starts for Nate Stanley (and 27 wins) from September 2, 2017, through December 27, 2019, Iowa's new pick to lead the offense is Spencer Petras.
Petras looks the part. The 6'5" 231-pound sophomore who has completed 6 of 11 passes for 25 yards in his brief Iowa career, was named Conference Player of the Year during his senior season at Marin Catholic in California. During his senior year, he set school records for passing yards (4,157) and touchdowns (50) in one season. Both records bested marks previously set by current Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff. During his junior and senior seasons, Petras' numbers were breathtaking. In those two years combined, he threw for 7,193 yards, 83 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. Just two of the ten picks came during his senior season. Marin Catholic was 35-5 during Petras' final three years in high school.
There are plenty of choices for Petras when it comes to throwing the football. Wide receivers Brandon Smith (37 catches last year), Ihmir Smith-Marsette (led Iowa in receiving with 722 yards in 2019), Tyrone Tracy, Jr. (589 yards receiving in '19), and Nico Ragaini (led team with 46 catches last year), are all back. Add the returns of Tyler Goodson (top rusher last year with 638 yards) and Mekhi Sargent (563 rushing yards in '19) in the backfield, and Iowa should be a dangerous offensive team if Petras can be effective.
Iowa's offensive line will feature four former Iowa high school players (Cole Banwart, Tyler Linderbaum, Kyler Schott, and Mark Kallenberger) with a combined 34 career starts. The only senior, and out-of-stater on the line, is Alaric Jackson (#77). The Michigan native, who has started 34 career games himself, will play left tackle and be tasked with protecting Petras' blindside.
The defensive side of the ball will have a lot less familiarity for Iowa fans. How quickly things can gel there, and how well Petras plays, will definitely determine how things go for the 2020 Hawkeyes during this abbreviated season.
Iowa's opener at Purdue begins Saturday afternoon at 2:40 p.m. The game will be televised by Big Ten Network.
Spencer Petras also showed us this week that his talents extend beyond the football field, to singing and playing guitar. Here's a sampling.