The Iowa Hawkeyes had a slow start to the season. After two games with the offense sputtering along, the Hawkeyes seemed to have corrected their issues dominating both Nevada and Big 10 rivals Rutgers. Iowa looked like a well-oiled machine which they’d need to be for #4 ranked Michigan.
Unfortunately, bad news has hit Hawkeyes Nation. It was announced that linebacker Jestin Jacobs is out for the season after leaving the game against Rutgers. It’s a significant loss for this stellar Iowa defense. Another notable injury for the Hawkeyes is Keagan Johnson, who, after having a solid freshman year, has only been able to participate in one game due to injury.
The loss of Jestin Jacobs is huge. The leadership, along with the experience that comes with the 4th year junior, can’t be understated. He was named to first-team defense following an impressive 2021 campaign in which he started in 8 of the 14 games he played in and racked up 53 total tackles, 33 of which were solo. This season-ending injury is devastating for the young man who was poised to continue his success last season by having a large impact and presence for the Iowa Defense.
Filling Jacobs’s shoes will be Logan Klemp. This will be an opportunity to prove himself as through his 3 years with the Hawkeyes. He has only five career tackles. This will be a major jump in responsibility for the Senior. However, he is showing more production than ever before this year. He has been in the system for a while, and I expect him to hold up. Though you can expect a step down in play, Klemp still has the potential to hold his own.
Keagan Johnson came into the year as the top wide receiver on the roster. He came off a solid freshman year, catching 18 passes for 352 yards while scoring 2 TDs. He has only seen action in the Nevada game this year, and some believe this absence may play a part in the lack of offensive output. Though I’m not ready to name Johnson as the sole reason the offense is struggling, I do believe it plays a large part. Johnson has the ability to be a big name in the Big 10, but this injury to start his 2022 season is not helping that.
The Hawkeyes receiving core on paper is interesting as after four games, Sam LaPorta, the tight end, is the leading receiver for this Iowa team. LaPorta is putting together a solid senior year with 16 receptions for 154 yards. Not necessarily unexpected as Iowa is notorious for getting the tight ends heavily involved in their offense scheming.
Perhaps the biggest surprise for the Iowa offense is how much Arland Bruce IV is stepping up. This year he already has 10 receptions for 132 yards and a TD. The sophomore receiver is following up an impressive freshman year with the production needed in Johnsons’s absence.
Though the Iowa offense is seemingly finding its groove at the right time, it still leaves a lot to be desired. The loss on the defensive side of the ball may be a prime position for Michigan to pick on tomorrow. For the next couple of weeks, expect the Coaching staff still be figuring out how much responsibility Klemp can handle and how to play around the loss. Take that into consideration when betting the Iowa Spread over the next couple of weeks.