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Hawkeye 10@10: Petras looking for a season of growth
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Hawkeye 10@10: Petras looking for a season of growth

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Spencer Petras positioned for growth, Tom Allen looking forward to a Big Ten season opener, Hawkeyes in the NFL and a fine gameday forecast are all part of today’s Hawkeye 10@10.

Delivering your daily dose of Iowa football news and notes at 10 a.m. each weekday during game week at hawkmania.com, here is today’s Hawkeye 10@10:

1. Quarterback Spencer Petras believes he is positioned for growth following an offseason of work with Iowa receivers that did not happen prior to the 2020 season.

“I think everyone is a lot more comfortable coming off the COVID season. Things just have a more normal feel to it,’’ Petras said. “We did as much as we could a year ago, but it wasn’t the same. I think now we’re all in a better place, having worked with each other the entire offseason. I’m feeling good about where things are at.’’

Petras quarterbacked Iowa to a 6-2 record last season in his first year as the Hawkeyes’ starter and showing growth over the course of the season.

After being intercepted three times while completing 48-of-89 passes in Iowa’s first two games, Petras completed 92-of-156 over Iowa’s final six games and was intercepted just twice during that stretch.

2. Indiana is opening its season against a Big Ten opponent for the third time in the five seasons that Tom Allen has been the Hoosiers’ coach. It’s something he doesn’t mind.

“It’s definitely a challenge without question, but I love the way it creates a sense of urgency within your team,’’ Allen said.

“The start of the season always creates excitement. There’s always that level no matter who you play, but when it’s a conference opponent and when it’s a team of (Iowa’s) caliber … it’s going to be very challenging but I love that.’’

3. Takeaways have been a major part of Iowa’s game in recent years.

The Hawkeyes have intercepted 64 passes since the start of the 2017 season, a number matched only by Appalachian State over the past five seasons at the Football Bowl Subdivision level.

Alabama is third with 62, with Florida Atlantic and Clemson rounding out the top five with 61 apiece.

4. There are six legacy players on Iowa’s 2021 football roster. The sons and their fathers:

LB Eric Epenesa, Epenesa Epenesa

DE Joe Evans, Spence Evans

DB Thomas Hartlieb, Jim Hartlieb

LS Zach Kluver, Todd Kluver

WR Henry Marchese, John Marchese

LS Liam Reardon, Bill Reardon

5. Iowa has won 53 games since the start of the 2015 season.

Only eight power-5 programs have won more: Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.

6. A total of 43 former Hawkeyes began this week on the rosters of NFL teams.

Here’s a breakdown by team:

Atlanta, Parker Hesse; Baltimore, Geno Stone, Kristian Welch

Buffalo, Ike Boettger, A.J. Epenesa, Micah Hyde

Carolina, Dayvion Nixon

Chicago, James Daniels

Cincinnati, Mike Daniels, Riley Reiff

Dallas, Chauncey Golston, Brandon Smith

Denver, Noah Fant, Josey Jewell, Michael Ojemudia

Detroit, T.J. Hockenson, Matt Nelson

Green Bay, Coy Cronk, Jack Heflin

Houston, Jaleel Johnson, Desmond King, Christian Kirksey

Jacksonville, C.J. Beathard

Kansas City, Austin Blythe, Anthony Hitchens, Ben Niemann

Los Angeles Chargers, Bryan Bulaga, Nick Niemann

Los Angeles Rams, Jake Gervase, Alaric Jackson

Minnesota, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Nate Stanley

New England, Carl Davis, James Ferentz

New York Giants, Josh Jackson, Casey Kreiter

San Francisco, George Kittle

Tampa Bay, Anthony Nelson, Tristan Wirfs

Tennessee, Cole Banwart, Amani Hooker, Mekhi Sargent

Washington, Brandon Scherff

7. Iowa is among the Big Ten’s elite when it comes to having players selected in the NFL draft.

Among conference teams, only Ohio State with 83 and Michigan with 63 have had more than the 53 Hawkeyes drafted by NFL teams in the last 14 years.

8. Former Hawkeye Oliver Martin carved out his niche in Big Ten football history on Saturday.

Martin caught a touchdown pass in Nebraska’s season-opening loss at Illinois, the third Big Ten program he has recorded a touchdown reception for during his college career.

The Iowa City West graduate reached the end zone in 2018 while playing for Michigan, where he had 11 catches for 125 yards.

He grabbed one ball in the end zone for Iowa in 2019, one of five receptions he had during his one-year stay in Iowa City.

Martin caught five passes a year ago for the Cornhuskers, but topped that Saturday with six catches for 103 yards and one touchdown in Nebraska’s loss to the Illini.

9. Illinois players swept weekly Big Ten honors announced Monday following the Fighting Illini’s season-opening win over Nebraska.

Quarterback Artur Sitkowski, linebacker Calvin Hart Jr., punter Blake Hayes and receiver Deuce Spann earned the honors.

Sitkowski was recognized as the offensive player of the week for completing 12-of-15 passes including a pair of touchdown passes after replacing injured starter Brandon Peters late in the first quarter.

Hart was named the defensive player of the week after recording six tackles, including one sack, and returning a fumble 41 yards for a touchdown.

Hayes averaged 45.3 yards on six punts in the 30-22 win, landing three inside the 20 including one which landed inside the 1-yard line and set up a safety.

Spann, a converted quarterback, led Illinois with 45 receiving yards in the win.

10. Some fine early-season weather is in the forecast for Iowa City on Saturday.

The National Weather Service is calling for mostly sunny skies and a high temperature of 83 degrees as Iowa and Indiana kickoff Big Ten play at Kinnick Stadium.

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