Things were looking bleak for an Iowa offense that struggled to simply move the ball over midfield. Some untimely penalties wiped out any momentum, including this one that erased a Nico Ragaini catch and run to the 2. But before the end of the third quarter, with the Hawkeyes backed up in a seemingly impossible 3rd and 22, Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras went back to Ragaini for a 28-yard gain to set the Hawkeyes back up at the 2.

The drive ended with a two-yard Kaleb Johnson touchdown to keep the Hawkeyes in the game, and the burst of life showed “togetherness” in the eyes of left tackle Mason Richman.

“I think the unit is coming together for sure.” Richman said after the game. “We’re closer together especially in hard times like this. Our games, our practices — they all mean more. That’s what needs to keep happening moving forward.”

Following that, the Hawkeyes got a stop and found themselves down 20-7 with 12 minutes to go in the game. Petras and company led a 78-yard drive down the field, but it ended short of the end zone on a failed 4th and 2 conversion attempt. While the drive was a failure, the game was still competitive and the Hawkeyes showed some life they hadn’t shown in five games.

“I thought that was the best we’ve looked this season,” Ragaini said. “As the season goes on, good things continue to get better. We’re 3-2 but the season is not over and our goals are still there. We just have to continue to push forward and grow every single day.”

The Michigan Wolverines iced the game with a 20-yard score from Blake Corum, and then we officially reached ‘garbage time’. But Spencer Petras’ offense marched down the field in five plays and the Hawkeyes signal caller tossed his second touchdown of the season to tight end Luke Lachey. He ended the day with a season-high 246 passing yards, and expressed a similar optimism.

“I think it’s growth, I do think we are growing as an offense,” Petras said. “There were some good moments for me and I just have to keep going.”

Head coach Kirk Ferentz pointed it out after the game: This was an elite defense they were facing. Not South Dakota State. Not Nevada. A legitimate top 5 defense in all of college football.

“Those are really good guys.” said Ferentz, praising the Wolverines. “I thought we were better but that’s not going to get it done for us. We’re just going to have to keep pushing this thing forward and get things done faster.”

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