Although the Iowa Hawkeyes will come to Happy Valley with a perfect 3-0 record for Saturday’s White Out game against Penn State Football, Iowa will be far from full strength.
Injuries will sideline three major offensive contributors for the Hawkeyes.
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz confirmed Tuesday during a press conference that the Hawkeyes will be without starting tight end Luke Lachey and running backs Kaleb Johnson and Jaziun Patterson.
Ferentz noted that Lachey will “most likely miss the season after suffering an ankle injury that required surgery.
Lachey’s injury is a major blow to the Hawkeye passing game as Lachey leads the team in both receptions (10) and receiving yards (131).
In 2022, Lachey finished second on the Hawkeye team with 398 receiving yards and was the only Hawkeye to catch multiple touchdown passes (4).
Kirk Ferentz says Lachey out. Also out this week are Kaleb Johnson and Jaziun Patterson. pic.twitter.com/2hqxIHWXQr
— Tom Kakert (@HawkeyeReport) September 19, 2023
As for the running backs, according to Ferentz, both Johnson and Patterson are “week to week” but will miss the matchup against Penn State this weekend.
Johnson and Patterson are Iowa’s top two running backs by carries this season, while Leshon Williams leads the Hawkeyes in yards. Johnson and Patterson have accounted for 53 percent of Iowa’s rushing attempts and 42.5 percent of Iowa’s rushing yards on the season. Johnson led the Hawkeyes with 779 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2022.
Losing all three offensive playmakers, which make up 35.6 percent of Iowa’s offensive yards this season, is a significant blow coming into a game against a stingy Penn State defense that has only surrendered five total touchdowns in 2023.
In 2023, Manny Diaz‘s Penn State defense is only surrendering 267.3 yards per game and has accumulated 7 takeaways.
If Iowa is to come away from Saturday’s White Out with a win, the Hawkeyes will need new faces to step up in the place of these three playmakers.