5 predictions for the 2022 Iowa Hawkeyes football season

With the 2022 college football season slightly under three weeks away and teams in the thick of training camp, football season is officially upon us. Everyone is undefeated and everyone is juiced up with expectations for the season.

With the Iowa Hawkeyes coming off of their annual Kids’ Day, there is no better time than now to discuss some predictions for their 2022 season. I have five predictions for what this upcoming season will hold and explain a bit regarding why.

Williams duo combines for 1,500-plus rushing yards

Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK

Gavin Williams and Leshon Williams will combine to rush for over 1,500 yards during the 2022 season for the Iowa Hawkeyes.

The offensive line has experience returning, each of the Williams provide a downhill running style that is not afraid of contact and finishing runs, and there will be an emphasis to establish a consistent ground game after a step backwards in 2021. The Hawkeyes will rotate these two based on fresh legs and the hot hand giving these two every opportunity to surpass 1,500 combined rushing yards.

Iowa defense eclipses 20 interceptions again

Bryon Houlgrave/The Register via Imagn Content Services, LLC

They did it last year and they are going to do it again in 2022. The Iowa Hawkeyes will once again surpass 20 interceptions by the defense.

Last year the Hawkeyes had 25 interceptions and I am going against all of the data and previous history here to predict that Iowa won’t see a regression. Riley Moss is a preseason All-American and was named to the Bednarik Award watch list. He will be accompanied by Kaevon Merriweather and Jermari Harris in the secondary, all who have experience picking off opponents.

Add in a few interceptions from a supremely talented linebacking corps and an uptick in quarterback pressure that I discuss later on, and it’s easy to see why the Hawkeyes will continue to be ballhawks.

Sam LaPorta sets career high in receiving yards

Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Sam LaPorta is the next Iowa tight end in line to make the jump to the NFL like George Kittle, Noah Fant, and T.J. Hockenson. Returning for his senior year is his time to shine and why he sets a career record in receiving yards.

LaPorta’s current season high is 670 receiving yards, which came in 2021. I won’t just predict he surpasses that number, but LaPorta will clear 750 yards on his way to the 2023 NFL draft. He is the No. 1 target this year and the ball will find him in key situations when a first down is needed or a big play is schemed up.

Spencer Petras throws for 15+ touchdowns and less than 10 interceptions

Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK

All the noise is around how Spencer Petras can perform and if he can take the Iowa Hawkeyes’ offense to the next level. He improves. He throws for more than 15 touchdowns, while throwing less than 10 interceptions.

I have discussed why this offense can set up best for him and I think we see quicker decisions resulting in completions to the playmakers faster and an overall improvement in play. Spencer Petras doesn’t have to win games on his own, but I predict we see him find the end zone more and manage turnovers better.

Iowa defense totals 40-plus sacks

Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

The Iowa Hawkeyes defense had 32 sacks last season. They surpass 40 total sacks in 2022. John Waggoner and Lukas Van Ness, a projected top 50 breakout player in 2022, anchor a defensive line that could prove to be a game-changing force for the Hawkeyes.

Jack Campbell will get a couple on blitzes with his instincts and there is something telling me that we see Jestin Jacobs’ athleticism used similarly to the dominant way that Micah Parsons is used by the Dallas Cowboys to pitch in a handful.

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Story originally appeared on Hawkeyes Wire