Stock Talk: Stock up, stock down following Week 3 Western Michigan win

After a sluggish start, the Iowa Hawkeyes rolled away from Western Michigan in a 41-10 nonconference-closing victory.

With the win, Iowa heads into Big Ten sitting at a perfect 3-0. It’s the 11th time under Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz that the Hawkeyes have begun 3-0 or better.

Now, before close this chapter and officially turn the page to a monster prime-time showdown, let’s take a look at which Hawkeyes’ stocks are rising and which Hawkeyes’ stocks are falling.

Stock Up: Iowa's running game

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

How could you not start here? Finally, that looks like Iowa football! The Hawkeyes ran the football extremely well and it was led by a career day from junior running back Leshon Williams.

The Chicago native racked up 145 yards on 12 carries. Freshmen backs Kamari Moulton and Terrell Washington Jr. also had nice days. Moulton scored a pair of touchdowns and tallied 50 rushing yards on eight carries, while Washington Jr. registered 31 rushing yards on six totes.

Iowa’s 254 rushing yards were its most since the 2021 win over Kent State.

Stock Down: Fast offensive starts

(Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)

For all of the complaints that fans could have about the offensive performances in Weeks 1 and 2, one thing couldn’t be argued: Iowa did start fast.

The Hawkeyes scored on its first two possessions in both the Utah State and Iowa State games. It didn’t work out that way against Western Michigan.

Instead, senior quarterback Cade McNamara was picked off on the Hawkeyes’ first drive, the Hawkeyes punted on the next drive and then sophomore Drew Stevens missed a 41-yard field goal on Iowa’s third drive.

Yikes. All of it dug Iowa a 7-0 hole against a Western Michigan team they were expected to jump all over from the opening kick.

Stock Up: Hawkeye Special Teams

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Even with Stevens’ missed field goal to start things off, it was still a great day for Iowa special teams.

Stevens wound up making a 31-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. But, before that, senior Tory Taylor showed off the leg and the Hawkeye specialists showed off their coverage skills. Iowa downed a pair of early punts at the Western Michigan 4- and 1-yard line.

Junior Cooper DeJean returned five punts for 77 yards with a long of 28, while junior Kaden Wetjen returned three kickoffs for 88 yards, including a long of 35 yards.

And then, of course, sophomore defensive lineman Anterio Thompson blocked a Broncos punt for a safety. It was Iowa’s first safety since opening the 2022 season with a two-safety day.

Stock Down: Jermari Harris' return

(Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)

Junior cornerback Jermari Harris didn’t have the seamless return he was probably hoping for. Maybe that was an unrealistic expectation, but it was a tough day for the Chicago corner.

Western Michigan burnt Harris on a 64-yard touchdown from quarterback Treyson Bourguet to wide receiver Anthony Sambucci to get the scoring started in the first quarter. Then, WMU receiver Jehlani Galloway got past Harris again for a 60-yard reception in the fourth quarter. Thankfully, that was negated with an ineligible man downfield penalty.

A game against Western Michigan with several coverage busts to knock the rust off is probably to be expected. Ultimately, just getting that game out of the way could be a good thing for Iowa, too.

The Hawkeyes’ secondary feels pretty rock-solid overall for the most part. This showed some cracks, though. Hopefully, Harris and Iowa tighten things up.

Stock Up: Iowa LBs

Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK
Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Iowa’s linebackers had a day. Nick Jackson and Jay Higgins combined for 18 tackles. The duo combined on a forced fumble that Jeremiah Pittman recovered. Jackson also had a sack.

A terrific sign moving forward for Iowa.

Stock Down: Healthy Stars

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

What an absolute buzz kill. Seeing junior tight end Luke Lachey go down early in the contest was just gut-wrenching.

The injury looked bad from the get-go and Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz’s update wasn’t exactly encouraging. The Hawkeyes have options at tight end, but it’s just so disappointing to see this opportunity as Iowa’s No. 1 target seemingly lost for Lachey. The 6-foot-6, 253 pound tight end now will likely start the road to recovery instead.

Stock Up: The schedule

(Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)

Remember the last time Iowa and Penn State got together? That was pretty fun. It was a battle of top-five foes. Iowa came in ranked No. 3, while Penn State entered ranked No. 4.

Iowa won that battle over Penn State, 23-20, erasing an early two-touchdown deficit and setting off a Kinnick Stadium field-storming.

Let’s save the next field-storming in this series for another time, but how about another Hawkeye victory come Saturday?

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Story originally appeared on Hawkeyes Wire