NCAA Football: Western Michigan at Iowa

No. 24 Iowa will be shorthanded on Saturday when it hits the road to face No. 7 Penn State. On Tuesday, Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz announced star tight end Luke Lachey and running backs Kaleb Johnson and Jaziun Patterson will all miss the top-25 showdown with injuries. 

Lachey is considered by many to be Iowa's top offensive weapon. He exited last Saturday's game against Western Michigan with a significant right leg injury and is expected to miss the rest of the season. The junior tight end has 10 catches for 131 yards this year and has served as a security blanket for Michigan transfer quarterback Cade McNamara. Michigan transfer Erick Ali should receive a larger role in his absence. 

As for the running back room, Johnson was Iowa's starter and Patterson rotated in as the backup. Johnson rushed for nearly 800 yards last year, but has only managed 91 yards on 34 attempts this season. With both players out, Leshon Williams should receive a bulk of the carries. He currently leads the team in rushing with 164 yards.

Iowa's offense was a point of discussion all offseason. The school revised offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz's contract with a clause that requires the team to score at least 25 points per game this year or he will be fired. The Hawkeyes are currently averaging 28.3 points per contest and just notched their largest scoring output of the season in a 41-10 win over Western Michigan.