Iowa will try to write even more Hawkeye football history on Friday when they host Nebraska in hopes of achieving an unblemished regular season. They'll be operating on a short week with the showdown in Lincoln taking place six days after their last game while the Huskers had the previous week off. As Kirk Ferentz has repeatedly said, Iowa will be in catch-up mode in terms of preparation.
Nebraska enters the game coming off two consecutive wins over Michigan State and Rutgers so their confidence is soaring as high as it has been all year. The Huskers also have the opportunity to spoil Iowa's playoff chances and cement a spot in a bowl game with a win.
It's time to dig into this one more extensively.
Here are some numbers related to this week's contest.
- The most lopsided statistical category of this contest is the turnover margin. Iowa is +11 on the year while the Huskers are -10. Part of that is due to Tommy Armstrong's tendency to throw the ball to the wrong team. He's thrown six interceptions in his last three games including 17 on the year. Making this even seem worse of a matchup, the Hawkeye defense has picked off the most passes in the conference. C.J. Beathard has only tossed three picks the entire season.
- The Hawkeyes have also been dominant in the first quarter this year, outscoring opponents a combined 71-23. They've also finished each game with a big play when needed. This is a squad that starts and finishes strong.
- Both teams have high-powered offenses. Iowa is second in the league averaging 34.2 points a game while Nebraska is fourth at 33.5 points per game. There's a bit of a difference on the defensive side. Iowa only allows 18.5 points a game and the Huskers surrender 27.7 a game.
- The Huskers do average more yards offensively than Iowa. Nebraska racks up 443.4 yards a game and the Hawkeyes tally 418.3 a game. Purdue did have more yards last week than Iowa.
- Iowa is still the second best running attack in the Big Ten. Their average is still over 200 yards a game at 208.3. However, the Huskers are the fourth best against the run in the conference, only allowing 109.8 yards a game. Most of that is because of their front four, especially sensational defensive tackle Maliek Collins.
- Despite Tommy Armstrong not always throwing it to the right team, the Husker passing offense is prolific. It's the best in the Big Ten at 272.7 yards a game and 26 touchdowns. They're also one of the worst in defending the pass, only better than Indiana. They allow a whopping 305.5 passing yards a game. That is atrocius.
- The Huskers are far from dangerous as a kick return unit. Their average is the worst in the Big Ten at only 18.4 yards per return. Iowa is third in the league in the kickoff return game and fourth in punt returning.
- Both teams are exceptional at punting. Nebraska is second in the league and Iowa is fourth.
- Despite Nebraska having a very good front seven, Iowa actually has more sacks on the year as a defense. The Huskers do protect the quarterback better. They've only allowed the second fewest sacks in the conference, only more than Indiana.
- Both teams have spectacular third down offenses. Iowa is second in the league, converting on 46.8 percent of them. The Huskers are fourth, converting on 43.5 percent of their attempts.
- Another stat that shows what team beats theirselves and which one doesn't. Nebraska has committed the second most penalties in the conference with 80. Iowa has committed the fewest in the Big Ten with only 55.
Iowa Individual Leaders
- Quarterback C.J. Beathard is seventh in the Big Ten in passing yards a game. He's averaging 205.2 yards a game. He's fourth in pass efficiency.
- Running back Jordan Canzeri is still fifth in the Big Ten in rushing yards a game despite not having played a significantly large portion of four games. He's averaging 91.6 yards a game. He's also second in the Big Ten in touchdowns. He only trails Ezekiel Elliott in touchdowns. Elliott has 17 while Canzeri has 11. Elliott has played more games, obviously.
- Running back LeShun Daniels is ninth in the Big Ten in rushing at 65.6 yards a game.
- Wideout Matt VandeBerg is sixth in the conference in receptions a game and has 56 total on the year. He also averages 54 yards receiving per game.
- Desmond King is fifth in the conference in punt return average at 12.7 yards a pop. His 18 passes defended as a cornerback is third in the Big Ten, trailing only Jourdan Lewis of Michigan and Rashard Fant of Indiana. However, King's eight interceptions is four more than anyone else in the league. Anthony Brown of Purdue, Taylor Barton of Illinois, Nate Gerry of Nebraska, and Anthony Cioffi of Rutgers have four. King's total also tied the Iowa single-season record held by Nile Kinnick and is tops in the NCAA.
- Dillon Kidd is fourth in the Big Ten in punting average at 42.6 yards a punt.
- Cole Fisher is tied for seventh in the Big Ten in tackles at 8.4 a game. Josey Jewell is fourth in the league with 9.3 tackles a game and has 102 total.