Inside the Numbers: Buffalo

'Inside the Numbers' has been a popular feature on Hawkeye website communities for the past four seasons. We think that it will continue to be a popular series for years to come, so we wanted to get the ball rolling in advance of the Big October 1st website addition. In this week's offering, we look at the company that Kirk Ferentz is keeping in the Iowa history books, some offensive and defensive trends for 2003 copared to the 2002 season and much, much more.

With Iowa's 56-7 win over Buffalo, head coach Kirk Ferentz is stepping into some mighty elite company at Iowa.

Hayden Fry is a saint in these parts, we all know that.

Fry's best stretch of games at Iowa came over a 20 game span in the 1984-1986 seasons.

Those teams won 17 of 20 contests, starting with the last two wins of the 1984 season through a loss to Michigan in 1986.

With Saturday's win against Buffalo, Kirk Ferentz has a similar streak going.

Over the course of Iowa's last 19 games, Iowa has won 16 of them. Yes, that is correct. The man that nobody wanted back in December of 1998 has gone 16-3 over his last 19 games.

To equal Fry's best run, his 2003 Hawkeyes have to snap a five-game losing streak to Iowa State in Ames next Saturday. To best that streak, they need the aforementioned win next week and a win at home the following week against a ranked and very dangerous Arizona State team.

Kirk Ferentz has now been the head coach at Iowa for 50 games. He is 24-26 overall and is two games under .500 in the Big Ten. That shows you just how far this program has come under his guidance, considering that in his first two seasons, Iowa was just 4-19.

Another streak that is worth noting: Iowa has now won 11 straight regular season games, a feat that Fry never accomplished. Fry's best regular season streak was eight in a row spanning the course of the 1984 and 1985 seasons. Forest Evashevski had an eight game regular season win streak as well.

The longest such streak in Iowa history is also the longest overall winning streak: 20 games in a row during the 1920-1923 seasons by the great Howard Jones. Alden Knipe's 1898-1900 teams won 14 in a row.

But as far as modern era coaches go, Ferentz has his own Iowa legend.

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After reading the various Iowa message boards and listening to the post game radio shows, there seems to be a few too many fans concerned with Iowa's run defense.

Buffalo did gain 38 yards on their opening drive, I will grant you that. But they did not score any points.

On their second drive of the game, Buffalo lost two yards rushing. That was the drive where Chad Greenway forced a fumble and Sean Considine scooped it up and recovered the gaffe for a touchdown.

On their third drive of the game, Buffalo went three and out and gained six yards on the ground. On their fourth drive, they gained one yard rushing before Considine intercepted a pass.

The fifth drive? The Hawkeyes began to substitute liberally on both sides of the ball.

So here is our unofficial count against the first team defense: 45 yards rushing.

When you take into account that Buffalo runs a lot of option and that Iowa will not play another option team all season and did not play one last season, I am not going to get too worked up over those numbers whatsoever.

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Does Fred Russell look like a Playstation 2 back out there or what? He can cut 90-degrees on a dime.

Iowa came out and focused on improving the rushing attack behind the right side of their line. That is a good thing, as teams will likely begin to stack defenders over Robert Gallery.

The young line answered the call as Fred Russell and Marcus Schnoor racked up huge gains over the right side in the first and second quarter.

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INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Here are some first half stats for you to chew on: Iowa had 21 first downs to Buffalo's five...Iowa was 5 of 6 on third down conversions...Iowa had out-gained Buffalo 315 to 85...Iowa averaged 9.8 yards per play to just 4.4 for the hapless Bulls…Iowa did not punt the football and scored a touchdown on every possession, save the final possession where they chose to run out the clock deep in Buffalo territory…Iowa had zero penalties.

Through two games in 2002, Brad Banks had rushed for six yards. Through two games in 2003, Nathan Chandler has rushed for 39 yards. Through two games in 2002, Fred Russell was averaging 7 per carry on 46 attempts. Through two games in 2003, Fred Russell is averaging 7.8 yards per carry on 34 attempts.

Through two games in 2002, Iowa had allowed 319.5 passing yards per game. Through two games in 2003, Iowa has allowed 154.0 passing yards per game.

Through two games in 2002, Iowa had allowed 360 yards of total offense per game. In 2003, Iowa has allowed 294.5 yards of total offense per game.

Through two games in 2002, Iowa averaged 518.5 yards of total offense per game. Through two games in 2003, Iowa has averaged 401.5 yards of total offense per game.

Does any of this matter next week? No.


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