Iowa is 84-31-2 (.726) in season-opening games and 86-29-1 (.746) in home openers. Iowa has averaged 44.8 points and a winning margin of 38.6 in its last five season-opening victories (Ball State 56-0 in 2005; Kent State 39-7 in 2004 and 51-0 in 2001; Miami, OH 21-3 in 2003; Akron 57-21 in 2002). Iowa's last season-opening loss came to Kansas State (27-7) in 2000.
ON THIS DATE
Saturday will be Iowa's first game ever played on September 2.
Iowa leads the series 1-0. The Hawkeyes defeated Montana (48-6) on October 2, 1954 in Iowa City.
Montana has won or shared eight Big Sky Conference championships in a row and garnered league titles 11 of the past 13 seasons. The Grizzlies have also registered a record 13 straight Division I-AAplayoff appearances. Montana has been ranked in The Sports Network's Division I-AA top 25, 185 of the past 189 weeks, including being ranked third in this year's preseason poll.
Montana, which has compiled 20 consecutive winning seasons, returns 15 starters and 45 lettermen from an 8-4 team that was ranked 12th in The Sports Network's season-ending poll. Starting RB Lex Hilliard suffered a season-ending foot injury in mid-August and is replaced on the depth chart with Greg Coleman. Coleman transferred to Montana after rushing for 419 yards and four touchdowns at Iowa State in 2006. QB Josh Swogger is a senior transfer from Washington State and earned the starting nod after a solid spring.
The Grizzlies ranked sixth nationally in turnover margin (+1.08), eighth in net punting (36.47), ninth in kickoff returns (22.74) and 16 in scoring defense (18.17) in 2005.
Montana Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Ends Coach Kraig Paulson was on Utah State's coaching staff in 2002 when the Aggies lost, 48-7, to Iowa in Kinnick Stadium. Paulson served as the defensive coordinator and defensive line coach for Utah State in 2002.
FERENTZ CLOSES IN ON MILESTONES
Head Coach Kirk Ferentz is only one victory from collecting his 50th overall win at the University of Iowa. Additionally, he is only three triumphs from tying Forest Evashevski (1952-60) for the second-most wins by a Hawkeye head coach. Ferentz's next conference victory will also tie Evashevski for second at Iowa with 33. Hayden Fry (1979-98) is Iowa's all-time winningest coach with 143 overall wins and 96 league victories.
IOWA OPENS BIG TEN PLAY ON ROAD
Iowa will begin its quest for a 12th Big Ten championship Sept. 23 at Illinois. This year marks the seventh time in eight years, including the last five, the Hawkeyes will open league play on the road. Iowa's lone conference home opener, under Coach Ferentz, came in 2001 when it defeated Penn State.
HAWKEYES ON THE TUBE
Iowa's season-opener vs. Montana will mark the 53rd consecutive game the Hawkeyes have been selected for television. The last Iowa contest not televised was against Minnesota on Nov. 17, 2001.
IOWA AMONG THE BIG TEN'S ELITE
Iowa is tied with Michigan and Ohio State for the most conference victories the last four years. All three schools have 25 wins during that time. Michigan(19) has won the most league contests the last three years, followed by Iowa (17) and Ohio State (17).
DOMINANT AT HOME
Iowa boasts the fourth-best home winning percentage in the nation since the start of the 2003 season. The Hawkeyes are tied with Oklahoma with a .947 (18-1) winning percentage in fourth. Leading the pack is USC (1.000, 18-0), followed by Ohio State (.952, 20-1) and Boise State (.950, 19-1).
TATE AMONG HAWKEYE ELITE
Drew Tate joins Chuck Long, Matt Rodgers and Matt Sherman as the only three-year starters at quarterback in Iowa history. Tate has collected 17 overall victories under center, which ranks fourth in Hawkeye annals behind Long (33), Sherman (24) and Rodgers (21). Tate has also amassed 12 conference wins directing the Hawkeye offense, which ranks fourth behind Long (24) and Sherman (14) and Rodgers (14).