Iowa Football Big Ten Report: Through Three

Three games isn't a scientific sampler, but it's better than just one game. Iowa has played three league games, as have most of their Big Ten brethren. HN.com takes a look at how Iowa stacks up, league wise, through three games with a look ahead to Wisconsin...

Iowa is three games into the 2008 Big Ten season, which is nearly 50% for the math majors out there.   Statistics begin to take more form and shape when you have that kind of sample with which to analyze, so it's as good a time as any to take another peek inside the numbers as it relates to the Iowa football team.  Keep in mind that Michigan, Purdue and Northwestern have played two conference games to date.

 

SCORING

 

Iowa is 3rd in the Big Ten with 9 touchdowns scored in three league games.  The Hawks are 4th in the league with regards to points per game average exactly at 25 points per contest.  The pessimist might say that Iowa's 45 point explosion against Indiana makes that number disproportionate, but I think a relatively sane person can remember that Iowa was -6 in turnovers against Northwestern and Michigan State and see that the Hawks left a lot of points off the board in those two games.  Northwestern had four consecutive offensive possessions to end the second quarter and start the third quarter, not to mention Iowa turning the ball over in the redzone in that game, and two more redzone giveaways against Michigan State.  I think 25 points per conference game is about right.  

 

By the way, 25.0 points per game would have been ‘good' for 10th in the league last year in the season ending conference only statistics.  This year's points per game averages are probably not going to go up all that much, therefore scoring is down this year across the board.

 

SCORING DEFENSE

 

Iowa has allowed five touchdowns through three games, just one more than Ohio State has allowed and the same number that Penn State has allowed.  Purdue has allowed three touchdowns in two games.  Iowa is allowing 15.7 points per Big Ten game, with no team scoring more than 22.  That is good for third in the league.  In a statistical anomaly, Big Ten teams have only converted two extra points on their five touchdowns against the Hawkeyes. 

 

PASSING OFFENSE

 

Iowa has completed 66.2 percent of its passes in three games, which is the best mark in the Big Ten.  Iowa is averaging 8.0 yards per pass attempt, a solid number, and that is good for fourth in the league.  Of the eight teams that have played three games, just Ohio State and Michigan State have attempted fewer passes than Iowa.  Northwestern & Purdue have attempted more passes than Iowa in just two league games.  In last year's season ending statistics, just one Big Ten team had a per attempt average of 8.0 yards, and that was Wisconsin.  That was the high mark for the league last year.  The paradigm in the Big Ten is shifting a bit, as you know.  Iowa averaged 6.0 yards per pass attempt last year.

 

PASS DEFENSE

 

Teams are averaging just 6.3 yards per pass attempt against Iowa, third best in the league.  Teams have also thrown the third most passing attempts against Iowa, a sign of a strong run defense.  Iowa has allowed five touchdowns passes, which is tied for the most in the league. 

 

PUNTING

 

Of the teams that have played three games, Iowa has the fewest punts in the Big Ten, with 10.  Iowa is tops in the league with a 46.4 yards per punt gross average as well as a 44.6 net average.  Just three of Ryan Donahue's punts have been returned, which is pretty remarkable considering his gross per punt average.  Iowa was #1 in net punting last year at 41.0 per punt. 

 

TURNOVERS

 

Believe it or not, Iowa doesn't have the most turnovers in the league; that dubious distinction goes to Iowa's next opponent, Wisconsin; the Badgers have 10 to Iowa's 8.  But Wisconsin has forced 8 turnovers to Iowa's 4, so the Hawks are 8th in the league in turnover margin.  Iowa was #1 in turnover margin last year at +9.

 

RUSHING OFFENSE

 

Iowa is third in the league with a 4.5 yards per carry average.  Ohio State is first at 4.9 with Penn State second at 4.6.  Iowa has 121 rushing attempts to 119 for the Bucks and Nits.  Iowa's five rushing touchdowns are second in the league.  Iowa was 10th in yards per carry last year at 3.1. 

 

RUSHING DEFENSE

 

Iowa is #1 in the Big Ten in allowing just 97.3 rushing yards per game.  Ohio State is second, which you would expect, but Minnesota is a surprising third, allowing 138.7 yards rushing in three Big Ten games.  That is a big reason for their 2-1 start.  Wisconsin is allowing 153.7 rushing yards per Big Ten game.  Wisconsin is also allowing the third most yards per carry on the ground in the league at 4.2.  Only Michigan State and Minnesota have a worse per yards per carry allowed average.  Indiana is 3rd in the league, allowing 3.6.

 

TOTAL OFFENSE

 

Iowa is 4th in the Big Ten in total offense with 379.3 yards per game.  That mark would have been ‘good' for 9th in last year's final conference statistical standings.  Iowa averaged just 296.9 yards per game last year, which was dead last.  Iowa is averaging 5.8 yards per play this year, which is third best in the league.  Both Iowa and Penn State have run 195 plays apiece this year in three Big Ten games, and the Nits are averaging one and a half more feet per play than is Iowa, or .5 yards.  That adds up to about 27 yards per game in total yards.

 

TOTAL DEFENSE

 

Iowa is third in total defense, allowing 317.0 yards per game.  Ohio State is first followed by Penn State, who is allowing 8.3 fewer yards per game than the Hawks.  Wisconsin is allowing just 324 yards per game, but they have given up twice as many touchdowns (10) than Iowa in just three league games.  Only Indiana has allowed more (11). 

 

PASSING EFFICIENCY

 

Iowa is 4th in passing efficiency with a rating of 145.7.  Wisconsin is in 10th, at 96.4.  They have throw two touchdown passes and five interceptions.  They have also played three of the league's best defenses in Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State.  Iowa is up next for the Badgers, who benched their starting quarterback in the second half of Saturday's game.  Iowa was 10th in the league in this category last year through all games at 112.4, and we all know the struggles Iowa had last year.  Through three games this year, Wisconsin hasn't been nearly ‘as good' as Iowa was last year for the entire Big Ten season in this department.

 

FIRST DOWNS

 

Iowa is #1 in the Big Ten with 71 first downs through three games.  Penn State is second with 70, Illinois third at 63.  Most people would say that Penn State and Illinois have explosive offenses this year.  Iowa was 11th in the league last year with just 126 first downs in 8 games, an average of 15.75.  This year through three games, Iowa is averaging 23.6.  39 of Iowa's first downs have come via the running game, 8 more than the next nearest team.

 

SACKS BY

 

Iowa has just two sacks in three games, which is dead last.  The three teams that have played just two games have more than two sacks.  Wisconsin has four, which is next up from the bottom.

 

PENALTIES

 

Iowa has been flagged just 11 times in three league games, which is a very good number.  Would you believe that Penn State has been flagged just six times in three games?  Indiana is worst in this department at 21…and they could have been called for holding 40 times against Iowa. 


RED ZONE OFFENSIVE

 

Iowa has made 13 trips to the redzone, one back of Big Ten leaders Michigan State and Penn State.  Iowa is 10-13 in scoring trips to the zone, 6th in the league.  Wisconsin has been to the redzone just 8 times.  Iowa has one fumble, one interception and one turnover on downs in the redzone.

 

RED ZONE DEFENSE

 

Iowa has allowed 12 trips to the redzone in three games, which is the second worst total allowed.  That caught me by surprise, but part of that has been due to a few turnovers in that area.  Teams have scored just 5 touchdowns

 

THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS

 

Iowa is 6th in the league with a rate of 37.5%.  Iowa was dead last in this department last year, converting just 27.8% of third downs in Big Ten play.  Minnesota was 10th a year ago at 37.4, so this is still an area where Iowa can get much better.

 

OPPONENT THIRD DOWN CONVERSION

 

Iowa is allowing 37% of third downs to be converted, which is 6th in the league.  Wisconsin is 10th in the league at 42.9%.

 

TIME OF POSSESSION

 

Iowa is #1 in the league with 32:47 per game of time of possession.  Minnesota and Michigan State are both over 32:00 as well.  

 

KICKOFF COVERAGE

 

Iowa is 3rd in the league, just over a yard per return away from being #1.  Wisconsin is 9th in the league, allowing 6 more yards per return than Iowa.

 

INDIVIDUALS

 

-Shonn Green's 143.7 rushing yards per game is #1 in the league

-Andy Brodell's 100.0 receiving yards per game is #3 in the league, and just 9 yards per game fewer than Minnesota's Eric Decker that is getting soooo much ink.

-Rick Stanzi is #4 in passer efficiency at 147.1 rating

-Jewell Hampton is #2 in kickoff return average at 24.7

-Ryan Donahue is #1 in punting average of 46.4

-Pat Angerer is #4 in tackles


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