Oct. 8, 2012
Game Six: Iowa Game Notes
GAME 6 STORY LINES
is one victory from claiming his 100th as Iowa's head coach. His overall record stands at 111-89 in 17 years as a head coach.
Saturday marks Iowa's first true road game of the 2012 season. Iowa opened the season against Northern Illinois in Chicago, followed by four consecutive home contests. It will mark the latest the Hawkeyes will have played a true road game since playing at Indiana on Oct. 13, 1962.
Saturday will mark Iowa's first game against Michigan State in East Lansing since 2009, which was a thriller. Trailing 13-9 and seconds left, QB Ricky Stanzi
found WR Marvin McNutt
on a 7-yard scoring strike as time expired on fourth down to give the Hawkeyes a 15-13 victory and improved to 8-0 on the year.
has rushed for a combined seven touchdowns the last three games (three in each game against UNI and Central Michigan, and one vs. Minnesota).
will be one of the features on this week's The Journey on BTN. The show will debut Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. (CT). and replay at 9 p.m. (CT).
Saturday is Michigan State's Homecoming game.
HAWKEYES TRAVEL TO MICHIGAN STATE
Iowa (3-2, 1-0) travels to East Lansing, Mich., Saturday for a Legends Division matchup against Michigan State (4-2, 1-1) at 11:01 a.m. (CT).
ON THE TUBE
ESPN (HD) will televise the contest. Dave Pasch, Brian Griese and Jenn Brown will call the action. The game can also be viewed online at ESPN3.com.
Iowa games are broadcast on the Hawkeye Radio Network. Gary Dolphin handles the play-by-play, with color commentator Ed Podolak and sideline reporter Rob Brooks. The Hawkeye Radio Network includes more than 40 stations throughout the state.
The game can also be heard on Sirius satellite radio 85 and XM 85 (Michigan State radio announcers).
HAWKEYE HUDDLE AT MICHIGAN STATE
Iowa fans traveling to Michigan State for Saturday's contest against the Spartans should make plans to attend the "Hawkeye Huddle" prior to kickoff. The Hawkeye Huddle is presented by the National I-Club and the UI Alumni Association.
The Huddle will be held from 9:30-11 a.m. ET at the Marriott University Place, 300 M.A.C. Ave. in East Lansing.
Admission to the Hawkeye Huddle is free and includes cash refreshments, snacks, door prizes, cheerleaders and Herky. Visit www.jointheiclub.com for additional information.
ON THIS DATE
Iowa has posted an 11-5 record when playing on Oct. 13. Iowa defeated Cornell (60-0) in 1894, Simpson (47-0) in 1990, Purdue (7-0) in 1923, Chicago (13-0) in 1928, Pittsburgh (34-17) in 1951, Wisconsin (13-7) in 1956, Indiana (14-10) in 1962, Northwestern (58-6) in 1979, Purdue (40-3) in 1984, Wisconsin (30-10) in 1990 and Illinois (10-6) in 2007. The Hawkeyes lost to Nebraska (47-0) in 1917, Nebraska 14-13 in 1934, Purdue (40-0) in 1945, Northwestern (31-15) in 1973 and Michigan State (31-28) in 2001.
CFPA HONORS 3 HAWKEYES
Sophomore FB/RB Mark Weisman, and juniors TE C.J. Fiedorowicz and LB Christian Kirksey earned honorable mention honors from the College Football Performance Awards at their respective positions for their play in Iowa's win against Minnesota on Sept. 29. It marks the second consecutive game Weisman earned the honor.
Weisman topped 100 yards rushing for the third consecutive game, rushing for 177 yards and scoring a touchdown on only 21 carries (8.4 avg.) against the Gophers.
Fiedorowicz had two receptions for 50 yards, including a game-high 45-yard catch.
Kirksey had five tackles, and also recovered a fumble and returned an interception 68 yards for a touchdown. The return was the third-longest for a touchdown in school history.
NEXT MAN IN...
After running backs Damon Bullock and Greg Garmon left the UNI game (Sept. 15) with injuries, fullback Mark Weisman was forced into full-time running back duties against UNI and Central Michigan. The walk-on has delivered, rushing for 507 yards and seven touchdowns on 72 attempts (7.0 avg.) the last three games. That is the second-most rushing yardage total in week's three through five in the country behind Nevada's Stefphon Jefferson (595 yards on 98 carries).
The sophomore has totaled 519 yards rushing on 74 carries this season. The 519 yards rushing are the most by a Hawkeye in the first five games of the season since Shonn Greene had 665 yards in 2008. Weisman ranks fourth in Big Ten rushing (103.0 avg.).
Weisman rushed for 113 yards and three scores against UNI and a career-best 217 yards and three touchdowns versus Central Michigan. The 217 yards tie for the eighth-best rushing total in Iowa single-game history. The 217 yards rank as the third-most by a Big Ten player in 2012. Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell had 253 against Eastern Michigan, while Denard Robinson totaled 218 against Air Force. In the Big Ten opener against Minnesota, he carried the ball 21 times for 177 yards (8.4 avg.) and a score.
Weisman, who has earned honorable mention CFPA honors the last two games, is one of only three Big Ten players to rush for 100+ yards in three games in 2012, with the others being Ohio State's Braxton Miller and Venric Mark of Northwestern.
Weisman scored all three of Iowa's touchdowns against UNI; two 1-yard scores and one 2-yard run. It marked the first time a Hawkeye rushed for three touchdowns in a game since Adam Robinson against Eastern Illinois (Sept. 4, 2010). Weisman tallied three of Iowa's four touchdowns against Central Michigan, scoring from five, 12 and 34 yards out. He added an 8-yard scoring run against Minnesota.
Kirk Ferentz has amassed a record of 99-68 in 14 years as Iowa's head coach. His next victory will be win No. 100.
Iowa's next opponent, Penn State on Oct. 20, is idle this week after starting the Big Ten with wins at Illinois and at home against Northwestern.
Iowa has scored 31 points in each of its last two games. After averaging 12 points in its first two games, Iowa averaged 29.7 points in its last three contests.
Iowa started five native Iowans on its offensive line the first four games, marking the first time under Coach Ferentz the offensive line has consisted of all native Iowans: LT Brandon Scherff (Denison), LG Matt Tobin (Dyersville), C James Ferentz (Iowa City), RG Austin Blythe (Williamsburg), RT Brett Van Sloten (Decorah). Ferentz has 31 career starts, followed by Tobin's 15 starts and eight by Scherff.
Iowa has rushed for a combined 598 yards the last three games (199.3 avg.).
Iowa's defense had 10 interceptions in 13 games in 2011, the Hawkeyes have already collected six in five games in 2012. Five Hawkeyes have intercepted at least one pass this season, with Tom Donatell collecting two.
QB James Vandenberg has a 27:9 touchdown-to-interception ratio the last two seasons.
Iowa has played two games decided by one point, beating Northern Illinois (18-17) in its season opener, while falling to Central Michigan (32-31) on Sept. 22. In fact, three of Iowa's five games have been decided by three points or less.
Mark Weisman rushed for a combined 334 yards and six TD's against UNI and Central Michigan. He became the first Hawkeye to rush for 300+ yards and score 6+ times in a two-game span since Tavian Banks in 1997. Banks had a combined 517 yards and six TD's against UNI and Tulsa and 441 yards and eight TD's vs. Tulsa and Iowa State.
The Hawkeyes have played six true freshmen after five games: P Connor Kornbrath, CB Kevin Buford, CB Sean Draper, WR Tevaun Smith, LB Nate Meier, and RB Greg Garmon.
The Hawkeyes are tied for second in the country in fewest turnovers lost (3), third in fumbles lost (1) and 13th in turnover margin (+7).
Tom Donatell is one of six Big Ten student-athletes with multiple interceptions this year. Donatell is tied for 39th in the country in thefts (0.5).
Iowa is 9-2 in the games that QB James Vandenberg has completed at least 60 percent of his passes the last two seasons.
The Hawkeyes are 7-2 over the past two years when QB James Vandenberg throws for 219 yards or more.
Iowa averages 66.4 offensive plays through five games. The Hawkeyes averaged 53 offensive plays a year ago.
C.J. Fiedorowicz leads Hawkeye tight ends with 15 receptions for 172 yards. Last season, he had 16 catches for 167 yards and three TD's. Fiedorowicz has 12 catches for 151 yards the last four games combined, including a career-high 61 yards vs. Iowa State.
After allowing six sacks in the season opener, Iowa's offensive line has not surrendered a single sack the last four games.
Iowa has had 11 different players catch at least one pass this season.
DL Joe Gaglione earned honorable mention honors from CFPA for his efforts in week one's win over NIU. Gaglione played a key role for the Iowa defense that held NIU to just 201 yards of total offense. Gaglione recorded six tackles, including three tackles for loss and a sack. He forced an NIU fumble that was recovered by Iowa and led directly to a Hawkeye field goal in the third quarter. Gaglione ranks second in Big Ten TFL's (1.3) and tied for first in forced fumbles (0.4).
Iowa has utilized two punters this season: freshman Connor Kornbrath and senior John Wienke. Wienke, who is mainly used on short-field punts, has had five of his seven punts downed inside the 20, including two on the 1-yard line (Northern Illinois and Central Michigan). Kornbrath has punted 17 times for 617 yards (36.3 avg.).
Iowa is 0-1 on two-point conversions this season. The Hawkeyes failed to score on their only attempt, late in the fourth quarter in their 18-17 victory over NIU.
Iowa holds a 22-19-2 advantage in the series that began with a 21-7 Michigan State win in 1953. The Hawkeyes have won two of the last three meetings, four of the last six and nine of the last 14, with four of the five losses coming at East Lansing. The home team has won 11 of the last 13 games; Iowa won in East Lansing in 2009, while Michigan State won in Iowa City in 2011.
The first meeting between the two teams, a 21-7 Michigan State win at Iowa City on Sept. 26, 1953, marked MSU's first game as a member of the Big Ten Conference.
Michigan State holds a slim 10-9-1 advantage in games played at East Lansing. Saturday will mark the first meeting between the two schools in East Lansing since Iowa's thrilling 15-13 last-second primetime victory on Oct. 24, 2009.
Kirk Ferentz recorded his first Big Ten win as Iowa's head coach when the Hawkeyes topped Michigan State (21-16) in Iowa City, in 2000. The teams have played one overtime contest, with Iowa winning in two OTs at home in 2007.
IOWA/MICHIGAN STATE NOTES
Iowa has six players on its roster from the state of Michigan, including WR Kevonte Martin-Manley (Pontiac) , DL Carl Davis (Sterling Heights), DB Kevin Buford (Canton), DB Ruben Lile (Detroit), LB Laron Taylor (Detroit) and TE Jake Duzey (Troy). There are no Iowans on the Michigan State roster.
Iowa has alternated wins and losses through five games, starting the trend with a win over Northern Illinois (18-17) in the season opener. Michigan State has alternated wins and losses the last five contests after starting the season 2-0.
MSU radio play-by-play announcer George Blaha was raised in Marshalltown, Iowa and attended the first-ever game between Michigan State and Iowa in 1953.
Iowa defensive coordinator Coach Phil Parker played at Michigan State, earning first team all-Big Ten honors from 1983-85. Parker was a graduate assistant coach when Michigan State won the 1987 league title and defeated Southern Cal (20-18) in the 1988 Rose Bowl.
Saturday pits two of the nation's top field goal kickers. Iowa's Mike Meyer has split the uprights 10 times this season, including nine straight, ranking fourth in the country. Michigan State's Dan Conroy has made 11-of-16 field goals, ranking sixth in the nation in makes.
Michigan State has outscored its opponents 74-23 in the second halves of games, including a 45-13 advantage in the fourth quarter. Iowa has outscored its opponents 32-15 in the fourth period of games.
Michigan State's rushing offense averages 186.3 yards per game, while Iowa's rushing offense averages 161.0 yards per contest.
Michigan State ranks eighth in the country in total defense (272.3), 15th in scoring defense (15.2) and 25th in pass defense (186.3). Iowa ranks 21st nationally in total defense (315.0) and rushing defense (111.0), 24th in scoring defense (17.4) and 35th in pass defense (204.0).
Ted Gill, MSU's defensive line coach, was the defensive line and linebacker coach at Iowa from 1990-94.
Pat Narduzzi, MSU's defensive coordinator, was the defensive coordinator at Miami, OH in 2003 when Iowa defeated the RedHawks (21-3).
Dan Roushar, MSU's offensive coordinator, is a native of Clinton, Iowa. His late father, Dan, previously was the head coach at Iowa City Regina HS.
Mark Staten, MSU's offensive line coach, was a graduate assistant coach at Miami, OH when Iowa defeated the RedHawks (44-19) in 2001.
Mike Tressel, MSU's linebackers and special teams coach, was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Wartburg College in 2001.
SECOND HALF LIFTS SPARTANS TO WIN AT INDIANA
Trailing 27-14 at halftime, Michigan State scored 17 unanswered second-half points to escape with a 31-27 victory at Indiana and maintain possession of the Old Brass Spittoon last Saturday. After allowing 27 points on 17 first downs and 280 yards of total offense in the first half, the Spartan defense yielded zero points, two first downs and 37 yards of total offense the final 30 minutes.
The Spartans trimmed their 13-point halftime deficit to 27-17 on a PK Dan Conroy 46-yard field goal in the third quarter. RB Le'Veon Bell had a 1-yard scoring run and WR Bonnie Fowler caught a 36-yard touchdown for the game-winning scoring midway through the fourth quarter.
QB Andrew Maxwell completed 24-40 passes for a career-high 290 yards and two TD's. WR Aaron Burbridge, who was tabbed Big Ten Freshman of the Week, caught eight passes for 134 yards, while Bell rushed for a game-high 121 yards and two scores on 37 attempts.
The Spartans held Indiana to 35 yards rushing and maintained possession for 37:50 compared to only 22:10 for Indiana. Michigan State ranks sixth nationally in time of possession.
Michigan State was penalized eight times for 115 yards, with seven of the flags coming in the first half.
Michigan State took advantage of turnovers and field position in taking a 37-21 win over Iowa in Iowa City on Nov. 12, 2011. The Hawkeyes were guilty of three turnovers, with two of those coming in the first half. Michigan State scored a touchdown following each of the first-half turnovers, while Iowa's third turnover of the day came inside the MSU 10-yard line in the closing minutes of the game.
The Spartans had three scoring drives of 35 yards or less in the first half and scored two touchdowns in the final two minutes of the second period to take a 31-7 halftime advantage. Leading 7-0, the Spartans took advantage of an interception for a 17-yard touchdown drive in the first period. MSU added a 35-yard scoring drive in the second period following a 20-yard punt return and scored its final points of the half on a 27-yard drive after recovering a fumble on an Iowa KO return.
Iowa battled back in the second half, using a 3-yard touchdown pass from QB James Vandenberg to WR Marvin McNutt, Jr. and a 2-yard run by RB Marcus Coker to cut the deficit to 34-21 late in the third quarter. The Hawkeyes drove to the MSU 34-yard line on their next possession, but failed to convert a fourth down attempt. Iowa reached the MSU 15-yard line in the final minutes before a lost fumble ended its final scoring opportunity.
McNutt led Iowa's offense, grabbing eight receptions for 130 yards. Coker led the Iowa ground game with 57 yards as the Spartans held Iowa to 87 rushing yards. Vandenberg completed 22-47 passes for 262 yards, with two scores and one interception.
LB Christian Kirksey led the Hawkeye defense with nine tackles, including a tackle for loss. DB Shaun Prater added eight tackles, while DE Broderick Binns had two tackles for loss among his six stops and added a pass break-up.
FERENTZ FOURTH IN LONGEVITY
Now in his 14th season as Iowa's head football coach, Kirk Ferentz ranks fourth in longevity among FBS head coaches. Ferentz is first among Big Ten coaches and nationally ranks behind Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer, Larry Blakeney of Troy and Mack Brown of Texas.
VANDENBERG NAMED SEMIFINALST FOR CAMPBELL TROPHY
QB James Vandenberg has been named a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation's William V. Campbell Trophy. He is also a candidate for the 2012 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards.
Selected as the best and brightest from college football, the Campbell Trophy, named in honor of Bill Campbell, former player and head coach at Columbia University and the recipient of the NFF's Gold Medal in 2004, recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation.
Candidates for the awards must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a grade point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. The class is selected each year by the NFF Awards Committee, which is comprised of a nationally recognized group of media, College Football Hall of Famers and athletics administrators.
The NFF Awards Committee will select up to 16 recipients, and the results will be announced via a national press release on Thursday, Oct. 25. Each recipient will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and will vie as finalists for the 2012 William V. Campbell Trophy. Each member of the 2012 National Scholar-Athlete Class will also travel to New York City to be honored December 4 during the 55th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria, where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports. One member of the class will also be announced live at the event as the winner of the Campbell Trophy.
MEYER GETTING HIS KICKS
Junior PK Mike Meyer was named Big Ten co-special teams Player of the Week, earned CFPA honorable mention honors and was a Lou Groza Star of the Week after his week one performance in an 18-17 win over Northern Illinois. He also earned CFPA honorable mention recognition after the Central Michigan contest.
Meyer has connected on 10-of-11 field goal attempts this season. He has converted 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 29, 34, 44, 46 and 50-yarders, while missing a 40-yarder; Meyer has made nine straight since that miss. The 50-yarder, made against Northern Illinois, ties a career long (at Iowa State, 2011). He made four treys against the Huskies in week one, which matches his career high (at Iowa State, 2011 and at Indiana, 2010). His five attempts vs. NIU ties Iowa's single-game record, which he also shares (at Indiana in 2010).
Meyer, who is on the preseason watch list for the Lou Groza Award, ranks seventh in Big Ten scoring (8.2) and is tied for fourth in the country in field goals made per game (2.0). He was one of 20 semifinal candidates for the 2011 Lou Groza Award. Meyer has amassed 200 career points and ranks ninth on Iowa's career list. He has made 38-48 (.792) career field goal attempts. Meyer is 28-32 (.875) from kicks 39 yards and closer; 8-12 (.667) from attempts 40-49 yards; and 2-4 (.500) from kicks 50 yards or farther.
The native of Dubuque, Iowa, has made 67 consecutive PAT attempts, which is a new school record. His four straight PAT's against Central Michigan helped him surpass All-Pro Nate Kaeding's previous record of 60 straight. Meyer's last PAT miss was in a 37-6 win over Michigan State on Oct. 30, 2010 in Iowa City.
HAWKEYES REGAIN POSSESSION OF FLOYD OF ROSEDALE
Iowa outscored Minnesota 24-0 in the first half and never looked back en route to a 31-13 Big Ten-opening victory at Kinnick Stadium on Iowa's Homecoming on Sept. 29 to regain possession of the Floyd of Rosedale traveling trophy. The win was Iowa's fourth straight on Homecoming.
PK Mike Meyer scored the only points of the first quarter with a 44-yard field goal, his ninth straight make. RB Mark Weisman scored on an 8-yard run, his seventh score in three games, on the first play of the second period to give the Hawkeyes a 10-0 lead. Iowa scored touchdowns on its next two possessions as well. WR Jordan Cotton caught a 47-yard score from QB James Vandenberg on a flea-flicker, followed by a Vandenberg 1-yard QB sneak to give the Hawkeyes a 24-0 halftime cushion.
The Gophers scored their first points on a 9-yard TD pass from QB Max Shortell to WR Isaac Fruechte midway through the third period. Three Minnesota possessions later, LB Christian Kirksey intercepted a Shortell pass attempt and ran the theft back 68 yards for a touchdown. The interception return for a touchdown was the third longest in school history. Iowa has had an interception return for a touchdown in each of the last five years.
Shortell threw his second touchdown pass, this time from 1-yard out, in the final minute but failed the two-point conversion to make the final score 31-13.
Iowa dominated play in the first half of play, totaling 328 yards of total offense compared to 75 for Minnesota and maintaining possession for 19:02 while the Gophers had the ball for only 10:58 in the first 30 minutes.
Vandenberg completed 18-31 passes for 192 yards, increasing his career total to 4,527 yards and surpassing Kyle McCann for seventh on Iowa's career passing chart.
Weisman finished with 177 yards on 21 carries (8.4 avg.), while WR Keenan Davis (six catches) and TE C.J. Fiedorowicz (two catches) each had 50 yards receiving.
The Hawkeye defense was stellar, collecting four turnovers (three interceptions and one fumble), registering three tackles for loss, including two sacks, and breaking up four passes.
Iowa was led defensively by LB Anthony Hitchens, LB James Morris and Kirksey. The trio combined for 27 tackles, two sacks, one fumble recovery and one interception, which was returned 68 yards for a score by Kirksey.
IOWA POSTGAME NOTES
Iowa has won nine of the last 12 meetings against Minnesota. The Hawkeyes have won the last six meetings in Iowa City, dating back to 2001.
Iowa has won three of its last four Big Ten openers, beating Minnesota (2012) and Penn State (2010 and 2009).
Iowa improves to 55-41-5 in 100 Homecoming games. Iowa has won its last four Homecoming games. The Hawkeyes are 15-3 on Homecoming since 1995, and 11-2 since 2000. Iowa improves to 7-9 against the Gophers on Homecoming.
The Minnesota game was Kirk Ferentz's 200th game (111-89) as a head coach. It also marked the first time Iowa and Minnesota have ever played in September.
Iowa's defense collected forced four turnovers (three interceptions and one fumble). The Hawkeye defense has collected at least one takeaway in 69 of its last 80 games, dating back to 2006. Tanner Miller intercepted a Minnesota pass in the first quarter. DE Steve Bigach forced his first career fumble, while LB Christian Kirksey recovered his second career fumble in the third period. CB Greg Castillo had his first career interception in the third quarter, and Kirksey returned an interception for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Iowa did not have a turnover, marking the third time this season it has played turnover-free football (Northern Illinois, UNI and Minnesota).
LB Christian Kirksey returned an interception 68 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. The interception return for a touchdown was the third longest in school history. Iowa has had an interception return for a touchdown in each of the last five years. Iowa has had an interception return for a score in 10 of the last 12 seasons and 10 of 13-plus seasons under Kirk Ferentz.
Iowa posted 21 second-quarter points, marking the most points the Hawkeyes scored in a quarter and half this season. Defensively, the Hawkeyes did not allow Minnesota to cross midfield and held the Gophers to only one third-down conversion in the first half.
Mark Weisman reached the 100-yard rushing plateau for the third straight game (UNI, Central Michigan and Minnesota) on his ninth carry in the first quarter. Weisman had carries of 27 and a career-long 44 yards in the first quarter. Weisman had an 8-yard TD in the second period, marking his seventh touchdown in 10 quarters, dating back to the start of the UNI game (Sept. 15). Weisman finished the game with 177 yards on 21 attempts. The sophomore has totaled 519 yards rushing on 74 carries this season. The 519 yards rushing are the most by a Hawkeye in the first five games of the season since Shonn Greene had 665 yards in 2008.
WR Jordan Cotton caught a 47-yard flea-flicker TD pass, RB Mark Weisman to QB James Vandenberg, in the second quarter. The scoring reception was the first of Cotton's career. Cotton finished the contest with two catches and 44 receiving yards.
Iowa was 2-2 in the red zone, scoring two touchdowns. The Hawkeyes have scored on 162 of the last 183 red zone possessions (108 TDs and 54 FGs), dating back to the Michigan State game in 2008. Iowa is 143-164 combined inside the red zone its last 48 games. Minnesota was 1-1 in the red zone, scoring a TD in the third period.
PK Mike Meyer made a 44-yard field goal on its opening possession. It marked the fifth straight week the Hawkeyes scored on their first drive (3 FGs, 2 TDs). Minnesota's first possession resulted in an Iowa interception. The Gophers are the second Hawkeye opponent to not score on their opening possession this season (Northern Illinois).
Micah Hyde had a season-long 27-yard punt return in the second quarter. Hyde finished the game with four returns for 35 yards, along with six tackles and a career-high three pass break-ups on defense.
Andrew Donnal started his first career game, starting at right guard in place of the injured Austin Blythe.
Iowa won the toss and elected to receive. The Hawkeyes have started on offense three times (Northern Illinois, Central Michigan and Minnesota) and defense twice (Iowa State and UNI) this season. The Hawkeyes have started on offense in 138-of-167 games. Iowa is 16-13 in the games it has started on defense under Ferentz.
OFFENSIVE NUMBERS IMPROVING
After the first two games (Northern Illinois and Iowa State), Iowa's offense averaged 12.0 points, 103.5 rushing yards, 182.5 passing yards, 286.0 yards total offense, and yielded a total of six sacks.
However, the Hawkeye offense has seen its numbers improve the last three outings. Iowa has averaged 29.7 points, 199.3 yards rushing, 211.7 yards passing, 411 yards total offense, and have allowed zero sacks the last three games (UNI, Central Michigan and Minnesota).
Iowa's defense has posted stellar numbers through five games. The Hawkeyes rank 13th in the country in turnover margin (+7), 21st in total defense (315.0) and rushing defense (111.0), 24th in scoring defense (17.4), 35th in pass defense (204.0), 39th in passes intercepted (6) and 50th in turnovers gained (10).
Iowa's defense has amassed 21 tackles for loss (5.3 avg.) and forced nine turnovers the last four games combined. Three of the nine takeaways were collected inside the red zone, thwarting Iowa State scoring opportunities. The Hawkeye defense has collected at least one takeaway in 69 of its last 80 games, dating back to 2006.
LINEBACKER DUO LEADING HAWKEYE DEFENSE
LB Anthony Hitchens ranks third in the nation in tackles per game (12.6). Hitchens has already surpassed his 2011 tackle total (25 stops in eight games).
Hitchens has posted double-digit tackles the last four games. The junior amassed 19 tackles, including one for loss, against Iowa State on Sept. 8. The 19 tackles are the most by a Hawkeye since LB Abdul Hodge had 22 vs. Illinois on Oct. 1, 2005. Against UNI, he was credited with a team-high 10. He shared game-high tackle honors with 14 against Central Michigan, while he amassed a game-high 12 stops in Iowa's win over Minnesota.
LB James Morris, who is on the preseason Bednarik, Butkus and Rotary Lombardi award watch lists, earned honorable mention recognition from the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) for his play vs. Iowa State.
Against the Cyclones, the Solon, Iowa, native totaled 12 tackles, including one for loss, intercepted his second career pass at the goal line and recovered his first career fumble. He also broke-up one pass.
Morris ranks third in the Big Ten and 23rd nationally in tackles (10.0). He began the 2012 season with eight tackles in the win over NIU, including one tackle for loss, and had eight stops in Iowa's win over UNI. Morris registered double-digit tackles three times in 2012 (Iowa State, Central Michigan and Minnesota). He had 12 tackles against Central Michigan and Iowa State, and 10 vs. Minnesota.
Morris is the 65th Iowa player to reach the 200-tackle plateau. His 230 tackles (95 solo, 135 assists) tie Bobby Stoops for 41st in Iowa history. He is one tackle from Mark Bortz (231), two from Dave Brooks (232) and John Harty (232), four from Matt Kroul (234), five from Antwan Allan (235) and Kevin Spitzig (235), seven from Vernon Rollins (237) and 10 from Leven Weiss (240).
Morris earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors from both league coaches and media in 2011. He tied for the team lead in tackles (110 in 12 games) and ranked fifth in the Big Ten and 37th in the nation. Morris recorded 52 solo stops and 58 assists, along with one pass interception, in 12 games.
IOWA LIKES STARTING ON OFFENSE
Iowa has started the game on offense in 138-of-167 games under Kirk Ferentz. The Hawkeyes started on offense three times in 2012: Northern Illinois, Central Michigan and Minnesota; Iowa started on defense against Iowa State and UNI. Iowa is 16-13 in the games it has started on defense under Ferentz.
FIRST TIME STARTERS
Iowa players earning the first start of their career in the season-opening victory over Northern Illinois included OL Austin Blythe, OL Brett Van Sloten, RB Damon Bullock, FB Mark Weisman, DL Darian Cooper, DL Louis Trinca-Pasat, LB Anthony Hitchens, and DB B.J. Lowery. True freshman Connor Kornbrath was Iowa's starting punter. RG Andrew Donnal started his first career contest in Iowa's last game against Minnesota.
Hitchens and Van Sloten are juniors, Bullock, Lowery, Trinca-Pasat and Weisman are sophomores and Blythe and Cooper are redshirt freshmen.
BULLOCK MISSES 2 GAMES WITH INJURY
Sophomore RB Damon Bullock, who led the Hawkeye offense through three games, missed the Hawkeyes' last two games due to an injury suffered in the first half of the UNI contest. Bullock's return is uncertain at this time. He has amassed 367 all-purpose yards, averaging 122.3 yards per game.
Bullock led Iowa's offense in the opening win, rushing 30 times for 150 yards and his first career touchdown. He scored on a 23-yard run with 2:15 remaining in the game as Iowa rallied for an 18-17 win. He also had three receptions for 26 yards. Bullock started for the first time in his career after collecting just 10 rushing attempts for 20 yards and one pass reception for 11 yards as a true freshman in 2011.
The 150 rushing yards are the most for an Iowa running back in a season-opening game since 2003, when Fred Russell rushed 22 times for 167 yards in a 21-3 win over Miami, Ohio. It is also the most yards gained by a player in their first career start since Russell gained 170 yards on just 14 carries in a 57-21 win over Akron in the opening game of the 2002 season.
Against UNI (Sept. 15), Bullock had 77 yards rushing, including 53 yards on Iowa's opening drive, but left the game in the second quarter due to injury and did not return. He also had one reception for five yards.
Against Iowa State (Sept. 8), Bullock totaled 109 all-purpose yards (56 receiving and 53 rushing). He had five receptions, which was a team and career best.
DAVIS ECLIPSES 1,000 YARDS
Senior Keenan Davis became the 35th Hawkeye wide receiver to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards when his 75 yards on four catches against Iowa State pushed him over 1,000. Davis has caught 91 passes for 1,207 yards in his career. He ranks 28th in Iowa career receiving yards. Davis is only 74 yards from Dallas Clark (1,281) for 27th and 154 from Kerry Reardon (1,361) for 26th.
For the season, Davis leads the team with 26 catches for 308 yards; he ranks seventh in the Big Ten in receptions. Davis, who is on the preseason Biletnikoff, Senior Bowl and CFPA award watch lists, had five catches for 54 yards against UNI, a team-high six grabs for 88 yards against Central Michigan and a team-best six grabs for 50 yards in the Big Ten opener against Minnesota.
IOWA AMONG TOP 20 IN WINS, 2002-12
Iowa has posted 88 wins since the start of the 2002 season, which ranks as the 18th highest total in Division I football. The list includes the following: Boise State (121); USC (113); LSU (111); Oklahoma (111); Ohio State (111); Texas (107); TCU (107); Virginia Tech (104); Georgia (103); Florida (100); West Virginia (100); Wisconsin (98); Alabama (96); Oregon (96); Auburn (95); Utah (94); Florida State (90); Iowa (88); Texas Tech (88); Miami, FL (87); Nebraska (86); Hawai'i (85); Michigan (85); Boston College (84).
Since 2003, Iowa is tied with Navy for 22nd in the country with 77 wins.
Iowa's defense has ranked among national leaders in causing turnovers in recent seasons. Since the start of the 2008 season, Iowa has collected 78 interceptions, a total that ranks among the best in the nation over that span. Iowa had 10 interceptions in 2011, with two of those being returned for touchdowns (89 yards by DB Shaun Prater and 98 yards by DB Tanner Miller). Iowa's defense has registered six interceptions the last four games (two vs. Iowa State, one against UNI and three vs. Minnesota). The six passes intercepted ranks 39th in the country.
LB Christian Kirksey returned a theft 68 yards for a score against Minnesota (Sept. 29). The interception return for a touchdown is the third longest in school history. The Hawkeyes have had an interception return for a touchdown in each of the last five years, including four in 2010. Iowa has had an interception return for a score in 10 of the last 12 seasons and 10 of 14 seasons under Kirk Ferentz.
IOWA PROGRAM NOTES
Iowa defeated a team ranked in the top five in the nation, in the Associated Press rankings, in 2008 (Penn State), 2009 (Penn State) and 2010 (Michigan State), along with defeating 13th-ranked Michigan in 2011.
Iowa earned Big Ten Conference championships in 2002 and 2004 and placed second in 2009. Iowa (8-0, 2002) is one of two Big Ten teams to post a perfect mark in conference play since 1998 (BCS era).
Iowa has ranked in the top 10 in the final Associated Press and CNN/USA Today coaches polls in four of the past 10 seasons, including a ranking of seventh in both polls at the conclusion of the 2009 season. Iowa ranked eighth in 2002, 2003 and 2004.
Iowa established a school record with 11 wins in 2002 (11-2) and matched that record in 2009. In 2009, Iowa won 10 regular season games for just the fourth time in school history.
Iowa won 10 or more games in three consecutive years (2002-04) for first time in school history.
Iowa compiled an eight-year record of 85-42 (.669), 2002-11, including a 50-30 Big Ten record. The 85 victories tie as the 17th best total in the nation.
Kirk Ferentz has been named Big Ten Coach of the Year three times (2002, 2004 & 2009) and he was named National Coach of the Year in 2002. Ferentz joins Michigan's Bo Schembechler (four), Iowa's Hayden Fry (three) and Penn State's Joe Paterno (three) as the only coaches to be honored in more than two seasons.
Iowa has had national award winners in: Robert Gallery (2003 Outland, Top Lineman); Brad Banks (2002 Davey O'Brien, Top Quarterback; 2002 Associated Press National Player of the Year); Dallas Clark (2002 Mackey, Top Tight End); Nate Kaeding (2002 Groza, Top Kicker); Shonn Greene (2008 Doak Walker, Top Running Back).
Iowa has appeared in the final Associated Press poll 21 times in program history, a total that ranks 25th best in the country.
BEST DECADE FOR IOWA FOOTBALL
Iowa's football record in the 2000 decade was 80-45 (.640), a record that ranks as the best decade in Iowa football history, based on total wins. Iowa posted a record of 77-40-4 (.652) during the 1980's and the Hawkeyes were 62-53-2 (.538) in the 1990's.
Part of the Hawkeye success is due to the stability in the program, as Iowa has had just two head coaches since 1979. Hayden Fry took over prior to the 1979 season and coached through the 1998 season, posting a record of 143-89-6. Current Coach Kirk Ferentz replaced Fry, leading the program for the last 13 seasons. Ferentz also served as Iowa's offensive line coach from 1981-89 under Fry.
IOWAN CALLING THE SIGNALS
Senior QB James Vandenberg started all 13 games a year ago and 20 overall in his career.
Vandenberg is on four preseason watch lists (Davey O'Brien, Maxwell Award, Manning Award and CFPA Quarterback Trophy) and was also ranked as the No. 2 quarterback in the Big Ten by ESPN.com. He has completed 93-159 passes for 1,000 yards and two TD's in 2012. His 200 yards per game average ranks fifth in the Big Ten.
Vandenberg has completed 377-658 passes for 4,527 yards and 30 career touchdowns. He ranks seventh at Iowa in career passing yards and eighth in touchdowns. Vandenberg completed 57-92 (.620) for 549 yards with one TD and no thefts in Iowa's three victories. He completed 36-67 (.538) for 451 yards with one TD and two interceptions in Iowa's two losses.
Vandenberg completed 237-of-404 pass attempts for 3,022 yards and 25 touchdowns in 2011. He ranked third in the Big Ten in passing yards per game (232.5), fourth in total offense (237.2) and fifth in pass efficiency (138.5). Vandenberg (6-foot-3, 212) was named to the Capital One/CoSIDA District Six Academic All-America team and is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.
Vandenberg is a native of Keokuk and is the second quarterback from the state of Iowa under Coach Kirk Ferentz. Kyle McCann (Creston) led Iowa to victory in the 2001 Alamo Bowl, the first bowl win for Coach Kirk Ferentz.
Two native Iowans have led the Hawkeyes to Rose Bowl wins, including Kenny Ploen (Clinton) during the 1956 season and Randy Duncan (Des Moines) during the 1958 season. Both were first team All-Americans.
St. Ansgar native Matt Sherman led Iowa to a pair of bowl wins (1996 Alamo and 1997 Sun Bowl), while Iowa City native Paul Burmeister was Iowa's quarterback in the 1993 Alamo Bowl.
Additional Iowa natives who passed for over 1,500 yards, but never led Iowa in a bowl game, include Gary Snook (Iowa City, 1963-65), Ed Podolak (Atlantic, 1966-68, who ended his Iowa career as a prolific running back), Phil Suess (Des Moines, 1977-80), Randy Reiners (Ft. Dodge, 1996-99), Tom McLaughlin (Dubuque, 1975-77), Al DeMarco (Mason City, 1947-48) and Glen Drahn (Elkader, 1948-50).
HOME GROWN HAWKEYES
Iowa's roster of 116 players includes 45 players from Iowa. The roster includes 13 players from Illinois; 11 from Ohio; six from Michigan; five from Florida and Texas; four from Maryland; three from Nebraska; two from Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin; one from Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Washington, and West Virginia; and three from Canada and one from Australia.
MORE THAN ONE
Eleven high schools have contributed more than one player to the current Iowa football roster. The leader is Iowa City High (Iowa), Washington HS in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Solon, Iowa HS with three each. Those with two include Cass Technical HS in the Detroit area, DeMatha Catholic in the Washington, D.C. area, Dowling HS in West Des Moines, Iowa, Heelan HS in Sioux City, Iowa, Hazelwood East HS in the St. Louis area; Mount Pleasant, Iowa HS, Oskaloosa, Iowa HS, Wahlert HS in Dubuque, Iowa and Regina HS in Iowa City.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz has each of his three sons involved in the Iowa program this season. Brian, a former Hawkeye letterman (2003-05), is in his first season as Iowa's offensive line coach. James is a senior offensive lineman who has started the last 28 games at center. Steven is a tight end who is in his first season in the program as a true freshman.
Iowa has seven players on its 2012 roster whose father played for the Hawkeyes. WR Jordan Cotton (Marshall in 1984-87), OL Cole Croston (Dave in 1984-86), TE Zach Derby (John in 1988-91), QB Dan Hartlieb (Chuck in 1986-88), OL Mitch Keppy (Myron in 1986-87), ATH George Krieger Kittle (Bruce in 1977-80) and DB Sean Skradis (Bryan in 1977-81).
DAD IN THE NFL
The fathers of DB Tom Donatell and DB Greg Castillo are coaches in the NFL. Ed Donatell is the defensive secondary coach for the San Francisco 49'ers and Juan Castillo is the defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles.
THE HAWKEYES, SIZE WISE
Freshman QB Dan Hartlieb is the lightest Hawkeye player at 155 pounds. Sophomore DL Carl Davis and sophomore OL Brandon Scherff are the heaviest at 310 pounds. A total of six Hawkeye players are listed at 300 pounds or more.
The tallest players, at 6-7, are sophomore OL Andrew Donnal, junior TE C.J. Fiedorowicz, redshirt freshman DE Riley McMinn and junior OL Brett Van Sloten. The shortest players, at 5-8, are sophomore Jordan Canzeri and freshman Riley McCarron.
The average Hawkeye player is 6-2 and weighs 227 pounds. That is one inch taller and 3.3 pounds lighter than the average Iowa player in 2011.
AVERAGE SCORING DRIVES
Iowa's 21 scoring drives have averaged 7.9 plays, 55.6 yards and 3:56 in elapsed time. Nine of Iowa's 21 scoring drives had totaled 10 plays or more. The Hawkeyes averaged 4.8 plays and 58 yards in their four scoring drives against Minnesota on Sept. 29.
BIG PLAY HAWKEYES
Iowa has had 13 pass plays and eight rushing plays, along with seven KO returns, one punt return, one interception return and nine field goals, of at least 20 yards. The Hawkeyes had a season-best seven offensive plays (three rush and four pass) over 20 yards last week against Minnesota. Iowa had eight offensive plays covering 20 yards or more in its first three games combined, while amassing a total of 13 the last two outings.
Hawkeye opponents have had 11 passing plays, three rushing plays, seven KO returns and nine field goals of at least 20 yards. Iowa's defense held its last opponent, Minnesota, to only one play of 20 yards or more.
IOWA IN THE RED ZONE
Iowa is 15-17 (88.2%) in the red zone, scoring seven field goals and eight TD's. The Hawkeyes' two failed red-zone possessions resulted in a failed fourth-down conversion attempt against UNI and running out the clock at the end of the NIU game in an 18-17 victory.
Iowa has scored touchdowns in its five red-zone possessions the last two games (Central Michigan and Minnesota). The Hawkeyes have scored on 162 of the last 183 (.885) red zone possessions (109 TDs and 54 FGs), dating back to the Michigan State game in 2008. Iowa is 144-165 (.873) combined inside the red zone its last 48 games.
Hawkeye opponents are 14-17 (82.4%) inside the red zone. Iowa's defense forced three red-zone turnovers vs. Iowa State.
POINTS OFF TURNOVERS
Iowa has scored 13 points following 10 defensive takeaways. The 10 turnovers gained ranks 27th in the country. The Hawkeyes collected at least one takeaway in every game this season, except Central Michigan. Iowa's defense has collected at least one takeaway in 69 of its last 80 games, dating back to 2006.
Iowa had no turnovers in all three of its wins (Northern Illinois, UNI and Minnesota). The Hawkeyes had two interceptions against Iowa State and lost their first fumble against Central Michigan; Iowa lost both games. The Cyclones failed to score any points following the turnovers, while the Chippewas scored a field goal after recovering a fumble inside the Hawkeye red zone.
IOWA BOWL NOTES
Iowa was bowl eligible last season for the 11th straight season under Coach Kirk Ferentz and his staff.
The Hawkeyes have appeared in 10 bowl games since 2001. Iowa won the Outback Bowl over South Carolina following the 2008 season, concluded the 2009 campaign with a win over Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl and defeated Missouri in the 2010 Insight Bowl. Iowa's three-game bowl win streak (2008-10) is an Iowa record.
The Hawkeyes have posted a 6-4 record in bowl games under Ferentz, including wins in four of six January bowl games.
Since the 2001 season, no Big Ten team has won more bowl games or has a higher winning percentage in bowl games, than Iowa.
Overall, Iowa has posted a 14-11-1 (.558) record in 26 bowl games. The Hawkeyes have competed in the Rose (five times), Alamo (four), Holiday (three), Outback (three), Orange (two), Peach (two), Sun (two), Insight (two), and the Capital One, Gator and Freedom bowls once.
Iowa (14-11-1, .558), Penn State (27-15-2, .636) and Purdue (9-7, .563) are the only Big Ten teams with a winning percentage in bowl games.
Iowa was one of 10 Big Ten Conference teams to play in a bowl game following the 2011 season. The Big Ten had two teams competing in BCS games for the 11th time in 14 seasons. Since the inception of the BCS in 1998, the Big Ten has qualified 25 teams for BCS bowls, more than any other conference. Seven different Big Ten programs have played in BCS bowl games. The Big Ten sent 10 teams to bowl games in 2011 for the first time ever.
HAWKEYES THIRD IN BOWL APPEARANCES
Iowa ranks third in Big Ten bowl appearances. Ohio State has received a conference-best 42 bowl bids, followed by Michigan (41) and the Hawkeyes (26). Wisconsin ranks fourth with 23.
Iowa (14-11-1, .558), Penn State (27-15-2, .636) and Purdue (9-7, .563) are the only Big Ten teams with a winning percentage in bowl games.
Nebraska, competing in the Big Ten for the first time in 2011, holds a 24-24 (.500) record in 48 bowl games.
Iowa was one of 10 Big Ten Conference teams to play in a bowl game following the 2011 season. The Big Ten had two teams competing in BCS games for the 11th time in 14 seasons. Since the inception of the BCS in 1998, the Big Ten has qualified 25 teams for BCS bowls, more than any other conference. Seven different Big Ten programs have played in BCS bowl games.
Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz is featured on "Hawk Talk with Kirk Ferentz" each week. The 90-minute radio call-in show is hosted by Gary Dolphin, the play-by-play voice of the Iowa Hawkeyes. The show airs each Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. from Carlos O'Kelly's in Iowa City.
Iowa returns home next Saturday to entertain Penn State on Oct. 20 (7 p.m., BTN). The Hawkeyes then hit the road for back-to-back road games at Northwestern (Oct. 27, 11 a.m.) and Indiana (Nov. 3, TBD).