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A good sign for the final seven games: Iowa is 21st nationally in total defense

Defense remains team's calling card: Second in Big Ten

Iowa's defense handled Minnesota in 31-13 win (AP photo)
Iowa's defense handled Minnesota in 31-13 win (AP photo)

After five games, patterns have emerged in college football. Not full-pictures, perhaps, but plenty of data that can't be as easily dismissed after it could following just one or two or three weeks.

For instance, Iowa is ranked 95th nationally in passing offense and 92nd in total offense. That was against four unranked FBS clubs and Northern Iowa. That's not encouraging, no matter how much you're enjoying Mark Weisman rumble for mass quantities of turf.

But defense is where winners are made. Iowa is a surprising 21st in total defense, and second in the Big Ten.

The Hawkeyes have allowed just 315 yards per game, an average you would gladly take for the next seven conference games if you're Kirk Ferentz.

Look at who's high on that total defense list, and you see a lot of winners.

Alabama is No. 2, Florida State third, LSU fourth, TCU seventh. Also ahead of the Hawkeyes are South Carolina, Notre Dame, Florida.

And, oh yeah, Iowa State at 18th.

Oh, and No. 9 is Iowa's next opponent, Michigan State, which has allowed 263.4 yards per game. Something's gotta give in East Lansing on Oct. 13.

Iowa's James Vandenberg still isn't among the top 100 nationally in passing efficiency. Who would have guessed that before the season?

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The Hawkeyes lead the Big Ten in two categories, turnover margin and sacks allowed. Those are pretty good categories to lead.

Minnesota had led the Big Ten in turnover margin last week, then had four turnovers at Iowa last Saturday without getting a single takeaway. Iowa has 10 takeaways, just three turnovers.

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