Iowa, Iowa State each have nation-leading football stat

Nineteen picks for Iowa, zero lost fumbles for ISU

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Iowa and Iowa State are 7-5, which isn’t the nation’s best college football record. But both lead the nation in an impressive statistic.

With Iowa, it’s a share of the national lead in passes intercepted with 19. The Hawkeyes and Central Michigan hold that distinction.

In fairness to South Florida, the Bulls have 18 in 11 games, for a slightly better per-game average than the Hawkeyes and Chippewas. But 19 picks are 19 picks, and it’s an increase of 10 from what Iowa had last year in 13 games.

The Hawkeyes’ season record is 23, set in 1986 (12 games), 1987 (13 games), and 2008 (13 games).

Iowa State, meanwhile, is the only team in all of NCAA football to go through a regular season without losing a fumble. That covers FBS, FCS, Division II and Division III.

In fact, the only team with just one lost fumble is D-III Wilmington (Ohio). Nebraska and Penn State lost two.

It has been reported the Cyclones are the first FBS team to go through a season without losing a fumble. Bowling Green (1996, 11 games), Miami (Ohio) (1998, 11 games) and Northern Illinois (2004, 12 games) lost one apiece.

Iowa State did fumble six times, but recovered each. ISU lost eight fumbles in 2016.

The Cyclones still have a game left to play, somewhere.

Iowa lost 13 fumbles this season, the most in the Big Ten, and more than all but five other FBS teams. Quarterback Nate Stanley lost five. Only two players in the nation had more. Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor, who has 1,806 rushing yards, also has five.

Taylor and Stanley, whose 25 touchdown passes are two shy of Chuck Long’s single-season Iowa record, have done just fine this fall. Stanley is third in the Big Ten and tied for 18th in the nation in TD passes.

Other interesting stats:

Iowa had 15 less first downs than its opponents, but scored 101 more points.

Iowa State was 12-of-16 on fourth-down conversions for 75 percent, tied for fifth-best in the nation.

Iowa’s 389 interception-return yards leads the nation. Boston College has 388. BC’s defensive coordinator is Jim Reid, who was Iowa’s linebackers coach from 2013 to 2015. An Iowa-Boston College Pinstripe Bowl matchup is a possibility.

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