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Home / Hawkeyes are nation’s best in (penalty) flag football
There are reasons why Iowa's football team is 5-1.
You can start with the fact they played well enough to win five times. That's kind of important.
You can also suggest the Hawkeyes haven't played an opponent that's higher than 54th in the current Sagarin Ratings.
But here's another cause: Iowa leads the nation in penalty-yards differential.
In the Hawkeyes' games, the opposition has committed 46 penalties for 432 yards, an average of 72.0 yards per game. Iowa, meanwhile, has been called for just 22 penalties for 179 yards, an average of 29.8 yards per game.
The differential of plus-42.2 yards is easily first of the 128 FBS teams.
Louisiana Monroe is second at plus-35.5. Rounding out the top five are Cincinnati (32.2), Arizona State (29.2) and Kansas State (28.8).
In the Big Ten, Michigan is second at plus-19.3. Then comes Penn State (9.3), Maryland (8.1), Northwestern (6.8), Wisconsin (4.3), Nebraska (0.3), Ohio State (0.2), Rutgers (minus-0.3), Illinois (minus-0.6), Michigan State (minus-4.2), Minnesota (minus-10.3), Purdue (minus-10.7) and Indiana (minus-28.5).
Iowa is third-best in the nation in least penalty yardage, behind New Mexico State and Tennessee. The Hawkeyes are tied for 19th in opponents' penalty yards. They are first in both categories in the Big Ten.
Here are the penalty statistics for Iowa's six games:
vs. Northern Iowa Iowa 4 for 35 yards, UNI 16 for 128
vs. Ball State: Iowa 3 for 30, Ball State 6 for 45
vs. Iowa State: Iowa 6 for 50, Iowa State 4 for 50
at Pittsburgh: Iowa 2 for 20, Pittsburgh 8 for 80
at Purdue: Iowa 3 for 14, Purdue 3 for 19
vs. Indiana: Iowa 4 for 30, Indiana 9 for 110