Iowa Football

Fun Facts: Michigan State-Iowa, the Richard Nixon edition

Hawkeyes try to avoid first 0-3 start in 20 years

Iowa's football team celebrates tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz's (86) touchdown catch during Michigan State's 26-14 win over
Iowa’s football team celebrates tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz’s (86) touchdown catch during Michigan State‘s 26-14 win over the Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium on Oct. 5, 2013. That was the last time the Spartans have played in Iowa City. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

1. Michigan State’s current 3-game win streak over Iowa is the longest in their series since the Hawkeyes won three in a row from 1994 to 1996. The Spartans have never defeated Iowa four straight times. Iowa won five in a row over MSU from 1979 to 1983.

2. This is the first time Michigan State has played at Iowa since 2013. The last time Iowa beat the Spartans in Kinnick Stadium (2010), the Big Ten had 11 teams.

3. Iowa defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon leads the nation in tackles for loss per game with 2.75.

4. Richard Nixon enjoyed football.

5. The Spartans were 7-1 the week after their eight wins over Michigan between 2008 and 2017.

6. Iowa’s Sam LaPorta leads Big Ten tight ends in catches (11) and receiving yards (117).

7. Ricky White set the MSU record for single-game receiving yards for a freshman last week with 196 against Michigan.

8. Iowa is 0-2 despite averaging 47 yards more per game than its foes.

9. This game features the Big Ten’s top two players in punting average. Michigan State’s Bryce Baringer is averaging 53.0 yards and Iowa’s Tory Taylor averages 46.1. Taylor is from Melbourne, Australia, 9,488 miles from Iowa City. Baringer is from Waterford, Mich., 75 miles from East Lansing.

10. Iowa leads the nation in punt-return defense, having allowed minus-8 yards per return this season.

11. MSU quarterback Rocky Lombardi’s legal name is Rocky Lombardi. He was named for Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rocky Bleier. His teammates have nicknamed him “Sunshine.” That’s the same handles Iowa players gave quarterback C.J. Beathard when he was a Hawkeye.

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12. Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker has been an assistant coach at LSU, Ohio State, Alabama and Georgia.

13. Michigan State was a 10-point favorite over Rutgers and lost by 11. Then it was a 21.5-point underdog against Michigan and won by 3.

14. Paul Carcaterra will be ESPN’s sideline reporter for this game. He joined the network as a lacrosse game analyst and sideline reporter, and has been in that role ever since. He played for Syracuse’s 1995 national-championship men’s lacrosse team.

15. Iowa hasn’t started a season 0-3 since it lost its first five games in 2000. Its first win that season was against Michigan State, 21-16, though the Hawkeyes were outgained 466 yards to 231, and T.J. Duckett had 248 rushing yards for MSU.

16. Within the previous three seasons, Michigan State and Iowa have won Pinstripe and Holiday bowls.

17. Iowa didn’t score more than 14 points in regulation in its last four games against Michigan State.

18. Of Michigan’s total area, 41.5 percent is water. Of Iowa’s total area, 0.7 percent is water.

19. White and teammates Jordon Simmons and Chris Jackson are from Marietta, Ga. That was the hometown of the Big Boss Man.

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