Iowa Football

Iowa football Stat Pak: The Hawkeyes' art of staying with it

Some oblong numbers for Iowa, but you know which one that matters the most

Iowa State's Datrone Young (2) and kick returner Deshaunte Jones (8) collide as they go after a punt in the final minute
Iowa State’s Datrone Young (2) and kick returner Deshaunte Jones (8) collide as they go after a punt in the final minutes of the fourth quarter at a college football game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa State Cyclones at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. The Hawkeyes won the game, 18-17. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

An in-depth look at Iowa's 18-17 win over Iowa State Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames.

The Obs (short for “observations”)


Going with the quick count for the offense.

— Running back Tyler Goodson isn’t redshirting. The Hawkeyes were on the road in a hostile stadium and the true freshman was in on the second play of the game along with Ivory Kelly-Martin.

Between Goodson, Kelly-Martin and starters Mekhi Sargent and Toren Young, the Hawkeyes have an array of possibilities at running back. Now, 112 yards (143 without sacks and victory formation kneel downs) and 3.0 yards per carry shrinks the margin for error, but that was a salty Iowa State defense. Everything you read about linebacker Mike Rose — I’m assuming it’s mostly praise — is true. The Cyclones have meshed personnel with what defensive coordinator Jon Heacock wants to do and it works.

Goodson and tight end Sam LaPorta probably aren’t redshirting. LaPorta played four snaps and was Iowa’s No. 3 TE in blocking situations.

— You saw OT Mark Kallenberger early and often in this one. Levi Paulsen still is pulling in the starts at RT, but Kallenberger’s time is here. You see the writing on the wall for OT 2020. Kallenberger’s time is now. Twenty-nine snaps in this one and solid run blocking and some attitude for the defense.

— Yes, 23 personnel on third-and-1 has reached the point of futility. It’s a hardheaded quest for glory at this point. Junk it. It’s one thing to move D-linemen against their own will, it’s a whole other thing to advertise it.

It’s just bad numbers. On one of these, ISU safety Greg Eisworth (he could’ve been an extra in “Road House,” he’s bad ass) flew into the hole and zapped Sargent. ISU had four players at the point of attack. Iowa had three and one was still arriving.

It’s bad numbers. OK, if it’s a set up for the fake with a tight end breaking long, make sure QB Nate Stanley IDs the corner on the line of scrimmage dying to execute a corner blitz. I like the chutzpah on that call, but not on third-and-1 from your own 13 with a free runner in the corner.

I do like 23 in goal line. Gives you options. On third down? Uh uh.


— Would you like to see Brian Ferentz say “screw it” and try to isolate a wide receiver? Which one? I think I’d like to see it with Ihmir Smith-Marsette.

— Stanley’s 27-yard fastball to Smith-Marsette on third-and-22 from Iowa’s 19? It’s 14-6 at that point and the Cyclones are looking at sweet field position.

That pass ... felt like there was a halo around it. A mission from God or something. Do that every time.

— Love when Iowa flashes the mesh concepts. Tyrone Tracy seems to have a real feel for those.

— I hear your complaints on clock management at the end of the first half.

What if Kirk Ferentz simply wanted the 3 and to leave ISU with no time? What if it is as simple as that? Well, mission accomplished.

I get these are frustrating, but the thing you need to keep in the front of your thoughts is situation. Down and distance. Time on the clock. Score.

At this point, it’s 7-3 and your team had just endured three hours of rain delays. I would’ve been all over trying to get 7, but what if I frittered away the 3? Did that show up? Oh yeah, it was 18-17. It did show up.

I do think they wanted to get one more shot at the end zone, but the tackle on Kelly-Martin was called live and the clock kept moving. They were lucky to be positioned to call timeout with 1 second left.


You want to be aggressive, but, yeah, you kind of wanna win, too, right? Down and distance. Time on the clock. Score.

— The UI has a video of Stanley’s 1-yard QB sneak for the 15-14 lead in the fourth quarter. Watch that. Watch the ferocity behind that surge. It lifted ISU nose tackle Ray Lima off the ground. Watch whichever Paulsen and Tyler Linderbaum.

No point. It’s just really flipping cool.

— On Stanley: He won the game. He was fine. Missed Nico Ragaini on a dangerous late-middle attempt. Missed Tracy on the first drive. Hit on a lot more than he missed.

He’s your QB. No amount of whining on social media is going to change that.


— Iowa State went after new new corner D.J. Johnson twice and got him.

The first one was a flea flicker. Those get great DBs every week. Somewhere, someone, every weekend, there’s flea flicker chicanery.

Let’s go to the second, the Brock Purdy-to-Tarique Milton for 73 yards and a 14-6 ISU lead in the third quarter.

I want to write this first: Last week, CB Michael Ojemudia talked openly about the specific struggles of the secondary in week 2 vs. Rutgers. It wasn’t incendiary finger pointing. It was real talk on what went wrong and what needs to happen to improve.

I appreciate this. It’s not downtalking, it’s simple explanation. Bad things happen. Don’t hide them. Don’t make crap up. Say what happened. It’s a lot less interesting to most reporters. I appreciate being able to write intelligently about the game.

So, here’s safety Geno Stone on what happened: “It was a communication thing on DJ and Jack’s side. Jack is supposed to call off.”

There was a missed switch and that’s how Milton got loose.


Anything else? No? Johnson made plays, too. After the flea flicker, ISU went right back at him and Johnson broke up a bomb to Joe Scates. Also on that series, Johnson stopped Purdy for a 3-yard gain on a third-and-6.

Johnson is Iowa’s fifth corner. Nos. 1 and 2 are Ojemudia and Matt Hankins, who was out. Nos. 2 and 3 are Julius Brents and Riley Moss. Both are out with knee injuries.

Johnson got invaluable experience. Iowa just got deeper at corner.

— The Hawkeyes played just 13 on defense vs. ISU. You could look at that as depth problems. Without Hankins and DT Brady Reiff, the depth chart already was stretched. But this was a rivalry game against a potent offense and going into a bye week.

The Hawkeyes were going to empty the bucket. They did that. Nine defenders played the full 55 snaps, including defensive ends A.J. Epenesa and Chauncey Golston. 55 isn’t a lot, but the wet turf made rushing the passer swimming in quicksand.

DLs Austin Schulte and Amani Jones were the only rotators.

Maybe three weeks on Hankins (hamstring) and Reiff (knee). Everyone, maybe even OT Alaric Jackson, could be back for Michigan on Oct. 5.

The Numbers Game

Touchdowns in the red zone (7s are > 3s)

Iowa — 1 of 2

Iowa State — 0 of 1

Tracking the Hawkeyes: Week 1 vs. Miami — 5 of 6 (off), 2 of 2 (def); Week 2 vs. Rutgers — 1 of 3 (off), 0 of 0 (def); Week 3 at Iowa State — 1 of 2 (off); 0 of 1 (def)

The takeaway: Two weeks without surrendering a red zone TD. That’s kind of what you’re shooting for.

I know I’ve written above that 7s > 3, and I believe that’s true. Except on Saturday night. Whatever works.

Been over the clock management. Will ask about the goal of that deal at some point. I’m not going to be around this week or next.

If the goal is to leave the opposing team with no time on the clock, they did it. If the point is points, they have to call timeouts. They know this. There’s no analytics here.

Three and outs forced by the defense (Getting off the field)

Iowa — 1

Iowa State — 4

Tracking the Hawkeyes: Week 1 vs. Miami — 3 (def), 1 (off); Week 2 vs. Rutgers — 9 (def), 2 (off); Week 3 at Iowa State — 1 (def); 4 (off)

The takeaway: Iowa State had the more aggressive, productive and efficient offense. Iowa’s one three-and-out led to its only TD drive. Ragaini’s 15-yard punt return gave Iowa prime field position at ISU’s 25.

This is the abstract of your team winning on the road after a three-hour storm delay. Not all wins come in the same shape, but you’re not throwing any of them back.


(50% of needed yards on first down, 70% of needed yards on second down, or 100% of needed yards on third or fourth down)

(Measure of successful plays and moving the sticks)

Iowa — 36 percent (26 successful plays out of 72 total)

Iowa State — 45 percent (25 of 54)

Tracking the Hawkeyes: Week 1 vs. Miami — 56 percent (off), 33 (def); Week 2 vs. Rutgers — 41 percent (off); 27 (def); Week 3 at Iowa State — 36 percent (off); 45 percent (def)

The takeaway: Here’s another football-shaped number. Iowa won, but ...

ISU hit the highest percent of success against the Hawkeyes. Iowa played its plod and minimized bites at the apple for ISU. That’s game control working for you. Also, 13 players on defense and injuries.


Here’s where Iowa sits nationally in “game control” after three weeks: The Hawkeyes are seventh in the country holding opponents to 52.7 plays per game (Wisconsin and Minnesota are in the top 10 here, too). Iowa is seventh in time of possession nationally (36:11). BTW, Wisconsin and Minnesota also are in this top 10. And in opponents punts per play, Iowa is tied for third at .13. Wisconsin leads at .16. No Gophers in this one.

Explosive plays

(Runs of 12-plus yards; passes of 16-plus)

(Can your team run faster and execute better than the other team?)

Iowa — 6 (3 passes, 3 runs)

Iowa State — 8 (6 passes)

Tracking the Hawkeyes: Week 1 vs. Miami — 10 (off), 4 (def); Week 2 vs. Rutgers — 9 (off), 2 (def); Week 3 at Iowa State — 6 (off), 8 (def)

The takeaway: I’m just going to beat Phil Parker to this. Way too many big plays. You know the reasons. Nate Stanley had one of Iowa’s explosive runs.

Halftime adjustments

(General idea of how busy the whiteboard is)

Iowa — First half: 38 plays for 170 yards and 4.5 yards per play.

Second half: 34 plays for 143 yards and 4.2 yards per play.

Iowa State — First half: 23 plays and 185 yards for 8.0 per play.

Second half: 31 plays and 233 yards for 7.5 per play.

The takeaway: Hello, bend don’t break. Seriously, in the second half, the Cyclones rolled between the 20s. At some point Saturday night, it just became about points. The yards were there for the taking, you had to go and get the points.

Magic Points (scores inside of two minutes)

Iowa — 3

Iowa State — 0

Tracking the Hawkeyes: Week 1 vs. Miami — 0 (off), 0 (def); Week 2 vs. Rutgers — 3 (off), 0 (defense); Week 3 — at Iowa State — 3 (off), 0 (def)

The takeaway: Duncan drilled a 40 yarder as time expired in the first half. If this two-minute drill wanted three points and to take all of the time off the clock, mission accomplished. If it wanted a TD, well, there’s work to do.



10 (one back, no TEs) — pass: 3 for 3 for 19 yards (two shotguns)

11 (one RB, one TE) — rush: 3 for 14 yards; pass: 1 of 3 for 28 yards

11 shotgun (one RB, one TE, shotgun snap) — rush: 8 for 45; pass: 12 of 18 for 119 yards

12 (one RB, two TE) — rush: 1 for 3 yards; pass: 0 of 1

20 (two backs, no TE) — rush: 1 for 1 yard; pass: 1 for 1 for 3 yards

21 (two RB, one TE) — rush: 7 for 62; pass: 3 of 4 for 33 yards

22 (two RB, two TE) — rush: 7 for 14; pass: 1 of 3 for 4 yards

23 (two RBs, three TEs) — rush: 7 for -12 (one first down gained, one QB sneak for a TD, one third-down failure, one third-down sack and three championship formations)

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