The Box Score: Inside Hawkeye football statistics, Week 9

BY BEN ROSS | OCTOBER 23, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Box Score is a weekly segment in which a Daily Iowan football reporter uses statistics to contextualize Iowa football’s performance over the course of the season.

As expected, there aren’t many positive statistics attached to the 2012 Iowa football team, and after the loss to Penn State this past weekend, the squad’s offensive numbers plummeted. Let’s take a look:

Touchdowns scored, NCAA: 15 (T-115th)

Iowa’s offense has looked flat all season. It appears that the coaches are still searching for playmakers to help uncork the unit, as Marvin McNutt and Shonn Greene have done in the past.
The Hawkeyes have managed to find the end zone just 15 times this season, placing them near the cellar of the NCAA and dead last in the Big Ten. Only three of those scores have come through the air from quarterback James Vandenberg. Running back Mark Weisman has more than half the team’s touchdowns (8). Damon Bullock and Vandenberg each have one touchdown on the ground as well.

Fewest rushing yards allowed, Big Ten: 919 (4th)

This ranking could have been even higher for Iowa if the Hawkeyes hadn’t given up 215 yards on the ground to Penn State. Iowa has allowed a total of just 919 yards rushing through seven games, thanks in large part to an overachieving defensive line and a linebacker corps that has flown under the radar nationally this season.

Completion percentage, James Vandenberg, NCAA: 55.8 percent (98th)

Head coach Kirk Ferentz’s decision to keep James Vandenberg on the field for the entire game against Penn State shows that fans shouldn’t expect to see backup Jake Rudock on the field anytime soon. It would be tough for Rudock to do much worse statistically than his predecessor’s when or if he sees the field this season.

Vandenberg has thrown the ball 231 times this season and has connected on just 129 of those tosses. Also, his 55.8 completion percentage is rated pretty close to the bottom of the nation.

Total tackles, Anthony Hitchens, Big Ten: 86 (1st)

Through seven games Anthony Hitchens is leading the Big Ten in total tackles with 86. The number is good enough to place second nationally, behind Dan Molls of Toledo — although the Rockets have played one more game than the Hawkeyes. With games against top rushers still remaining, such as Northwestern’s Venric Mark, Nebraska’s Rex Burkhead, and Michigan’s Denard Robinson looming, look for Hitchens to add to his tackles total.

Number of quarterbacks played: 1 (Only team in NCAA)

Of all 124 FBS team, just one has yet to give its backup quarterback any type of in-game repetitions: Iowa. Vandenberg has taken all 461 offensive snaps for the Hawkeyes, leaving backup Jake Rudock on the sidelines. Every other team in the NCAA’s FBS has used two or more listed quarterbacks over the course of the 2012 season.

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