The Box Score: Inside Hawkeye football statistics, Week 10

BY TORK MASON | OCTOBER 30, 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.

Hawkeye football has certainly seen better days than the past two Saturdays. The Black and Gold were beaten in every conceivable way by Penn State, and the Hawks didn’t look any better at Northwestern. Kirk Ferentz and his team now enter a critical two-week stretch against Indiana and Purdue.

The Hawkeyes’ chances of making a bowl game could take a major blow if they fail to win at least one of those two games. Here’s a look at a few stats that offer a look at where Iowa stands and how it matches up against the Hoosiers.

Indiana’s red-zone efficiency: 94 percent of trips result in a score (fifth in Football Bowl Subdivision)

The Hawkeyes have consistently played a “bend but don’t break” defensive scheme under Ferentz, and that shows in their defensive red-zone efficiency. The Black and Gold have allowed opponents to score on 84 percent of their trips inside the 20-yard line (80th in the Football Bowl Subdivision), but only 48 percent of those trips have resulted in touchdowns (25th).

The Hoosiers will put that philosophy to the test. Only twice in 36 opportunities has Indiana failed to score when it reaches the red zone, a 94 percent mark that ranks fifth nationally. The Hoosiers have scored touchdowns on nearly 70 percent of those trips.

Iowa’s passing yards alloweds per game: 196.5 (24th)

Iowa’s pass defense ranks 24th in the country, but it has recently shown some vulnerability. Matt McGloin and Penn State shredded the Iowa defense to the tune of 289 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Northwestern only threw 10 times for 84 yards, many of which came when Kain Colter tossed a 47-yard touchdown to Christian Jones.

Now enter Indiana, the Big Ten’s best passing offense. The Hoosiers have used three different quarterbacks this season, and each has had success in head coach Kevin Wilson’s scheme. Nate Sudfeld and Cameron Coffman each have efficiency ratings of 124.2 or better, and both complete better than 63 percent of their passes.

Coffman was benched following an interception last week, so he may not be the QB the Hawkeyes face. But both quarterbacks will provide a challenge for the Iowa secondary.

Indiana’s turnovers committed: 5 (3rd)

Don’t expect to see many turnovers this week. Iowa has the sixth fewest turnovers in the nation this season with only 7 on the year. Indiana is even better, coming in third nationally with just 5.

Indiana’s quarterbacks take care of the ball and don’t make many mistakes, and tailback Stephen Houston has yet to lose a fumble this year.

Neither defense is particularly strong at generating turnovers, either. The Hawkeyes have recorded 15 takeaways this season, which has them tied for 46th nationally. The Hoosiers have taken the ball back just 8 times, and they are tied for 111th in turnovers forced.

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