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The Box Score: Inside Iowa football statistics

BY JACOB SHEYKO | SEPTEMBER 23, 2014 5:00 AM

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Some sense of normalcy returned to Iowa City after the Hawkeyes’ 24-20 victory at Pittsburgh on Sept. 20. Iowa is now 3-1 this season.

This week, the team will begin its conference portion of the schedule. Over the course of the next 10 weeks, Iowa will take on eight Big Ten opponents. Up first is Purdue, which Iowa defeated last season, 38-14.

Now is as good as any to take a look at how Iowa got to this point, and what to expect going forward.

Individual rushing yards — 184 yards, Mark Weisman (Tied-18th in the Big Ten, tied-149th in the nation)

Iowa’s running game looked as polished as it had all season against Pittsburgh. That’s saying something considering the team’s rushers had just 138 yards on 35 attempts — which isn’t horrible, but likely not as effective as head coach Kirk Ferentz would prefer.

Leading the ground attack was Mark Weisman, who totaled 88 yards. It was the most rushing yards by one Hawkeye in any game this season. In fact, it was the first time any Iowa player had surpassed 50 yards on the ground in a single game this year.

Since the first couple weeks, Ferentz has shortened his running-back rotation considerably.

Weisman seems to have established himself as the main ball carrier. Jordan Canzeri has filled in when Weisman isn’t in the backfield, and Damon Bullock has solidified himself as the pass-catching running back. LeShun Daniels Jr., has been essentially nixed from the rotation.

Touchback percentage — 84.21 percent, Marshall Koehn (1st in the Big Ten, 1st in the nation)

Marshall Koehn’s field goal struggles have ended — or so it seems. He drilled a 52-yard field goal against Pittsburgh toward the end of the third quarter.

Though Koehn’s struggled kicking the ball through the goal posts, he’s had no issue kicking it deep through the end zone.

Koehn’s touchback percentage of 84.21 percent leads the nation, proving that the issue has never been the strength of his leg. Even Koehn has admitted that much.

Since the Ball State game, neither Iowa State nor Pittsburgh has had the opportunity to return a kick. In fact, Iowa has defended just three kick returns all season.

When teams have returned the ball, they averaged 20.3 yards per return.

Turnover margin — minus-1 (9th in the Big Ten)

Iowa has been fairly protective of the ball on offense. In four games, the Hawkeyes have turned it over six times.

Despite this low number — which is tied for the fifth-best in the Big Ten — the Hawkeye’s turnover margin is still minus-1.

This isn’t too much of a shock. Despite the Hawkeyes’ 8-5 record last season, they, too, had a turnover margin of minus-1.

This season, Iowa has struggled with turning opponent’s mistakes into offense — it has yet to score off of a turnover this season. This isn’t a detrimental problem for the Hawkeyes, but if they could be more advantageous, it would help an offense that still hasn’t fully found its footing yet.

The number can also be a little misleading. Three of Iowa’s forced turnovers have essentially closed the game out for Iowa — Greg Mabin’s pick against Northern Iowa, Drew Ott’s forced fumble against Ball State, and Anthony Gair’s interception against Pittsburgh.

At those points in the games, Iowa’s focus is less concerned with scoring and more geared toward letting the clock run out.

Follow @JacobSheyko on Twitter for updates, news, and analysis of the Iowa football team.


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