The Box Score, Season in Review
The off-season is here for Hawkeye football. Normally, December is spent preparing for a bowl game played in a warm-weather city. But Iowa’s players will spend this holiday season lifting weights and reminiscing on what it’s like to make a tackle.
It’s hard to take anything positive away from Iowa’s season, especially when looking at the statistics. The Hawkeyes lingered near the bottom of most categories in which records are kept. Let’s look at what the Iowa football team did worse than others this year.
Total points: 232 (11th in Big Ten)
Iowa averaged just 19 points per game, which isn’t good when you have a defense that gives up an average of 23 points a contest. The Hawkeyes scored more than 24 points in just three games this year and scored more than 30 twice. Iowa offensive coordinator Greg Davis signed merely a one-year contract when he got the job last year. Keep that in mind.
Total Tackles, Anthony Hitchens: 124 (1st, Big Ten)
Junior outside linebacker Anthony Hitchens averaged a little over 11 tackles per game for Iowa, even though he missed significant time in three games down the stretch of the season. Despite his relative lack of size, (6-1, 224 pounds), Hitchens was able to stop opposing players in their tracks all season long. He is one of a few bright spots returning for Iowa’s football team next year.
Average yards per punt: 37.34 (12th, Big Ten)
Punting was a problem all season long for Iowa; 30-yard shanks toward the nearest sideline were a sight all too familiar. A conservative-oriented offense such as Iowa’s needs to shore up punting, whether that’s developing true freshman Connor Kornbrath or bringing in a new player. While John Wienke’s “specialty punts” brought the average down a bit, this statistic demonstrates Kirk Ferentz’s unwillingness to go for it on fourth and short at midfield, giving Wienke extra attempts to boot it short.
Total sacks: 13 (114th NCAA)
Pressure and penetration from the defensive line were nearly nonexistent for this Iowa squad. It placed last in the conference in sacks and ranked 114th out of 123 Football Bowl Subdivision teams. Joe Gaglione, Iowa’s sack leader from 2012, won’t return next year. There isn’t much proven promise behind him on the depth chart for next season, either, meaning Iowa’s defense could struggle to slow quarterbacks down yet again in 2013.
Opponent third-down conversions: 43.3 percent (12th, Big Ten)
Iowa’s defense allowed opposing teams to reach the sticks 76 times out of 175 tries on third downs. This kept the unit on the field for long drives with no rest. This defense will return eight starters next year. Iowa will probably need its returning defenders to stop more third downs for the team to improve overall next season.
In today's issue: