The Box Score: Inside Hawkeye Football Statistics
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.
While Iowa (4-3, 1-2 Big Ten) did give No. 4 Ohio State all it could handle for three-and-a-half quarters on Oct. 19 in Columbus, merely raising Urban Meyer’s blood pressure for a few hours will not win you games in the Big Ten.
The Black and Gold face an uphill battle to get back to postseason play, with all five opponents left on the schedule recording victories over the Hawkeyes in 2012. If Kirk Ferentz’s players want to better their chances of making it back to a bowl game, they will have to improve in a number of areas.
Jake Rudock’s Fourth Quarter Play — 0 TDs, 5 Interceptions, 49 percent Comp. Pct.
While most of the Kinnick faithful will appreciate what the sophomore signal caller has done so far in his new role as “the guy,” it’s hard to ignore Rudock’s fourth-quarter numbers. Iowa’s man under center has thrown 5 of his 7 interceptions in the final 15 minutes of play this season, most notably in the season-opener versus (still undefeated and 18th-ranked) Northern Illinois and most recently on a pivotal fourth-quarter drive against Ohio State.
The Weston, Fla., native has only completed 49 percent of his fourth-quarter throws, and his quarterback rating is 63.67 — by comparison, his overall quarterback rating sits at 128.8. Last year’s starter, James Vandenberg, posted a 102.64 rating in the game’s final period and completed 55.9 percent of his passes.
There are a number of things Rudock does do better than Vandenberg, though …
Third-down conversion rate — 50% (14th in NCAA, 2nd in Big Ten)
Even offensive coordinator Greg Davis conceded his team is in a better position to convert on the game’s most pivotal down this season.
Rudock has been fantastic in nearly all third-down situations, completing 59.7 percent of his passes and tossing 5 of his 11 touchdowns when possession is on the line. Even more, he’s at his best when Iowa needs seven to nine yards, completing just north of 65 percent of his throws, including a huge play to tight end Jake Duzey during the second quarter at the Horseshoe, which led to Kevonte Martin-Manley’s go-ahead score just before the half.
Speaking of tight ends …
Iowa Tight Ends — 383 receiving yards in 2013 (3rd in Big Ten)
The number of roll outs to tight ends on Oct. 19 might lead one to believe former offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe left his digs in South Beach for a quick vacation to beautiful, 40-degree Columbus this past weekend. Iowa’s three-tight-end sets had the Bucks’ guessing throughout the first half, combining for 167 yards and 2 touchdowns between Jake Duzey and C.J. Fiedorowicz.
Iowa’s seven first-half first downs were more than the Ohio State defense had allowed in any full game it had played this season.
Unfortunately for the Hawkeyes, they converted just 1-of-4 second-half opportunities, allowing the Buckeyes to dominate the game’s final 30 minutes.
Ferentz’s winning percentage versus Northwestern — 41 percent (second-lowest against any Big Ten opponent, min. 5 games)
Most fans of the Black and Gold will point to this weekend’s matchup with Pat Fitzgerald and Northwestern as the best opportunity to steal a win that would help Iowa book a trip back to postseason play (assuming Iowa beats the basement-dwelling Boilers on Nov. 9).
And there’s good news here: the combined record of the three FCS teams Northwestern has beaten this year is 4-18. The bad news? Fitz’s ’Cats have bested Ferentz and Company in four of their last five meetings.
Iowa’s defense will have to get things back on track after allowing a season-high in points and rushing yards to the Scarlet and Gray — especially after giving up three touchdowns on the ground to Kain Colter last year, who is expected to start in place of the injured Trevor Siemian this weekend.
In today's issue: