By The Numbers: Iowa vs. Pitt

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Tessa Hursh

Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard throws a pass during the game at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. Beathard threw for 98-yards on the game. Iowa defeated Pitt, 24-20. (The Daily Iowan/Tessa Hursh)

Jordan Hansen, [email protected]

For whatever reason, Iowa and Pittsburgh play extremely entertaining games that usually end in roaring comebacks. This year’s edition will happen under the lights. Here’s a look at a couple statistics that could (or maybe not) decide the game.

Pitts’s total offensive yards: 765 yards (13th in the ACC)

Without star running back James Conner, the Pittsburgh offense really doesn’t bring much to the table.

Wide receiver and potential first-round draft pick Tyler Boyd is a transcendent talent, but without a consistent quarterback, there really is not a whole lot he can do.

Pittsburgh’s two quarterbacks — Nathan Peterman and Chad Voytik — have combined to go 29-of-43 for 313 yards and 2 touchdowns. They have also each thrown a pick.

Because neither player has grabbed the bull by the horns, or anything else, a quarterback battle has stretched through the first two games. Not exactly a recipe for a high-octane offense.

The Panthers’ running game has been marginally better, averaging 5.1 yards per carry.

Iowa rushing touchdowns allowed: 0

The Hawkeyes’ rushing defense has been stellar so far this season, allowing just 98 yards and no touchdowns.

That defense — especially the linebackers — will be tested early and often by running back Qadree Ollison, who is filling in for the injured Conner. Ollison averages 7.1 yards per carry this season, though a 71-yard touchdown scamper he had against Youngstown State boosts that number.

Outside of Ollison, however, there isn’t much to the Panther running game. No other player besides him and Conner has more than 60 rushing yards.

Iowa won’t soon forget last year, however, when Conner and the Panthers burned them for 185 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns.

Iowa sacks total: 9.0 (second most in the Big Ten)

With or without Drew Ott, the Hawkeyes will likely add to this total.

Ben Niemann and Nate Meier both have 2 sacks, and redshirt freshman Parker Hesse — who will likely start if Ott can’t go — got a sack in his first real action against Iowa State last week.

By the way, Pittsburgh has allowed 7.0 sacks this season, a mark that puts it at the bottom of the ACC. That’s not a good thing for Voytik and Peterman but a great thing for Iowa fans.

Iowa turnover margin: minus-1

The Hawkeyes have struggled to create turnovers the past two seasons, though they have avoided making mistakes themselves.

Iowa’s lone interception of the season came when Iowa State quarterback Sam Richardson tested cornerback Desmond King on an out route and paid the price. It was, however, the only turnover created by the Hawkeyes this season.

Timely turnovers are something the Hawkeyes will need to create once things roll into the later parts of the season. It takes a bit of pressure off the offense, and while Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard has been good this season, he will only start the fourth game of his career.

Beathard has yet to throw an interception in 2015, but it will likely happen at some point. If the defense can create a few turnovers, that does nothing but help.

A slight area for concern might be the fact Iowa has fumbled twice this season — once by Jordan Canzeri and once by Akrum Wadley.

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