By the numbers: Iowa football before bye week

Through three games, the Iowa football team has put up a variety of impressive numbers on its way to a 3-0 start. However, there are certainly areas that need improvement.


Nick Rohlman

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley throws under pressure during Iowa’s game against Iowa State at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, September 8, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cyclones 13-3.

Robert Read, Assistant Sports Editor

After a Cy-Hawk win for the ages in Week 3, Iowa football enters Week 4 of the college football season on a bye week.

The Hawkeyes boast a 3-0 record going into the week off with blowout wins against Miami (Ohio) and Rutgers, as well as the tightly-contested, bad-weather showdown against Iowa State on Sept. 14.

Iowa will take on Middle Tennessee State after the bye week before entering the gauntlet that is a Big Ten Schedule after that. But before then, here are the numbers that stick out for Iowa after its first three games.

3 – sacks by the Iowa defense

Iowa has only allowed 31 points over the course of its three games. The Hawkeyes gave up 14 points to Miami and 17 points to Iowa State, while also shutting out Rutgers.

The Hawkeyes are tied with Ohio State with the 10th-best scoring defense in the FBS, allowing only 10.3 points per game.

Still, Phil Parker’s defense has not found the success rushing the passer that was expected coming into the season. Kristian Welch, A.J. Epenesa, and Amani Jones each have one takedown of the quarterback.

In comparison, the Iowa defense posted 12 sacks through three weeks last year.

With all the attention Epenesa is getting from opposing offenses, other Iowa pass rushers need to step up and take advantage of favorable matchups to get to the quarterback.

46.4 – yards per punt

The Hawkeyes have finally found their punter in grad transfer Michael Sleep-Dalton.

The Aussie punter has booted 12 punts for a total of 557 yards — including a 57 yard boot — in Iowa’s first three games, forcing opposing offenses into unfavorable field position after nearly every punt.

The 46.4-yard average is tied for the best mark in the Big Ten along with another punter Iowa is quite familiar with: Rutgers’ Adam Korsak.

Sleep-Dalton is not the only Hawkeye having a stellar season on special teams. Kicker Keith Duncan has been perfect through three weeks with every one of his kicks sailing through the uprights.

Duncan is 8-for-8 on both field goal attempts and extra points this season, one of 32 kickers in the FBS who has yet to miss a kick. He is also the third-leading scorer in the Big Ten this season, accounting for a team-best 32 points.

RELATED: Stanley shows veteran poise versus Iowa State

1 – turnovers by the Iowa offense

Iowa has done a remarkable job of taking care of the ball so far.

Quarterback Nate Stanley hasn’t thrown an interception or lost a fumble this season. 

Key ball carriers for the Iowa offense — Mekhi Sargent, Toren Young, and Tyler Goodson — have yet to lose a fumble while leading the Iowa rushing attack.

The only turnover for Iowa this season came in the opening game against Miami. Fullback Brady Ross took a handoff on a short-yardage play against the RedHawks and appeared to toss the ball back to Stanley, resulting in a fumble.

The ball landed on the Kinnick turf, and Miami defensive tackle Doug Costin picked it up.

Keeping the ball out of the hands of opposing defenses continues to be a key for offenses, and Iowa has done an exemplary job of that.