By the numbers | Iowa football through two games of the season

After the first two weeks of the 2020 football season, the Hawkeyes have some telling statistics.


Katie Goodale

Iowa Running Back Tyler Goodson makes a touchdown during the Iowa v Northwestern football game at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. The Wildcats defeated the Hawkeyes 21-20. Goodson’s was the second touchdown for the Hawkeyes.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

After dropping its first two games of the year for the first time since 2000, failure to finish close games, and an inability to generate much offense in the final two quarters have emerged as early-season narratives for the Iowa football team.

After losing to Northwestern in Kinnick Stadium for the third straight time, here are some numbers that help tell the story of Iowa’s early-season struggles.

Five — Point differential through two games

In their two losses, the Hawkeyes have been outscored by a combined five points. First, Purdue snatched a 24-20 victory in West Lafayette in Week 1. Then Iowa came into Iowa City and pulled out a 21-20 victory on Halloween.

When Iowa faced off against Purdue and Northwestern in consecutive games last season, the Hawkeyes went 2-0 and outscored those two teams by a total of 26 points.

Four — Second-half turnovers

A fumble to end the first drive of the final quarter against Purdue and three interceptions in the second half against Northwestern have cost the Hawkeyes valuable possessions and points in their first two contests.

On Oct. 24 in West Lafayette, on the second Iowa drive of the fourth quarter – after Hawkeye kicker Keith Duncan made his second field goal of the day to put Iowa on top, 20-14, on the first drive of the quarter – after a 13-yard run, Iowa running back Mekhi Sargent fumbled with six minutes left in the game. The fumble occurred at the Purdue 28 yard-line, costing Iowa at least a field-goal attempt. Instead, Purdue took that turnover and turned it into what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown drive.

RELATED: Late interceptions by Spencer Petras seal Hawkeye loss on Halloween

Against Northwestern, Spencer Petras threw three picks in the second half and two at critical moments in the fourth quarter.

Like Sargent did in Week 1, Petras turned the ball over while Iowa was diving to potentially take the lead. First, after an interception by Jack Koerner set Iowa up with great field position at Northwestern’s 41-yard line, three plays later, Petras threw it back to the Wildcats. Northwestern’s Brandon Joseph intercepted Petras’ pass inside the red zone at the 18-yard line.

Then, down 21-20 with a chance for a game-winning drive in just his second Hawkeye start, Petras threw his second interception in three drives as NU linebacker Blake Gallager picked him off with one minute remaining.

Three — Points in the second halves combined

Over the first two games, Iowa has only mustered one second-half field goal. It came at the beginning of the fourth quarter against Purdue to put the Hawkeyes on top 24-20 at the time.

As opposed to 37 points in the first halves combined, on their 12 second-half possessions so far this season, the Hawkeyes have made one field goal, punted five times, thrown three interceptions, turned it over on downs twice, and fumbled once.

Two — Second-half leads lost

In each of the first two games of the season, Iowa had the lead at halftime. The Hawkeyes were up 17-14 against the Boilermakers and 20-14 versus the Wildcats. Although the Hawkeye defense has only allowed three scores in the second half thus far, it’s been too much for the Hawkeye offense to counter.

In Iowa’s three losses a year ago, it never had a second-half lead and only led in two of those games after Keith Duncan kicked field goals against Penn State and Wisconsin to open the scoring.

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