Notes on numbers after grazing the NCAA summary statistics:
The NCAA's Red Zone Efficiency is a dumb metric, because as configured it doesn't weight field goals vs. TDs. You could give up field goals, exclusively, and keep your opponents out of the red zone at twice the rate of a mediocre team, and rank lower than the mediocre.
In this way Iowa and Ohio State are ranked 111th in red zone efficiency, and Iowa State is ranked 15th. But Iowa has allowed 7 red zone penetrations and only 29 red zone points; OSU 5 penetrations and 32 points; ISU 15 penetrations and 66 points. This stat needs to be sorted to reflect frequency and weighted by outcome (field goal vs. TD).
Oddly, the NCAA's Scoring Defense includes points scored against a team's offense. Iowa goes from 8th to 5th in the country in scoring defense if you count, you know, points scored against the defense? (Iowa goes to 9.9 ppg and bumps ahead of USC.) This adjustment is incomplete because I don't know how many points were scored against other teams' offense. I suppose too one should control for special teams. Net: well, either bust a big play against Iowa or try to kick a field goal. Of course, in the latter case, we might block it a few times.
T.M.F. Sash is second in the country in INTs but first in the country in INT return yardage. Which explains why Prater did that weird, I-want-to-be-Tyler-I-must-go-all-the-way backward ramble on his pick Saturday night: peer pressure.
Iowa is 3rd in team INTs. Interestingly, Iowa appears to be first in opposing QB passing percentage at 45% (the NCAA doesn't do this sort, but I scanned the top 100), and this includes the excellent Pat Grace's results.
Iowa is therefore 6th in Team Passing Defense Efficiency, and god knows what we would be if we excepted the excellent Pat Grace (because we all know it's not fair to compare Pat Grace to Daryll Clark, inasmuch as the Miami Dolphins wish they had Pat Grace right now, and Penn State wishes their quarterback would just grow a pair, for starters).
What's different about this team than any Parker defense I can remember is the following, and I think this is the story so far: we are only average in total rushing defense, while being superior in virtually all pass defense metrics. Think about it. In the past the good D's have been crushing against the run, and average against the pass. But even this is not the whole story. We have been crushing against the marquee backs, the excellent Carlos Anderson excepted, and destroyed their ability to influence the game (Robinson, Grigsby, Royster), . The 29 quarters-no-TD stat has been beaten to death by now, though completely ignored by national media, and I don't know how you put a team on national TV and forget to mention that one of the teams has decided to make rushing TDs illegal, but I guess there's a reason it's called the idiot box; anyway, there seems to have been a strategic decision to worry primarily about the difference-makers on the ground, less about overall rushing effectiveness. Iowa is giving up 4.2 ypc, but UNI is the only team to get anything done on the ground, and use the ground game, to produce a football contest.
Don't look now, but Rhodes has Iowa State looking better, statistically, than they have in a long time. A-Rob is at 5.7 ypc, their defense and punting are doing okay, and ... maybe he's got something going there. I listened to him on the radio last week and I have to say, he seems like a good guy who, as Bill Snyder said in his list of ten things every coach should follow, is "being where he is". (One of Snyder maxims is "Be where you are.") I think Rhodes likes where he is, which is good, because now they can lose their next 9, please.