Once again, Iowa’s offense showed signs of life in their first two drives, netting 10 points and 150 yards. The rest of the way? Just 85 yards, a field goal, five first downs, and five three & outs.
The net improvement versus last year’s ISU game in terms of offensive touchdowns? 0. But if I squint, I can see some stylistic improvements. Cade McNamara is chucking it down the field more. There feels like a real thunder/lightning 1A/1B deal with running backs Kaleb Johnson and Jaz Patterson. The offensive line seems more foiled by telegraphed playcalling being overwhelmed by defenders crashing the line than man-on-man ability.
It’s stuff to build on but is it enough? We probably won’t find out this week.
I do think what’s most interesting about Saturday’s game is a question I’ve been sitting with: If a game plays out exactly how Kirk Ferentz draws it up (offense gets the lead, defense extends it, Iowa avoids the requisite combination of mistakes to yield the lead) does that mean Iowa dominated? I don’t really think so (see stats post-script) but it’s been a tried and true formula for the last eight or nine years.
Quick reminder on how this is all calculated: we take the week-to-week rankings of various stats, put them into a percentile and math them up. Winning being 50% really thumbs the scale on this thing but the name of the game is winning, after all. Iowa typically lands in the .60-.70 range across a season.
Here are the stats from Saturday via Team Rankings.
Last week in complementary football
50% - Win or loss: I kind of wish there was a nickname for the Cy-Hawk trophy a la Floyd or Albert.
33% - turnovers, time of possession, & offensive touchdowns: McNamara’s arm punt goes down as Iowa’s first turnover of the season but it was a real ball don’t lie moment when Sebastian Castro ran back his interception for a touchdown (34th). Iowa held the ball for 26:30 (104th) and the single offensive touchdown ranked 100th.
17% - 3rd down conversion, yards/carry, completion percentage, QB sacks: The Hawks went 5/14, right in line with last week, but it ranks 74th. Iowa notched 3.9 yards/carry (62nd) which is a significant uptick from the Utah State game, even if it’s because Patterson busted one on his first play from scrimmage. McNamara’s 12/22 puts Iowa at 95th. Finally, the offensive line and company kept Cade relatively clean with just 1 QB sack (23rd).
All together, that gets Iowa’s complementary football score to ... (.50 * 1) + (.33 * (.74 + .22 + .25)/3) + (.17 * (.46 + .53 + .29 + .83)/4) = 0.72.
A slight decrease from last week.
Week 1: 0.82
Looking ahead: Western Michigan enters 1-1, with only a 41-point loss to Syracuse counting against them in the following defensive stats.
Takeaways: 0 (106)
Time of Possession: 29:03 (55)
Offensive TDs: 5 (106)
3rd down conversion: 53.3% (111)
Yards/carry: 4.1 (77)
Completion percentage: 61.5% (70)
QB sacks: 2 (51)
There’s some big opportunity for Iowa to bank some points. Let’s see if they do it.