Overall record (7-0 Big Ten): 11-0
Offensive yards per play (43rd): 5.97
Defensive yards per play (15th): 4.76
Turnover margin (T-5th): plus-11
Penalty yards per game (44th): 48.5
Sagarin strength of schedule: 62nd
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Iowa’s top three running backs, Jordan Canzeri, Akrum Wadley and LeShun Daniels, have each emerged as the workhorse at various points this season. Canzeri, healthy again, ran for 95 yards against Purdue last week. He’s averaged 5.2 yards per carry in two games against NU. Wadley has the same kind of dynamic playmaking ability Canzeri has. But Daniels’ bruising style doesn’t come without some agility, too — he ripped off a 51-yard run to seal the win against Minnesota.
Coordinator: Greg Davis
As Nebraska’s coaches and players have studied the Hawkeyes this week, they’ve noticed that Iowa’s system and its core methods of attack haven’t changed. The ground game, anchored within a zone-blocking scheme, will still be stubbornly relied on. The Hawkeyes are still dangerous in the play-action game, particularly when feeding the football to their tight ends. But there’s a wild card now. It’s quarterback C.J. Beathard. His ability to improvise with his feet can extend drives or create big plays downfield. That dual-threat capability has amplified the effectiveness of everyone around Beathard.
Coordinator: Phil Parker
Nothing flashy, just remarkably sound. That review was heard repeatedly from the Huskers this week. It’s the near-robotic efficiency from Iowa’s defense that stands out to NU. The Hawkeyes cleverly prevent opponents from carrying out their blocking assignments up front, bringing physicality and tenacity for four quarters. They often use zone pass coverages to dissuade quarterbacks from firing lots of passes downfield — instead welcoming short throws that Iowa’s pursuing defenders can swallow up for minimal gains.
THEY SAID IT
“This is my fourth year now. The previous three years, every time we’ve played this team, it’s been good games. I expect the same in this game.”
— Beathard on facing Nebraska
“They’ve got an NFL defensive line, period. … These guys are both excellent football players, but they’ve got a lot of other guys, too; safety is really good, a lot of other guys that are really good players, good athletes, so that’s going to be a good matchup, tough matchup for us.”
— Ferentz on NU’s defense, particularly D-tackles Maliek Collins and Vincent Valentine
“Just staying focused in the game and not letting the crowd get to you. It gets loud out there. But that’s one thing we have to do, is communicate through hand signals now. We’ve been practicing that. It’s helping us out.”
— junior cornerback Desmond King on playing at Memorial Stadium
Kirk Ferentz (126-85): Iowa won 10 games in the 2009 regular season, capping the campaign with a convincing Orange Bowl win over Georgia Tech. It was quite the statement. But over the next five seasons, the Hawkeyes produced a record of 34-30 (they were actually two games under .500 in league play during that stretch). That placed Ferentz’s job security in question. But you all know what happened next. The Hawkeyes, led by the colloquially labeled “New Kirk,” have surprised everyone.
7 points. That’s Iowa’s largest deficit all year. The Hawkeyes have trailed for just 3 minutes and 35 seconds of game action during the last five contests.
46.8 percent. Iowa ranks among the top 20 nationally in third-down conversion rate. That figure jumps to 53.8 percent when it needs 6 yards or less.
13 interceptions. No Big Ten team has more. King’s responsible for eight of those picks. Thirty-one FBS teams don’t even have eight.
Sept. 5: Illinois State W, 31-14
Sept. 12: Iowa State W, 31-17
Sept. 19: Pittsburgh W, 27-24
Sept. 26: North Texas W, 62-16
Oct. 3: Wisconsin W, 10-6
Oct. 10: Illinois W, 29-20
Oct. 17: Northwestern W, 40-10
Oct. 31: Maryland W, 31-15
Nov. 7: Indiana W, 35-27
Nov. 14: Minnesota W, 40-35
Nov. 21: Purdue W, 40-20
Nov. 27: Nebraska