Game Notes: No. 22 Iowa vs. Illinois

Oct. 5, 2015

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Iowa is 5-0, 1-0, with wins over Illinois State (31-14), at Iowa State (31-17), Pittsburgh (27-24), North Texas (62-16), and at Wisconsin (10-6). Illinois is 4-1 overall and 1-0 in Big Ten play. Illinois has defeated Kent State (52-3), Western Illinois (44-0), Middle Tennessee State (27-25) and Nebraska (14-13), with a loss at North Carolina (48-14).

Illinois holds a 38-30-2 advantage in the series that began with a 58-0 Iowa victory in 1899. Iowa won 30-14 at Illinois last year in the first meeting since 2008. Illinois has not played in Iowa City since a 10-6 Hawkeye win in 2007. Illinois holds an 18-16-2 advantage in games played in Iowa City.

Kirk Ferentz is in his 20th year as a college head coach and his 17th year as Iowa’s head coach. His career record is 132-106 and he is 120-85 at Iowa. He ranks ninth in the Big Ten Conference in coaching wins.

Bill Cubit is in his first season as head coach at Illinois and his third season as offensive coordinator. Cubit is in his 14th season as a college head coach, with a 89-66-1 record. He was the head coach at Western Michigan for eight seasons (2005-12), and Division III Widener from 1992-96.

#22/23 IOWA vs. ILLINOIS
Date Oct. 10, 2015 | 11:01 a.m. (CT)
Location Iowa City, Iowa | Kinnick Stadium (70,585)
Radio Learfield Communications
Online Hawkeye All-Access
Live Stats Stat Broadcast | Twitter Game Updates

? The last time Iowa and Illinois met with undefeated conference records was 1983. Both teams were 1-0 in the Big Ten. Unranked Illinois defeated fourth-ranked Iowa 33-0 in Champaign and went on to win the Big Ten title and berth in the Rose Bowl. Iowa finished the season 9-3 with a Gator Bowl appearance.
? Saturday is Illinois’ first visit to Kinnick Stadium since 2007, a 10-6 Hawkeye win.
? Iowa is one victory from becoming bowl eligible for the 14th time in 15 years.
? Iowa and Illinois tie for the conference lead with seven interceptions. Iowa CB Desmond King leads the Big Ten with five interceptions. Illinois DB Taylor Barton ties for second in the league with three interceptions.
? Iowa (+3) and Illinois (+4) both have 10 takeaways.
? Kirk Ferentz is 6-3 all-time against the Illini.
? Iowa allows 84.4 rushing yards per game, second in the Big Ten. Illinois’ rush offense ranks 13th in the league with 155.8 ypg.
? Iowa’s roster includes 14 Illinois natives, more than any other outside state. Illinois has one Iowa native on its roster (TE Andrew Davis, Marion, Iowa).

Iowa holds a 56-42-5 (.568) record in 103 Homecoming games. Iowa has won four of its last five homecoming games, including a 45-29 win against Indiana last season. Iowa is 16-4 on Homecoming since 1995, and 12-3 since 2000, including winning seven in a row from 2000-06. The Hawkeyes are 5-5-2 against the Illini on Homecoming, and 12-4 in Homecoming contests under Kirk Ferentz.

FROM 5-0 to 6-0
Iowa is 5-0 for the 13th time in school history, and is aiming for its seventh 6-0 start all-time. Iowa started 9-0 in 2009, its best start in school history. The Hawkeyes were 7-0 in 1985, 1922, and 1921, and 6-0 in 1960 and 1928.

Iowa averaged 37.8 points per game in its first four wins, but scored just 10 in its Big Ten opener against Wisconsin. It marked the fewest points scored in a Big Ten win since defeating No. 18 Illinois, 10-6, in 2007. The 151 points scored (37.8 ppg) through four games was Iowa’s highest total since 2011, when it also scored 151 points (34, 41, 31, 45).

Head coach Kirk Ferentz has 120 wins as a member of the Big Ten Conference, The ninth most in conference history. Ferentz is two wins shy of tying Lloyd Carr for eighth all-time (122). Ferentz has 69 Big Ten wins, the 10th most in conference history. He trails John Cooper (Ohio State) by one victory for ninth all-time. Only eight coaches rank in the top 10 in both categories: overall wins as a member of the Big Ten, and conference wins. The others include Woody Hayes (OSU), Amos Alonzo Stagg (CHI), Bo Schembechler (MICH), Hayden Fry (IOWA), Robert Zuppke (ILL), Lloyd Carr (MICH), and Barry Alvarez (WIS). Ferentz also has six bowl wins as a member of the Big Ten, tying Fry and Carr for No. 2 all-time. Only Alvarez has more (9).

Junior DB Desmond King was named Big Ten Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in Iowa’s 10-6 win at Wisconsin. The Big Ten honor is the second for King. He was also recognized on Oct. 21, 2013, after recording 12 in a 34-24 loss at No. 3 Ohio State. King led Iowa’s defensive effort in the win at Wisconsin as the Hawkeye defense held the Badgers to two field goals in snapping Wisconsin’s 10-game home winning streak. King’s first interception, and 15-yard return, led to the only touchdown in the game as Iowa took a 7-3 advantage. He recorded his second interception at the Iowa 11-yard line to stop Wisconsin’s opening drive of the third quarter. King also had five solo tackles, four assists and two pass break-ups against the Badgers. On special teams, King had three kick returns for 65 yards. King is the third Hawkeye to earn the honor this season, as QB C.J. Beathard earned the offensive award following Iowa’s win at Iowa State, and PK Marshall Koehn was the special teams winner following Iowa’s last-second victory over Pittsburgh.

Iowa received the opening kickoff in four of five games this season. The Hawkeyes have scored touchdowns on two of four opening drives when starting on offense. The Hawkeyes have outscored their opponents 27-6 in the first quarter. In 17 seasons as Iowa’s head coach, Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes received the opening kickoff in 167-of-205 games (99-67). Iowa has started the game on defense in 39-of-205 games under Ferentz (21-18).


The Hawkeyes are 5-0 for the second time under Kirk Ferentz. A win Saturday would be Iowa’s second 6-0 start in the Ferentz era (2009). The 2009 Hawkeyes won their first nine games, finished 11-2 overall, and won the 2010 FedEx Orange Bowl.

Iowa is the only school in the country yet to allow a rushing touchdown. The Hawkeyes yield an average of 84.4 rushing yards per game, second best in the Big Ten and 11th nationally. Iowa limits its opponents to 2.6 yards per carry (161 attempts, 422 yards), 10th best in the country.

Iowa recorded two wins against Power 5 schools in its nonconference schedule: Iowa State, 31-17, and Pitt, 27-24. The Hawkeyes were one of only two Big Ten schools with two wins against teams from a Power 5 league in nonconference play. The other was Northwestern (Stanford and Duke).

Iowa ties for the league lead with seven interceptions (Illinois). The Hawkeyes returned two interceptions for touchdowns in Week 4 against North Texas. LB Josey Jewell recorded the first interception of his career, returning it 34 yards for a touchdown. LB Bo Bower returned an interception 88 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. It is the seventh longest interception return in school history. Iowa has at least one interception returned for a touchdown in each of the last eight seasons, and 13 of the last 15 seasons. The last time Iowa returned two interceptions for touchdowns was 2013 against Western Michigan (both by B.J. Lowery).

The Hawkeyes have used 12 first time starters. RB LeShun Daniels, Jr., LT Boone Myers, DT Nathan Bazata, DT Jaleel Johnson, LB Cole Fisher, LB Ben Niemann, SS Miles Taylor, TE Jameer Outsey, DE Parker Hesse, WR Riley McCarron, LT Cole Croston, and WR Jerminic Smith.

Junior Cole Croston made his first career start at Wisconsin in the Big Ten opener. Croston started at left tackle in place of LT Boone Myers, who was out with injury. Myers and RT Ike Boettger entered 2015 with one combined career start (Boettger started as a second tight end against Wisconsin in 2014). The sophomores replace a pair of NFL lineman — 2014 Outland Trophy winner LT Brandon Scherff (Washington Redskins) and RT Andrew Donnal (St. Louis Rams). Myers joined the program as a walk-on and was put on scholarship prior to the 2014 season. He saw action in four games last season. Boettger joined the team as a tight end but was moved to offensive line in 2013. He saw action in seven games as a redshirt freshman in 2014.

The Hawkeye Express, the passenger train that transports fans from Coralville to Kinnick Stadium, is once again available for fans traveling to Kinnick Stadium on Iowa Football game days. The Hawkeye Express is in its 12th season. Adults can ride the train for $12, round trip, while children (12-and-under) ride for free. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the UI Ticket Office or on game day at the Hawkeye Express depot located near the boarding ramp. Media credentials are accepted as well. Free parking is located in lots near the Comfort Suites and Coral Ridge Mall. Fans can begin boarding the train three hours prior to 11 a.m. kickoffs, and four hours prior to the start of afternoon and night games. Return trips begin at the start of the fourth period and run 90 minutes after the game. The Hawkeye Express is owned by the Iowa Northern Railway Company and operates on the Iowa Interstate Railroad.

Tickets remain for all four Iowa home games. Tickets can be ordered online at, by calling 1-800-IAHAWKS, or in person at the UI athletics ticket office located in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

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