|IOWA at PENN STATE|
|DATE||Saturday, Oct. 27 | 2:30 p.m. CT|
|LOCATION||State College, Pennsylvania | Beaver Stadium (106,572)|
|RADIO | LISTEN||Hawkeye Radio Network | Hawkeye All-Access|
1st and 10
1: With one more win, Kirk Ferentz becomes the fifth coach in conference history to win 150 games as a member of the Big Ten Conference. The top five includes Woody Hayes (202), Amos Alonza Stagg (199), Bo Schembechler (194), Joe Paterno (162), and Ferentz (149).
2: The last time Iowa and Penn State met with both schools ranked in the AP Top 25 was 2010, when #17 Iowa defeated #20 Penn State, 24-3, in Iowa City. It was Iowa’s last win in the series.
3: Iowa has scored 40 points or more in its last two road Big Ten games (Minnesota, Indiana). It is the first time in school history the Hawkeyes scored 40-plus points in Big Ten road games in the same season. Iowa is 12-0 since the start of the 2017 season when scoring 20 points or more.
4: Iowa’s defense leads the Big Ten and ranks fifth in the country in scoring defense (14.1). The Hawkeyes have held four of their opponents to a season-low in points (Iowa State, Northern Iowa, Indiana, Maryland).
5: QB Nate Stanley has 16 touchdown passes this season, second in the Big Ten. He has 42 career touchdowns passes, fifth all-time in program history. He is one shy of tying Matt Sherman for fourth all-time.
6: TE Noah Fant and TE T.J. Hockenson rank 1-2 on the team in receptions, and have combined for 736 receiving yards on 51 catches, including nine receiving touchdowns. Hockenson leads the team with 424 yards receiving. Fant has six touchdowns, tied for fifth in the Big Ten and tied for the most among all FBS tight ends (Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M). He leads the team with 26 receptions.
7: The Hawkeyes rank second in the Big Ten and country in rushing defense (79.6). Iowa is second in the Big Ten and third in the country in total defense (258.1).
8: Senior C Keegan Render leads an offensive line that has allowed six quarterback sacks, fewest in the Big Ten, tied for ninth nationally. The Hawkeyes start two sophomore offensive tackles (LT Alaric Jackson and RT Tristan Wirfs) and rotate starting guards who have a combined 16 career starts (RG Cole Banwart, RG Dalton Ferguson, and LG Ross Reynolds).
9: The Hawkeyes rank fourth in the Big Ten with 22 sacks. DE A.J. Epenesa leads the team and ranks second in the conference with six sacks. DE Anthony Nelson ranks fifth in the Big Ten with five sacks. Nelson recorded a career-best three sacks Week 5 at Minnesota. Epenesa has recorded at least one sack in five of seven games.
10: Iowa’s defense allows 2.7 yards per carry, sixth in the country. The Hawkeyes are one of three defenses in the country to have allowed only three rushing touchdowns (Alabama, Auburn).
Saturday will be the 28th meeting between Iowa and Penn State. The Nittany Lions have won the last four meetings and hold a 15-12 advantage in the series. The series is tied 9-9 since 1993 when the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten Conference. Iowa is 7-6 all-time in games played at University Park.
The last time the teams met with both schools ranked in the AP Top 25 was 2010, when #17 Iowa defeated #20 Penn State 24-3 in Iowa City.
6 THROUGH THE AIR
QB Nate Stanley has 16 touchdown passes, second in the Big Ten. He is on pace to throw 29 touchdown passes this season. In 2017, Stanley threw 26 touchdown passes, one shy of tying Chuck Long (1985) for most in a single season in school history.
Stanley has 42 career touchdowns passes, fifth most in program history. He is one shy of tying Matt Sherman (43) for fourth all-time.
Stanley set a career high with six touchdown passes Week 6 at Indiana. He threw the six touchdowns to five different players, marking just the second time in program history five different Hawkeyes had a receiving touchdown in the same game. He also had 320 yards passing, the fourth 300-yard passing game of his career (third in the last four weeks). His performance earned him Walter Camp National Player of the Week honors.
Stanley had 14 touchdowns combined from Weeks 3-6. That touchdown total tied for the most ever over a four-game stretch in school history (Chuck Long threw 14 touchdowns over a four-game stretch in 1985). He has four multi-touchdown games this season, and 11 in his career.
Six of Stanley’s 16 touchdown passes this season have gone to TE Noah Fant. He and Fant have connected for touchdowns 17 times over the last 20 games.
Stanley threw 26 touchdowns last year, one shy of tying the single-season record held by Chuck Long (27, 1985). Of those 26 touchdown passes, Fant caught a team-high 11 touchdown passes, followed by Nick Easley (4). In total, 20 of Stanley’s 26 touchdown targets return in 2018. TE T.J. Hockenson caught three touchdowns from Stanley in 2017, and WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette pulled in two touchdown receptions.
Stanley threw for a season-high 314 yards (third career 300-yard game) and four touchdowns in Week 5’s win at Minnesota. His 4,058 career passing yards rank 11th all-time.
DOWN, DOWN, DOWN IN FRONT
The Hawkeyes rank fourth in the Big Ten with 22 sacks. DE A.J. Epenesa leads the team and ranks second in the conference with six sacks. DE Anthony Nelson ranks fifth in the Big Ten with five sacks. Nelson recorded a career-best three sacks Week 5 at Minnesota. Epenesa has recorded at least one sack in five of seven games.
Ten Hawkeyes have contributed to the sack total. DE Parker Hesse has three, DE Chauncey Golston has two, and LB Amani Jones, DT Cedrick Lattimore, DT Brady Reiff, DT Matt Nelson, LB Nick Niemann, and LB Kristian Welch each have one.
HOLD IT RIGHT THERE
The Hawkeyes lead the Big Ten and rank fifth in the country in scoring defense (14.1). Iowa has held four of its opponents to a season-low in points (Iowa State, Northern Iowa, Indiana, Maryland).
Last week against Maryland, the Hawkeyes recorded the 10th shutout of the Ferentz era, holding the Terps to 115 yards of total offense, the fewest ever allowed to a Big Ten opponent under Ferentz.
The Hawkeyes rank second in the Big Ten in total defense (258.1) and rushing defense (79.6), and third in the conference in passing defense (178.6). Iowa and Michigan are the only schools to rank in the top three in all four defensive categories.
Iowa’s rushing defense ranks second in the country. The total defense ranks third, and the scoring defense ranks fifth.
Iowa allows 2.7 yards per carry, sixth in the country, and is one of three defenses in the country to have allowed only three rushing touchdowns (Alabama, Auburn).
The Hawkeyes limited Iowa State to just 19 yards rushing in Week 2, and held Northern Iowa to six rushing yards in Week 3 – a total that ranks second all-time in the Ferentz era (20 years). Iowa has held five of its seven opponents to below 100 yards rushing.
Iowa has allowed 108 first downs, second fewest in the Big Ten and seventh in the country.
NUMBER ONE IN THE LAND
The Hawkeyes lead the country averaging 30.1 yards per kickoff return. WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette has six returns for 200 yards (33.3). Iowa has returned only nine kickoffs this season. Kyle Groeneweg averages 27.0 yards on two returns. Devonte Young has one return for 24 yards.
Senior C Keegan Render leads an offensive line that has allowed six quarterback sacks, fewest in the Big Ten. The next closest teams have surrendered 11 sacks.
The Hawkeyes start two sophomore offensive tackles (LT Alaric Jackson and RT Tristan Wirfs) and rotate starting guards who have a combined 16 career starts (RG Cole Banwart, RG Dalton Ferguson, and LG Ross Reynolds). QB Nate Stanley has increased his completion percentage from 55.8 in 2017 to 61.0 in 2018.
YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE
TE Noah Fant has 18 career touchdown receptions, more than any other tight end in program history and enough for fourth all-time in program history. He has six touchdowns in 2018, tied for fifth in the Big Ten and tied for the most among all FBS tight ends (Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M). He leads the team with 26 receptions.
Fant’s 18 touchdown receptions rank third all-time in Big Ten history by a tight end (Jacob Pedersen, Wisconsin).
Fant had two touchdown receptions against No. 18 Wisconsin in Week 4. It was the fourth multi-touchdown game of his career. Since 2000, the only Big Ten tight ends with four multi-touchdown games are Fant (4) and former Penn State TE Mike Gesicki (4).
Seventeen of Fant’s touchdown receptions have come from QB Nate Stanley over the Hawkeyes’ last 20 games. His first career touchdown reception came from QB C.J. Beathard (5 yards, at Purdue on Oct. 15, 2016).
His 18 career touchdowns have come from near and far, listed in chronological order: 5, 2, 27, 23, 7, 45, 25, 3, 6, 4, 69, 8, 1, 5, 20, 1, 5, 28.
Fant had 102 yards receiving at Indiana in Week 6. It was his second career 100-yard receiving game (Nebraska, 2017).
Fant was one of 10 conference players named to the Big Ten Preseason Honors List. He had 30 receptions last season, including a team-high 11 touchdowns, tied for most in the country among FBS tight ends and the most by a Hawkeye since Marvin McNutt caught 12 touchdown passes in 2012. Fant led Iowa and all FBS tight ends with 16.5 yards per catch in 2017.
THE OTHER HALF OF THE TWO-HEADED MONSTER
While TE Noah Fant receives national headlines, TE T.J. Hockenson has hauled in a team-high 424 receiving yards on 25 catches, one fewer than Fant. The duo rank 1-2 on the team in receptions, and have combined for 736 receiving yards on 45 catches, including nine receiving touchdowns.
Hockenson added a rushing touchdown to his career stats at Minnesota, taking a direct snap on a fake field goal and rushing four yards for the score. Hockenson has led or shared the team lead in receptions in Weeks 1, 2, 4, and 6. His 17.0 yards per reception rank third on the team.
PRETTY SPECIAL TEAMS
Iowa leads the country averaging 30.1 yards per kickoff return. WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette averages 33.3 yards on six returns, best in the Big Ten and third in the country.
P Colton Rastetter ranks second in the Big Ten, averaging 43.6 yards per punt.
K Miguel Recinos connected on a career-best three field goals Week 7 against Maryland. He has made his last seven tries, dating back to Week 3.
KICKING THE TRAVEL BUG
Iowa has scored 40 points or more in its last three conference road games, dating back to last season (56-14 win at Nebraska; 48-31 at Minnesota; 42-16 win at Indiana).
The 40-plus points scored at Minnesota and Indiana this season mark the first time in program history Iowa has scored 40 points or more in consecutive road Big Ten games in the same season.
RECEIVERS COME ALIVE AT MINNESOTA
WR Nick Easley, WR Brandon Smith, and WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette combined for 14 catches, 198 yards, and two touchdowns in Iowa’s 48-31 win at Minnesota in Week 5. The trio entered the game with a combined 24 catches, 311 yards receiving, and one touchdown).
WR Nick Easley had a team-high six receptions (52 yards, 1 touchdown).
Smith-Marsette finished the game with three catches for a career-high 78 yards. His 60-yard touchdown reception was a career-long reception. It is also Iowa’s longest play from scrimmage this season. Smith-Marsette added two kickoff returns for 83 yards.
Brandon Smith set career highs in receptions (5) and receiving yards (68). He entered the game with five catches for 78 yards.
FOSTER INHERITS FRESH LEGS
Running backs coach Derrick Foster is in his first season on Iowa’s staff in charge of a position group that graduated 75 percent of its rushing yards in 2017, and entered 2018 with one combined career start (Toren Young).
RB Toren Young leads the team with 403 yards on a team-best 82 carries. He rushed for a career-high 96 yards at Indiana. He also hauled in his first career touchdown reception.
RB Mekhi Sargent has a team-best four rushing touchdowns. The junior college transfer has 73 carries and 297 rushing yards, second on the team.
RB Ivory Kelly-Martin entered the season on top of the depth chart, but missed Weeks 2, 3, and 6 due to injury. He returned to the starting lineup Week 7 against Maryland and set career highs in attempts (24) and yards (98).
The trio of sophomores has combined for 979 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns, four by Sargent, two by Young, and one by Kelly-Martin.
The Hawkeye do not have a junior or senior among the position group. Sophomores Kelly-Martin, Sargent, and Young are the elder statesmen of the group. Henry Geil is a true freshman (15 carries, 37 yards).
Iowa graduated running backs Akrum Wadley (1,109 yards) and James Butler (396 yards) in 2017. The duo combined for 1,505 rushing yards in 2017.
NEW FACES IN THE CROWD
The 2018 season is the first in Kirk Ferentz’s 20 years that the Hawkeyes opened the season without a linebacker with a single career start. Iowa has used five different starting linebacker combinations through the first seven weeks.
SS Amani Hooker made his first career start at linebacker Week 5 at Minnesota. He started again Week 6 at Indiana and Week 7 against Maryland. Hooker is the sixth Hawkeye to start at the linebacker position this season. The others include first-time starters LB Djimon Colbert, LB Jack Hockaday, LB Amani Jones, LB Nick Niemann, and LB Kristian Welch.
Week 1 starting linebackers Jones, Welch, and Niemann started for the first time in their careers in Iowa’s 33-7 win over Northern Illinois.
Niemann started Week 2 alongside first-time starters Hockaday and Colbert in Iowa’s 13-3 win over Iowa State.
Welch returned to the lineup in Week 3, starting alongside Niemann and Hockaday. The same trio started Week 4.
Colbert, Hockaday, and Hooker got the start in Week 5.
Colbert, Welch, and Hooker got the start in Week 6.
Niemann had not missed a start until Week 5. He suffered an injury in the fourth quarter against Wisconsin and did not play at Minnesota or at Indiana. He returned to action Week 7 against Maryland.
Hockaday was the team leader in tackles before exiting Week 5 with an injury. He did not play Week 6 at Indiana. Jones played in Hockaday’s absence at Minnesota and led the team in tackles.
Welch ties for the team lead in tackles (40), despite missing Week 2 and seeing limited time in Week 5 due to injury.
The five linebackers (not including Hooker) entered the season with a combined 40 career tackles, 832 fewer career tackles than Iowa’s three starting linebackers in 2017 (Josey Jewell 437; Bo Bower, 234; Ben Niemann, 201).
The last time Ferentz had this little starting experience at the linebacker position was in 2014. That year, Quinton Alston, Bo Bower, and Reggie Spearman were Iowa’s starting linebackers in the season opener. Only Alston had a previous career start (2012 at Michigan).
In Ferentz’s first season in 1999, the opening day starting linebackers — LeVar Woods, Aaron Kampman, and Derrick Davison had two career starts combined. Both starts belonged to Kampman, who started the final two games in 1998.
FERENTZ BECOMES IOWA’S ALL-TIME WINNINGEST COACH, MOVES UP BIG TEN CHARTS
Head coach Kirk Ferentz (149-98) became Iowa’s all-time winningest coach on Sept. 1, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated Northern Illinois, 33-7. It was Ferentz’s 144th win as Iowa’s head coach, one more than his predecessor, Hayden Fry (143-89-6). Fry coached Iowa for 20 years (1979-98). Ferentz is in his 20th season.
Ferentz’s 149 wins in all games coached as a member of the Big Ten Conference rank fifth in league history. Iowa has at least eight wins in three straight seasons and owns a 34-13 mark since 2015.
Ferentz has 89 Big Ten wins as Iowa’s head coach. The 89 conference wins rank sixth among the conference’s all-time winningest coaches in Big Ten games.
Both Ferentz (149, 89) and Fry (143, 96) rank in the top six in overall wins and Big Ten wins. Only Iowa and Michigan have two coaches ranked in the top 10 of both win categories (Bo Schembechler 194, 143; and Lloyd Carr 122, 81).
Iowa is the only school in the country to have just two head football coaches since 1979.
FERENTZ TOPS IN LONGEVITY
Kirk Ferentz is in his 20th season as Iowa’s head football coach. He is the longest tenured active head coach in college football. Ferentz was named Iowa head coach on Dec. 2, 1998. Gary Patterson of TCU is No. 2 in coaching tenure. Patterson’s first year with the Horned Frogs was 2001. Among Big Ten coaches, only Pat Fitzgerald (2006) and Mark Dantonio (2007) have been at their current schools for 10 seasons or more. Iowa is the only school to have just two head football coaches since 1979.
Defensive coordinator Phil Parker and strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle are also in their 20th seasons on Iowa’s staff. Defensive line coach Reese Morgan joined the staff in 1999 and is in his 19th season. Quarterbacks coach Ken O’Keefe was on Ferentz’s original coaching staff before he left for the NFL following the 2011 season. He returned to Iowa in 2017 to coach Iowa’s quarterbacks.
Ferentz is the only Division I coach to coach three sons. Brian Ferentz, a former Hawkeye letterman and captain (2003-05), is in his seventh season on Iowa’s coaching staff. James Ferentz was a three-year starter on the Hawkeye offensive line and a team captain before graduating in 2013. Steven was an offensive lineman and letterwinner in 2015 and 2016.
FILLING HOLES IN TAKEAWAYS
Iowa has seven interceptions over the last three games. The Hawkeyes had four interceptions in Week 5 at Minnesota, a pair of picks at Indiana in Week 6, and one theft in Week 7 against Maryland.
True freshman DB Riley Moss and true freshman DB Julius Brents both recorded interceptions in their first career starts at Minnesota. Moss had two interceptions for 36 yards. Brents intercepted one pass (0 yards).
Sophomore Geno Stone has started at strong safety Weeks 5-7, his first career starts. He intercepted a pass in each of his first two starts. Stone intercepted Minnesota inside the five-yard line on Minnesota’s final play of the game, and had a fourth-quarter interception against Indiana in the endzone.
The Hawkeyes have nine interceptions in 2018, tied for third in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes led the nation with 21 interceptions in 2017. The Hawkeyes return nine of the 21 thefts, led by safeties Jake Gervase (3) and Amani Hooker (2). DE Parker Hesse, Stone, LB Kristian Welch, and DL Brady Reiff also recorded interceptions last season. Iowa lost the nation’s leader in interceptions, Josh Jackson (8), and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Josey Jewell (2), to the NFL. Both players were consensus All-Americans.
Iowa has at least one interception return for a touchdown in each of the last 10 seasons (entering 2018), and 15 of the last 17 seasons.
DE Anthony Nelson recovered a fumble for a touchdown Week 7 against Maryland, marking the 11th straight season Iowa has scored a defensive touchdown.
IOWA LEADERSHIP GROUP
The University of Iowa football program has 12 players among its 2018 Leadership Group. The group includes six seniors, five juniors, and one sophomore. The Leadership Group votes on the weekly game day captains, is involved in team decision-making throughout the season, and provides feedback to the head coach. Players were selected by team vote.
The group consists of seniors WR Nick Easley, DB Jake Gervase, DE Parker Hesse, LB Aaron Mends, DL Matt Nelson, and OL Keegan Renders, juniors DB Amani Hooker, LB Amani Jones, DL Anthony Nelson, FB Brady Ross, and QB Nate Stanley, and sophomore RB Toren Young.
HAWK TALK WITH KIRK FERENTZ
Head Coach Kirk Ferentz is featured on “Hawk Talk with Kirk Ferentz” each week during the regular season. The radio call-in show is hosted by Gary Dolphin, the play-by-play voice of the Iowa Hawkeyes. The show airs live each Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. from Carlos O’Kelly’s in Iowa City. The Nov. 21 show has been rescheduled for Nov. 19 to avoid a conflict with an Iowa men’s basketball game.