|IOWA at ILLINOIS|
|DATE||Saturday, Nov. 17 | 2:30 p.m. CT|
|LOCATION||Champaign, Illinois | Memorial Stadium (60,670)|
|RADIO | LISTEN||Hawkeye Radio Network | Hawkeye All-Access|
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 Hawkeyes rank second in the Big Ten in scoring defense (18.1), rushing defense (96.0), and total defense (285.9). Iowa’s rushing defense ranks sixth in the country. Its total defense ranks 10th.
3: QB Nate Stanley has 18 touchdown passes, tied for second in the Big Ten. Stanley ranks 10th in career passing yards (4,807) and 10th in career total offense (4,702). He is 12 yards shy of tying Jake Rudock (4,819) for ninth all-time in career passing yards.
4: The Hawkeyes have 14 interceptions in 2018, tied for second in the Big Ten (Illinois). The Hawkeyes have 12 thefts since Week 5, when SS Geno Stone entered the starting lineup and Amani Hooker moved from safety to outside linebacker. Stone has four thefts to lead the team.
5: The Hawkeyes lead the Big Ten and rank third in the country averaging 28.5 yards per kickoff return. WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette ranks No. 2 in the country, averaging 31.9 yards on 15 returns.
6: The Hawkeyes rank third in the Big Ten with 28 sacks. DE A.J. Epensesa leads the team and ties for fourth in the Big Ten with 7.0 sacks. DE Anthony Nelson is tied for sixth in the Big Ten with 6.5 sacks.
7: 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. The 18 touchdown receptions rank third all-time in Big Ten history by a tight end (Dave Young, Purdue, 27; Josiah Price, MSU, 21).
8: TE T.J. Hockenson has hauled in a team-high 615 receiving yards on 39 catches, both career highs. The 39 receptions ties WR Nick Easley for the team lead. Hockenson also has a career-high four touchdowns, one more than he had as a freshman in 2017.
9: Senior center Keegan Render leads an offensive line that has allowed 11 quarterback sacks, fewest in the Big Ten.
10: Iowa averages 37.5 points per game in four road contests (2-2). The Hawkeyes scored 40 points or more in their first two road games, victories at Minnesota and Indiana.
Saturday will be the 74th meeting between Iowa and Illinois. Iowa trails the all-time series, 33-38-2, but the Hawkeyes have won 12 of the last 15 meetings, nine of the last 10, and four in a row. Iowa is 14-20 all-time in games played in Champaign, but have won its last two visits. Illinois’ last win in the series was a 27-24 victory in Champaign in 2008.
Iowa has played 1,243 games since beginning football in 1889. Iowa’s overall record is 647-557-39 (.533). That includes a 404-221-16 (.643) record in home games, a 243-336-23 (.423) record in games away from Iowa City, a 327-378-25 (.465) mark in Big Ten games and a 288-186-15 (.607) record in Kinnick Stadium.
6 THROUGH THE AIR
QB Nate Stanley has 18 touchdown passes, tied for second in the Big Ten. 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 44 career touchdowns passes, fourth all-time in program history. He trails Chuck Long (74), Drew Tate (61), and Ricky Stanzi (56) on the all-time list.
Stanley ranks 10th in career passing yards (4,807) and career total offense (4,702). He is 12 yards shy of tying Jake Rudock (4,819) for ninth all-time in career passing yards.
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 18 touchdown passes this season have gone to TE Noah Fant. He and Fant have connected for touchdowns 17 times over the last 22 games.
DOWN, DOWN, DOWN IN FRONT
The Hawkeyes rank third in the Big Ten with 28 sacks. DE A.J. Epensesa leads the team and ties for fourth in the Big Ten with 7.0 sacks. DE Anthony Nelson is tied for sixth in the Big Ten with 6.5 sacks.
Nelson recorded a career-best three sacks Week 5 at Minnesota. Epenesa has recorded at least one sack in six of 10 games.
Eleven Hawkeyes have contributed to the sack total. DE Parker Hesse has four, DE Chauncey Golston has 3.5, and LB Amani Hooker, 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 rank second in the Big Ten in scoring defense (18.1), rushing defense (96.0), and total defense (285.9). Iowa’s rushing defense ranks sixth in the country. Its total defense ranks 10th.
Iowa is 13th in the country in scoring defense. The Hawkeyes have held four of their opponents to a season-low in points (Iowa State, Northern Iowa, Indiana, Maryland).
In Week 7 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.
Iowa allows 3.0 yards per carry, seventh in the country, and has allowed only seven rushing touchdowns, tied for sixth in the country.
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 10 opponents to below 100 yards rushing.
Iowa has allowed 164 first downs, second fewest in the Big Ten and 13th in the country.
RETURN TO SENDER
The Hawkeyes lead the Big Ten and rank third in the country averaging 28.5 yards per kickoff return. WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette ranks No. 2 in the country, averaging 31.9 yards on 15 returns. Iowa has returned 20 kickoffs this season. Kyle Groeneweg averages 27.0 yards on two returns. Devonte Young has two returns for 42 yards.
Senior center Keegan Render leads an offensive line that has allowed 11 quarterback sacks, fewest in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes start sophomores Alaric Jackson and Tristan Wirfs at tackle. Senior Ross Reynolds has started every game at left guard, and sophomore Cole Banwart and senior Dalton Ferguson have shared starts at right guard.
TE NOAH FANT
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. The 18 touchdown receptions rank third all-time in Big Ten history by a tight end (Jacob Pedersen, Wisconsin).
Fant has a team-high six touchdowns in 2018, tied for eighth in the Big Ten. His 35 receptions are a single-season career high, and his 65-yard reception at Purdue is Iowa’s longest play this season.
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. 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.
TE T.J. HOCKENSON
TE T.J. Hockenson has hauled in a team-high 615 receiving yards on 39 catches, both career highs. The 39 receptions ties WR Nick Easley for the team lead. Hockenson also has a career-high four touchdowns, one more than he had as a freshman in 2017.
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, 6, and 9. His 15.8 yards per reception rank second on the team (Smith-Marsette 18).
Hockenson and TE Noah Fant have combined for 1,068 receiving yards on 74 catches, including 10 receiving touchdowns.
KICKING THE TRAVEL BUG
Iowa averages 37.5 points per game in four road contests (2-2). The Hawkeyes scored 40 points or more in their first two road games, both victories.
The Hawkeyes put up 48 points at Minnesota Week 5 and 42 points at Indiana Week 6. The 40-plus points scored at Minnesota and Indiana marked the first time in program history Iowa has scored 40 points or more in consecutive road Big Ten games in the same season.
Iowa scored 24 points at Penn State, though none came from an offensive set. The Hawkeyes recorded two safeties, kicked two field goals, returned one interception for a touchdown, and scored one touchdown via special teams (fake field goal).
Iowa scored 36 points in a 38-36 loss at Purdue. The 36 points scored were the most by Iowa in a loss since 2011 (44-41 at Iowa State, 3OT), and the most ever in a game that ended in regulation.
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. 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.
RUNNING BACK BY COMMITTEE
Iowa’s three primary running backs – Ivory Kelly-Martin, Mekhi Sargent, Toren Young – have combined for 302 carries, 1,275 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns, six by Sargent, two each by Young and Kelly-Martin.
The sophomore trio has shared the workload equally. Sargent has 36.1 percent of the carries (109), Young has 33.4 percent of the carries (101), and Kelly-Martin has 30.5 percent of the carries (92).
Iowa had a different running back rush for a career high in yards in Weeks 6-8. Sargent set career bests in carries (16) and yards (91) Week 8 at Penn State. Kelly-Martin rushed for a career-high 98 yards Week 7 against Maryland, and Young rushed for a career-best 96 yards Week 6 at Indiana.
Sargent leads the team with 109 carries and has a team-best six rushing touchdowns. His 454 rushing yards rank second in the team. He had two 1-yard rushing scores and a career-high four receptions (33 yards) in Week 9 at Purdue.
Youngs leads the team with 480 rushing yards on 101 carries. He hauled in his first career touchdown reception at Indiana. Kelly-Martin has 341 rushing yards on 92 carries, both rank third on the team.
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 Hawkeye do not have a junior or senior among the position group. 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).
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.
A STONE’S THROW AWAY
The Hawkeyes have 14 interceptions in 2018, tied for second in the Big Ten. Iowa has 12 interceptions over the last six games. The Hawkeyes had four interceptions in Week 5 at Minnesota, a pair of picks at Indiana in Week 6, one theft in Week 7 against Maryland, a pick-six at Penn State in Week 8, two interceptions Week 9 at Purdue, and two interceptions Week 10 against Northwestern.
Iowa had two interceptions in the first four games of the season, but has 12 thefts since SS Geno Stone entered the starting lineup and Amani Hooker moved from safety to outside linebacker.
Stone leads with four interceptions (tied for second in the Big Ten). Three of the four thefts have been in the fourth quarter. He intercepted Trace McSorley on the Penn State 24-yard line and returned it for a touchdown in Week 8. He 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 end zone. He has started at strong safety Weeks 5-10, his first career starts.
Hooker has three interceptions this season. He had one interception in the season opener, starting at strong safety. He moved to outside linebacker Week 5, and has added two more interceptions. First against Maryland in Week 7, and nearly grabbing a pick-six Week 9 at Purdue (touchdown called back due to a holding penalty on the return).
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).
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 11 seasons, and 16 of the last 18 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.
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.