|IOWA vs. RUTGERS|
|DATE||Saturday, Sept. 7 | 11:05 a.m. CT|
|LOCATION||Iowa City, Iowa | Kinnick Stadium (69,250)|
|RADIO | LISTEN||Hawkeye Radio Network | Hawkeye All-Access|
1: QB Nate Stanley threw three touchdowns passes in the season opener, raising his career total to 55, fourth all-time in program history. He trails Chuck Long (74), Drew Tate (61), and Ricky Stanzi (56) on the all-time list.
2: QB Nate Stanley has made 27 consecutive starts at quarterback. Iowa is 18-9 in those starts, 9-9 in the Big Ten, and 11-4 at Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeyes have averaged 30.0 points per game the last 27 games. That average ranks fifth in school history, and 10th nationally among active quarterbacks.
3: DE A.J. Epenesa is named to four preseason All-America first teams, is listed on six preseason watch lists, and is preseason Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year by CollegeFootballNews.com. The junior led the Big Ten and ranked ninth in the country with 10.5 sacks last season.
4: WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette has been named to the Paul Hornung Award watch list, an honor bestowed to the most versatile player in college football. Smith-Marsette led the Big Ten and ranked No. 2 in the country last season, averaging 29.5 yards on 24 kickoff returns.
5: DB Michael Ojemudia recorded Iowa’s first theft of 2019, a fourth-quarter interception returned 14 yards that set up Iowa’s final touchdown in Week 1. The Hawkeyes led the Big Ten and tied for second in the country in 2018 with 20 interceptions. Over the last two seasons, no school has more interceptions than Iowa.
6: RB Mekhi Sargent led the team in carries (14), rushing yards (91), and receiving yards (65) in Week 1. He tied for the team lead and matched his career high with four receptions. He added a 2-yard touchdown rush while making his fifth career and fifth consecutive start.
7: Ten different Hawkeyes had at least one reception in Week 1, including sophomore Oliver Martin. The Iowa City native and Michigan transfer hauled in a 9-yard TD pass on his second play from scrimmage.
8: Iowa has won five of its last six Big Ten openers. The Sept. 7 calendar date is the earliest date for a Big Ten opener in school history. Rutgers is making its first ever trip to Iowa City for a football game.
9: Iowa is one of 15 teams to win at least eight games in every season since 2015. The Hawkeyes are 38-16 since 2015. (Alabama, Appalachian State, Boise State, Clemson, Georgia, Iowa, LSU, Memphis, Michigan, Ohio, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Stanford, Washington State, Wisconsin).
10: Head coach Kirk Ferentz’s 153 wins in all games coached as a member of the Big Ten Conference rank fifth in league history. The top five includes Woody Hayes (202), Amos Alonza Stagg (199), Bo Schembechler (194), Joe Paterno (162), and Ferentz (153). Ferentz is on the preseason Bobby Dodd Trophy watch list.
Iowa has played 1,247 games since beginning football in 1889. Iowa’s overall record is 651-557-39 (.537). That includes a 406-221-16 (.643) record in home games, a 245-336-23 (.425) record in games away from Iowa City, a 329-378-25 (.465) mark in Big Ten games and a 290-186-15 (.607) record in Kinnick Stadium.
When Iowa hosts Minnesota on Nov. 16, it will mark the 130th anniversary of Iowa football. The Hawkeyes played their first football game on Nov. 16, 1889, against Grinnell.
Saturday’s game is just the second in the history between the two schools. Iowa won the only previous meeting, 14-7, on Sept. 24, 2016, in Piscataway, New Jersey. Rutgers is making its first visit to Iowa City.
STANLEY CLIMBS SCHOOL AND CONFERENCE CHARTS
QB Nate Stanley threw three touchdowns in the season opener, raising his career total to 55 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 is named to six preseason watch lists and listed on the preseason Big Ten third team by Phil Steele. He has started the last 27 games at quarterback, and the Hawkeyes have averaged 30.0 points per game in those starts. That average ranks fifth in school history, and 10th nationally among active quarterbacks.
Stanley threw 26 touchdown passes in 2018, second most in the Big Ten, one shy of tying Chuck Long (1985) for the most in single season school history, and tied for second most all-time in single season history. Stanley also threw 26 touchdown passes in 2017. Stanley’s 52 touchdown passes over the last two seasons are the most ever in school history over a two-year span. Long tossed 49 touchdown passes from 1984 (22) to 1985 (27).
Stanley threw for a career-high 2,852 yards in 2018, the seventh-highest single-season total in school history. He ranks eighth in career passing yards (5,603) and ninth career total offense (5,512).
Nate Stanley Awards Watch
- Walter Camp Player of the Year Preseason Watch List
- Manning Award Preseason Watch List
- Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Preseason Watch List
- Maxwell Award Preseason Watch List
- O’Brien Award Preseason Watch List
- CFPA Player of the Year Award Preseason Watch List
- Preseason third-team All-Big Ten by Phil Steele
- Preseason fourth-team All-Big Ten by Athlon Sports
BEST IN THE BIG TEN
DE A.J. Epenesa is named to four preseason All-America first teams, is listed on six preseason watch lists, and is preseason Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year by CollegeFootballNews.com.
The junior led the Big Ten and ranked ninth in the country with 10.5 sacks in 2018. He ranked second in the conference and 16th nationally in forced fumbles (4), and ranked fourth in the Big Ten in tackles for loss. He totaled 37 tackles, four pass breakups, eight QB pressures, and a blocked punt in 2018. He recovered his own forced fumble and returned it 19 yards for a touchdown at Illinois.
Epenesa recorded at least one sack in nine of 13 games last season and was named first-team All-Big Ten by league media, and second-team All-Big Ten by league coaches.
The Hawkeyes ranked third in the Big Ten last season with 35 sacks, the second highest single-season total in the Ferentz era (2002, 40).
A.J. Epenesa Awards Watch
- Nagurski Trophy Preseason Watch List
- Big Ten Conference Preseason Watch List
- Bednarik Award Preseason Watch List
- Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List
- Polynesian Player of the Year Preseason Watch List
- Hendricks Award Preseason Watch List
- Preseason Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year by CollegeFootballNews.com
- Preseason first team All-America by Associated Press
- Preseason first-team All-America by Sports Illustrated
- Preseason first-team All-America by CollegeFootballNews.com
- Preseason first-team All-America by Athlon Sports
- Preseason second-team All-America by Phil Steele
- Preseason first-team All-Big Ten by CollegeFootballNews.com
- Preseason first-team All-Big Ten by Phil Steele
- Preseason first-team All-Big Ten by Athlon Sports
RETURN TO SENDER
WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette has been named to the Paul Hornung Award watch list, an honor bestowed to the most versatile player in college football.
In Iowa’s season opener, Smith-Marsette matched his career high with four receptions, including a 6-yard touchdown catch. He returned one kickoff for 19 yards.
Smith-Marsette averages 29.7 yards on 29 career kickoff returns. The Big Ten record of average kickoff return yardage (minimum 40 returns) is 28.8, set by Stan Brown of Purdue (1968-70).
In 2018, Smith-Marsette led the Big Ten and ranked No. 2 in the country last season, averaging 29.5 yards on 24 kickoff returns. He was named Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year in the Big Ten Conference. He had 23 receptions for 361 yards and three touchdowns. His 15.7 yards per catch led the Hawkeyes (minimum 20 receptions).
THE O-LINE SHUFFLE
The Hawkeyes used nine offensive linemen in their season opener. Outland Trophy contenders LT Alaric Jackson and RT Tristan Wirfs anchored the starting lineup. Redshirt freshman Tyler Linderbaum started at center in his first career game as an offensive lineman, and LG Landan Paulsen and RG Levi Paulsen became the first set of twin brothers to start for the Hawkeyes since 1980. Landen was making his first career start. Levi was making his fourth (Iowa has won each of Levi’s four starts).
The personnel changed when Jackson left the game with an injury in the first quarter. G Kyler Schott entered the game, flipping Wirfs to LT and Levi Paulsen to RT. Redshirt freshman Cody Ince, sophomore Mark Kallenberger, and true freshman Justin Britt also saw action. Ince and Britt made their collegiate debuts. Schott played in one game in 2018, and Kallenberger saw action in four games in 2018.
Collectively, the unit led Iowa to 213 yards rushing, averaging 5.2 yards on 41 carries. They were also charged with just one sack, an intentional grounding penalty on QB Nate Stanley. The offensive line allowed 16 quarterback sacks last season, tied for fewest in the Big Ten (Rutgers).
SARGENT LEADS RUNNING BACK BY COMMITTEE
RB Mekhi Sargent led the team in carries (14), rushing yards (91), and receiving yards (65) in Week 1. He tied for the team lead and matched his career high with four receptions. He added a 2-yard touchdown rush while making his fifth career and fifth consecutive start. Sargent is named on the Doak Walker Award Preseason Watch List.
The Hawkeyes totaled 213 yards on the ground in Week 1. RB Toren Young netted 48 yards and one touchdown on nine carries, and true freshman RB Tyler Goodson rushed nine times for 36 yards. QB Nate Stanley rushed for a career-high 20 yards.
Juniors Ivory Kelly-Martin, Sargent, and Young shared the workload in 2018. The trio combined for 392 carries, 1,723 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns (nine by Sargent, five by Young, and two by Kelly-Martin). Sargent had 40.6 percent of the carries (159-745), Young had 34.7 percent of the attempts (136-637), and Kelly-Martin has 24.7 percent of the carries (97-341).
Sargent rushed for 100-plus yards in each of the last two regular season games. He rushed for a career-high 173 yards on a career-high 26 carries against Nebraska in Week 12. He added a rushing score (15) and touchdown reception (5). In Iowa’s 63-0 win at Illinois in Week 11, Sargent rushed for a then career-high 121 yards, becoming Iowa’s first 100-yard back since RB Akrum Wadley in Week 12 of 2017. Sargent had a pair of touchdowns against the Illini. He led the team with 10 total touchdowns.
GRAND THEFT SECONDARY
DB Michael Ojemudia recorded Iowa’s first theft of 2019, a fourth-quarter interception returned 14 yards that set up Iowa’s final touchdown in Week 1. The Hawkeyes led the Big Ten and tied for second in the country in 2018 with 20 interceptions. Over the last two seasons, no school has more interceptions than Iowa. The Hawkeyes have 42 interceptions since 2017. Boston College has 39. Appalachian State, Cal, and Troy have 35.
SS Geno Stone tied for the team lead with four interceptions last season (Amani Hooker and Jake Gervase are now in the NFL). Three of Stone’s four thefts were 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 5-yard line on Minnesota’s final play of the game, and had a fourth quarter interception against Indiana in the end zone. He started at strong safety Weeks 5-13, his first career starts.
Entering this season, Iowa has at least one interception return for a touchdown in each of the last 11 seasons, and 16 of the last 18 seasons.
WIN, GRADUATE, DO IT RIGHT
Ten Hawkeyes wear a decal on their helmets indicating they have received their undergraduate degrees from the University of Iowa. The graduates include Drew Cook, John Milani, Landan Paulsen, Levi Paulsen, Colton Rastetter, Brady Reiff, Brady Ross, Ryan Schmidt, Jackson Subbert, and Nate Wieting.
REINVENTING THE STADIUM WAVE
The University of Iowa football program received the prestigious 2017 Disney Sports Spirit Award after launching a heart-warming tradition at its home games last season that touched the lives of scores of young patients at the University’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
In a tradition that started at the 2017 season opener, fans inside Kinnick Stadium and patients and families inside the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital exchange waves at the end of the first quarter of each home game.
The UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital opened in 2017. It is connected to the south end of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and overlooks Kinnick Stadium from the southeast grandstands. During Iowa football home games, patients and their families can watch the game from the top floor (Level 12), one of the highest vantage points in Iowa City.
IOWA LEADERSHIP GROUP
The University of Iowa football program includes 19 student-athletes – 18 seniors and one junior. The Leadership Group assists in formulating team policies and is involved in team decision-making throughout the year. Players were selected by team vote.
The group consists of seniors Drew Cook, Wes Dvorak, Amani Jones, Cedrick Lattimore, John Milani, Michael Ojemudia, Landan Paulsen, Levi Paulsen, Colten Rastetter, Brady Reiff, Brady Ross, Ryan Schmidt, Nate Stanley, Jackson Subbert, Nate Vejvoda, Kristian Welch, Nate Wieting, and Devonte Young, and junior Toren Young.
ALL ABOARD TO KINNICK STADIUM!
The Hawkeye Express, the passenger train that transports fans from Coralville to Kinnick Stadium, is in its 16th season in 2019.
Adults can ride the train for $15, 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 (cash only on game day) at the Hawkeye Express depot located near the boarding ramp. The trip to Kinnick Stadium is approximately 10 minutes. 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 kickoff. 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.