With Boston College’s bowl destination and opponent set, it’s time to start to look at the Iowa Hawkeyes and see how they match up with the Eagles. But before we do that, let’s briefly recap some of the analytics behind Iowa’s season.
First off, Iowa finished their season 7-5 with Sagarin rating them the 22nd team in the country (Boston College is 32nd). Also by this rating, the Hawkeyes had the 6th hardest strength of schedule, compared to BC’s 14th. The gauntlet that they faced is pretty impressive, and four of their five losses have come against ranked teams in Michigan State, Northwestern, Penn State and Wisconsin. Of course college football fans remember their marquee win, a thrashing of the Ohio State Buckeyes, a win that probably helped Boston College end up at the Pinstripe Bowl. Their entire out of conference schedule were bowl eligible teams as well, with wins over Iowa State, Wyoming and North Texas.
When looking at the offense, Kirk Ferentz runs a pro style system that has been more effective through the air than on the ground. They have a physical offensive line, and a smash mouth running game, but still have a balanced attack. They rank 93rd in the country in rushing, but only average a paltry 3.87 yards a carry. In terms of the passing attack, they actually have a very efficient game, throwing 26 touchdowns to only six interceptions. While they haven’t thrown a ton of interceptions, they have put the ball on the ground a lot, losing 13 fumbles this season good for 120th in the country. In terms of getting to the quarterback, Iowa ranks in the middle of the road, allowing 22 sacks this season, 55th in the nation.
Iowa is going to be a challenge on defense, as they have been stingy with points allowed, ranking in the Top 20 in this category with 19.9. This is not a team that BC is going to probably roll up a ton of points on like they did the second half of the season, as they have only allowed 30+ points twice, with Wisconsin and Iowa State doing the honors. Probably the biggest question BC fans are going to have is how the Hawkeyes do against the run, well they have the 38th ranked run defense allowing just over 140 yards per game on the ground. Three teams have broken the 200+ yard plateau against Iowa this season. If BC tries to pass the ball, Iowa is pretty middle of the road against the pass, allowing 213 yards per game, 50th in the nation. Their sack numbers are pretty middle of the road as well, ranking 48th in the country.
The kicking game is pretty solid as well, as they have gone a perfect 41/41 on XP’s and 9/11 on field goals. An odd stat is that they are 120th in the country in field goal attempts, not sure what that is all about but when we talk to the Iowa writers we will find out.
As you can see Iowa is a pretty solid team in basically all aspects of the game. They do make some mistakes, but have a defense that can cover for them. Next up we will start to preview some of the big names on Iowa.