Iowa Hawkeyes take home ESPN’s ‘under-the-radar game of the week’ designation

It certainly was unconventional. There’s no getting around that. Iowa won’t complain about or apologize for the history it made in its win against Wisconsin, though.

Per ESPN’s Bill Connelly, the Hawkeyes’ win over Wisconsin featured the fewest offensive yards per play in a victory of 14 or more points since Florida State’s 21-7 win over Florida in 2011.

David Hale, his colleague at ESPN, touched on Iowa’s win over Wisconsin in his Week 11 college football roundup. Maybe it’s not the most glamorous of awards, but Iowa earned his “under-the-radar game of the week” recognition.

We wanted to take a moment here to offer our highest of praise to Iowa, which, after Saturday’s 24-10 victory over Wisconsin, has now won three straight games after suffering through a genuinely legendary amount of jokes about its inept offense.

Did the Hawkeyes prove us all wrong by changing things up, switching QBs or playcallers or just deciding that forward progress was helpful? Oh, no. If anything, Iowa has become even more Iowa.

After back-to-back weeks in which the Hawkeyes were dangerously close to 400 yards of offense, Saturday was a return to the sheer paint-drying perfection they strive for. For the game, Iowa had 146 yards of offense. The Hawkeyes averaged 1.2 yards per rush and threw for just 94 yards. And they won by two touchdowns! – Hale, ESPN.

Hale wasn’t done there. He had a little bit more to add about some of the wild offensive numbers associated with Iowa’s 24-10 win over the Badgers.

According to research by ESPN Stats & Information, Iowa’s 146 yards were the fewest by a team in a winning effort this season. Who’d Iowa beat out for that honor? Why, Iowa, of course! (The Hawkeyes had 166 in the 7-3 win over FCS South Dakota State.)

Iowa’s nine punts Saturday were just one shy of its season high (10 against South Dakota State). Tory Taylor was a mere nine yards shy of cracking 400 punt yards on the day — something he has done twice, while Iowa’s offense has yet to hit that total.

Iowa’s 24 points were also the most a team has scored while tallying fewer than 150 yards of offense since 2014, when Missouri beat Florida 42-13 with just 119 yards of offense (thanks to four non-offensive touchdowns).

The Hawkeyes are now bowl eligible despite having fewer offensive yards as a team than Stetson Bennett has by himself. – Hale, ESPN.

“It wasn’t easy, wasn’t clean, but overall did a really nice job. Just really proud of our players for getting the victory, proud of them for getting the trophy back and having that in our building for a while,” Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz said following the win.

Ferentz also acknowledged the offense’s difficult day but noted that the Hawkeyes were able to cash in with touchdowns in several key spots.

“Offensively, we have a lot of work to do still. I was kind of disappointed up front. It didn’t look real good for the most part, but a couple positives there when we did get the ball inside the red zone. We finished, put the ball in the end zone instead of field goals, so that was a positive, and then the end of the game, to hold the ball and make them burn their timeouts, I’m not sure I saw that coming, so that was encouraging, too,” Ferentz said.

The bottom line is Iowa is back into the win column and a serious factor in the Big Ten West. Sure, there’s work to be done offensively, but that can wait until at least Saturday at Minnesota.

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Story originally appeared on Hawkeyes Wire