The Iowa Hawkeyes are in a category all by their lonesome.
It’s not a pretty one either. As the dust continues to settle on No. 7 Penn State’s 31-0 shutout victory over Iowa, more and more numbers are telling the story of just how depressing the state of business is in Iowa City.
The Nittany Lions’ shutout of Iowa was the Hawkeyes’ first time being shut out since Oct. 14, 2000, in an identical 31-0 loss to Illinois in Kirk Ferentz’s second season at the helm.
One staggering number that is making the rounds is the sheer discrepancy in the number of plays each team ran on Saturday night.
Per The Athletic’s Max Olson and TruMediaSports, no other Football Bowl Subdivision team has been out-snapped like Iowa was on Saturday night during its blowout loss in Happy Valley over the past five seasons. Penn State ran 97 offensive plays compared to Iowa’s 33.
Total plays on Saturday night: Penn State 97, Iowa 33.
Over the past 5 seasons, no other FBS team has been out-snapped by 60+ plays, according to @TruMediaSports.
— Max Olson (@max_olson) September 24, 2023
Of course, some of that is a credit to Penn State’s offensive approach and patience versus the Hawkeye defense. Naturally, it’s also a credit to the Nittany Lions’ effectiveness offensively.
Penn State had six drives with 10 or more offensive plays. That’ll rack up the offensive play-count in a hurry.
Still, this is more an indictment on the Hawkeyes’ inability to do anything positive offensively. After a third-down conversion on its first drive, things quickly devolved for Iowa. That drive immediately stalled.
The Hawkeyes’ second drive ended with tight end Erick All’s fumble. Then, Iowa had five straight offensive three-and-outs. Quarterbacks Cade McNamara and Deacon Hill were then hit, sacked and sandwiched a pair of lost fumbles around one final three-and-out.
The Hawkeyes finished with just four first downs and 76 yards of total offense. In short, it was another nightmarish night for a program that’s been defined by nightmarish offensive nights.
Follow Josh on Twitter: @JoshOnREF
We occasionally recommend interesting products and services. If you make a purchase by clicking one of the links, we may earn an affiliate fee. Hawkeyes Wire operates independently, though, and this doesn’t influence our coverage.