Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Iowa football scores tracker: Hawkeyes offense craters against Minnesota, needs to score 325 points in 2023

Iowa has long been known as a program focused on winning with elite defense and special teams under tenured coach Kirk Ferentz. The results have been consistent, if nothing else: In 24 seasons under Ferentz, the Hawkeyes have won an average of nearly eight games per year — oftentimes with middling offensive output. 

Iowa was particularly abysmal on offense during the 2022 season, however, finishing 123rd nationally while averaging 17.7 points and 156.7 yards passing per game. Even worse, Iowa finished 130th — out of 131 FBS teams — in total offense at 256.1 yards per game. 

In any other situation, such lowly numbers would almost assuredly result in a staffing change. Complicating matters is that Kirk’s son, Brian Ferentz, is the team’s offensive coordinator. In the face of numerous calls for change, the younger Ferentz signed a revised one-year contract in February reducing his salary and adding performance incentives, putting pressure on the offense to improve. 

In order for Brian Ferentz to return to his previous two-year rolling contract, it has been mandated by Iowa’s administration that the Hawkeyes score at least 25 points per game (including a bowl game) — by any means, including defense and special teams — during the 2023 season. (Additionally, Iowa must reach seven wins, including a potential bowl game.) If Ferentz fails to meet either of the two goals, his contract will officially terminate on June 30, 2024.

Iowa was running well enough towards this goal through the first three weeks, sitting 3.08% ahead of pace after a rousing 41-point scoring affair against Western Michigan. And then disaster struck in Week 4 when it visited Penn State. Not only did the Hawkeyes fall off pace, they failed to score a single point against the Nittany Lions.

A month later, Iowa is painfully off pace sitting nearly 14% behind the average it should be scoring through eight weeks. Iowa has only scored 25+ points once in the last five weeks (26 vs. Michigan State), and it’s only projected to score 25+ points three mores times through the end of the season, which will certainly not be enough for Brian Ferentz to keep his job.

Against Minnesota this week, Iowa scored a paltry 10 points in a game that began with a projected total of 30.5 points, among the lowest in modern college football history. Not only that, the Hawkeyes were completely shut out in the second half while gaining just 12 yards. Yes, Iowa gained just 12 yards (-8 rushing, 20 passing) in the final 30 game minutes, falling to the Golden Gophers at home for the first time this century with Minny’s last such win coming in 1999.

For Iowa to reach its 325-point goal, it will need to score 33.8 points per game, including a bowl appearance.

CBS Sports will be tracking Iowa’s points per game throughout the season while calculating whether the Hawkeyes are on track to meet the threshold necessary for the team’s offensive coordinator to keep his job. Let’s break it down in greater detail.

2023 Iowa football schedule, points scored

Projected points via SportsLine | Goal = 325 points (25 per game)

Opponent Points scored Proj. points  Weekly goal Season goal Season pace

Utah State

24

31 (-7)

-1 (96%)

7.38% -0.31%

Iowa State

20

18 (+2)

-5 (80%)

13.40% -1.98%

Western Michigan

41

33 (+8)

+16 (164%)

26.15% +3.08%

Penn State

15 (-15)

-25 (0%)

26.15% -4.61%

Michigan State

26

23 (+3)

+1 (104%)

34.15% -4.30%

Purdue

20

25

-5 (80%)

40.30% -5.84%

Wisconsin

15

16 (-1)

-10 (60%)

44.92% -8.93%

Minnesota

10

20 (-10)

-15 (40%)

48.00% -13.53%

Northwestern

27

Rutgers

26

Illinois

19

Nebraska

21
Bowl game 25*
Total 156 274 (adj.) 86.47%

* Placeholder projection for Iowa’s bowl game given the opponent is unknown.

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