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Big Ten breakdown: Iowa
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Big Ten breakdown: Iowa

From the Big Ten football previews series


COACH: Kirk Ferentz, 162-104 entering 22nd season at Iowa, 174-125-1 entering 25th season overall

2019 RECORD: 10-3, 6-3 Big Ten (Third, West)

OFFENSIVE STARTERS RETURNING (8): RB Tyler Goodson, LT Alaric Jackson, LG Mark Kallenberger, TE Sam LaPorta, C Tyler Linderbaum, RG Kyler Schott, WR Brandon Smith, WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette 

DEFENSIVE STARTERS RETURNING (5): CB Dane Belton, LB Djimon Colbert, DE Chauncey Golston CB Matt Hankins, FS Jack Koerner


RETURNING STATISTICAL LEADERS: Rushing, Tyler Goodson 134-638; Passing, Spencer Petras 6-10-0-25-0; Receiving, Nico Ragaini 46-439; Tackles, Jack Koerner 81; Interceptions, Matt Hankins 2


RB TYLER GOODSON: After becoming the first true freshman in Hawkeye history to lead Iowa in rushing, the 5-foot-10, 200-pound sophomore will look to build off of the 638 yards he gained a year ago after emerging as the starter during the second half of the season. The Georgia native won’t have to do it alone. Iowa returns two veteran seniors in Mekhi Sargent and the now-healthy Ivory Kelly-Martin. Sargent gained 563 yards a year ago while Kelly-Martin took a redshirt season after dealing with some injury issues. They’ll work behind a line anchored by returning tackle Alaric Jackson and center Tyler Linderbaum.

WR IHMIR SMITH-MARSETTE: New starting quarterback Spencer Petras has plenty of targets to work with in a receiving corps that figures to be Iowa’s most productive in years. Senior Ihmir Smith-Marsette caught 44 passes for 722 yards and five touchdowns a year ago in addition to leading the Big Ten with an average of 29.5 yards on kickoff returns, taking a pair to the end zone. He’ll be complemented at receiver by Nico Ragaini, Brandon Smith and Tyrone Tracy. Ragaini led Iowa receivers with 46 receptions a year ago while Smith grabbed 37 passes and Tracy finished with 36 catches after lining up at all three receiver spots.

PK KEITH DUNCAN: A starter as a freshman who redshirted in 2017 and watched from the sideline in 2018, Duncan returned to the lineup and established an Iowa and Big Ten single-season record with 29 field goals in 34 attempts as a junior last fall in addition to hitting all 32 of his PAT tries. A returning consensus all-American, Duncan was successful in 14 of the 18 field goals he attempted from 40 yards or more last season and connected o n12 of the 13 he tried away from including a game-winning effort in the final seconds of the Hawkeyes’ win at Nebraska.


Iowa’s biggest questions are on defense, where only four starters will be back on the field this fall after linebacker Djimon Colbert chose to opt out of the 2020 season. The Hawkeyes have experience in the secondary, where cornerbacks Dane Belton and Matt Hankins and free safety Jack Koerner area back. Up front, defensive end Chauncey Golston is the lone returning starter from last season. Daviyon Nixon and Austin Schulte join Northern Illinois transfer Jack Heflin of Prophetstown at the tackle spots while Orion’s Logan Lee is competing for time in the rotation at end along with John Waggoner and Zach VanValkenburg.



Iowa’s win total over the past five seasons, the most victories in that timeframe in school history. Only eight programs in college football have won more games during that span than the Hawkeyes. Iowa has helped itself with a 16-4 record In rivalry games when a trophy is on the line over the past five years.


Oct. 24 – at Purdue

Oct. 31 – Northwestern

Nov. 7 – Michigan State

Nov. 13 – at Minnesota

Nov. 21 – at Penn State

Nov. 27 – Nebraska

Dec. 5 – at Illinois

Dec. 12 -- Wisconsin


Where Iowa ranked in the Big Ten in 2019:

Scoring offense: 25.8 (Ninth)

Rushing offense: 137.6 (10th)

Passing offense: 228.9 (Seventh)

Total offense: 366.5 (10th)

Scoring defense: 14.0 (Second)

Rushing defense: 112.5 (Fourth)

Passing defense: 195.7 (Fifth)

Total defense: 308.2 (Fifth)


The Hawkeyes’ record over the last five seasons:

2015: 12-2

2016: 8-5

2017: 8-5

2018: 9-4

2019: 10-3


Iowa’s record under Kirk Ferentz vs. Big Ten opponents:

Illinois: 11-3

Indiana: 10-5

Maryland: 2-1

Michigan: 7-6

Michigan State: 7-8

Minnesota: 15-6

Nebraska: 6-5

Northwestern: 9-10

Ohio State: 2-8

Penn State: 8-8

Purdue: 11-6

Rutgers: 2-0

Wisconsin: 7-11


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