The University of Iowa University of Iowa

Breaking down the Hawkeyes: Offense

By Matt Cozzi

Iowa is struggling on offense. Badly.

Iowa has struggled to produce on offense through two games this season and a lot of that blame can be placed on QB James Vandenberg. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

If it wasn’t as clear after the first two games of the season, these numbers below — on a national scale nonetheless — illustrate the Hawkeyes’ inability to create any consistent offensive production.

Coordinator Greg Davis’ system doesn’t look like an exact replica of former offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe’s, but it’s quite similar. That is a reflection of several factors, including Kirk Ferentz’ visible autonomy across his entire team and also his conservative style of coaching and managing games.

Damon Bullock’s game-winning touchdown run against Northern Illinois is the only touchdown Iowa has to its name currently.

Without further ado, here are some main statistical categories and where Iowa ranks.

115 – This is where Iowa ranks in total offense out of 124 FBS programs. The Hawkeyes are the second-to-worst BCS team in the nation in terms of total offense as well (Washington is No. 121). Translation: Yikes.

54.7 – The completion percentage of quarterback James Vandenberg, good enough for 98th (!) out of 124 teams. Vandenberg — a 5th year senior — can get rattled easily at times. Hard to believe he threw for 3,022 yards and 25 touchdowns in 2011.

37 – The third down conversion percentage for Iowa, 84th in the country. This makes sense given the amount of unsuccessful plays “early in the count,” or on first and second down.

9-8 – This is Vandenberg’s career record as a starter. Just thought that was interesting.

C.J. Fiedorowicz shows frustration and disbelief after dropping a pass in Saturday's loss to Iowa State, an expression shared by other players and fans alike. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette-KCRG TV9)

3.8 – The average yards per play through the first two games, which rank fourth-to-last in the nation. No wonder the Black and Gold always seem to have 7-plus yards to go on second down, they probably do. It seemed like that happened a lot against Iowa State especially.

0 – The number of touchdowns the Hawkeyes have scored in the red zone this season. Only three other teams haven’t scored within the 20-yard line thus far, perhaps the biggest indicator of Iowa’s offensive ineptitude in 2012.