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Who are Iowa's playmakers?

Iowa's got three guys on offense I'm kinda worried about. The primary running back (Robinson), the good wide receiver (McNutt), and the tight end. We seem to struggle against tight ends (we give up ~3 catches/game to tight ends). McNutt and Robinson are the primary offensive weapons on Iowa's team having scored twelve of the team's twenty nine touchdowns. When Iowa needs some points, they look for McNutt and Robinson to produce or at least produce as much as an Iowa offense will allow them. Here's a quick summary of who picks up the yardage and TD's in the Iowa offense:


Looking at the yardage and touchdowns can be slightly misleading. Guys could get a big play and take it to the house on busted coverage. This could skew their overall numbers so I kinda broke it down even further. As far as receivers are concerned, there are three important factors I looked at. First was "looks" or essentially the number of times the QB threw the ball in their direction. Second was "catches" or the number of actual receptions for the player. Third was "success", which adds up all the times he took the ball for a first down or touchdown. I feel like the success rate indicates who we have to look at, from a defensive perspective, as the deep threats or the guys Iowa will go to in the clutch. So, here are Iowa's numbers for success/look, success/catch, and catch/look.


Obviously, success is relative. If the route was designed to pick up 5 yards and not a first down, then it obviously was successful. However, I'm not really factoring that in 'cause that fact is lost forever after the play is called in and actually executed. We're only looking for game breakers not 5 yard out route masters.

GT fans may have noticed that I added Demaryius Thomas to the statistics. He's pretty much on par with Iowa's main threats except in success rate. Thomas takes about 5% more of his catches for first downs or TD's than Iowa's best. So if an Iowa fan says, "You've only got one receiver!" GT fans can reply, "That's all you need when the probability of him succeeding is just as good or better than the whole gaggle of Iowa receivers!" Why fix something that's not broken? Keep throwing to Thomas and he'll keep giving us first downs and touchdowns.

Concerning the running game...Iowa doesn't really have a game breaker. The guys are serviceable. They're very young. GT would struggle with freshmen starting in our system and Iowa's two primary backs are both freshmen and account for over 80% of the carries and all of the rushing touchdowns for Iowa. Iowa is in the bottom of almost every Big 10 rushing category because they've just not had the Shonn Greene or Albert Young to carry the load and bust the occasional big one.

I broke down the running backs into two main statistics. Success rate and fail rate. "Success" means the RB picked up the first down or touchdown on his carry. "Fail" means he didn't gain a yard. I added someone to the graph who will become Iowa's new best friend shortly. Other accounts for QB draws, QB sneaks, backup RB's, and WR reverses.


And really this is Iowa's problem. Their running backs fail to gain a yard ~25% of the time. That's terrible. 80 run plays for Iowa's two main backs have accounted for less than zero yards. I am comparing Dwyer to these two because his position is most similar and his stats are more similar. Our A-backs rushing stats are like wide receiver stats. Also, Jon Dwyer is our worst back concerning plays for negative or zero yardage and he only fails to achieve a yard 10% of the time! That's only 25 plays all year! Awesome. I hope Ferentz is working on Iowa's run blocking during his month off.

As I look at Iowa's offense each day, I wonder how they won any games at all. How do you win 10 games without running the ball effectively? Their defense is either superb or their competitions' offenses were equally terrible.