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Hawkeyes Climb to #2; Highest Since 1985

There are a number of you reading this who have heard us ‘old folks’ talk about #1 Iowa v #2 Michigan for a long time…but you never experienced it as it happened….you’ve only relived it via BTN classic replays or chats around the backyard barbecue.

Well, you’re now in the ‘most awesome moments in Kinnick Stadium All-Time’ club.  Welcome!

Iowa’s thrilling victory over #4 Penn State combined with #1 Alabama’s loss at unranked Texas A&M on Saturday led to Iowa climbing to #2 in the AP Poll for the first time since the 1985 season.  Iowa spent a few weeks at #2 that year, they spent a few weeks at #1 and most all of the year inside the Top Five; that 1985 team had Top Five streaks of five weeks (or polls) and 10 weeks inside the Top Five.

The 2021 Iowa Hawkeyes join that 1985 team, the 1961 team and the 1960 team with a minimum of five straight weeks in the Top Five.  If Iowa wins against Purdue next week, the current streak pushes to six and would tie the 1961 team’s six-week streak.  However, if Iowa beats Purdue, with a bye the following week, it means that win over the Boilermakers assures that Iowa would spent at least seven straight weeks ranked in the Top Five, which would be the third longest single-year streak in school history.

Could Iowa get to #1 this season?  Yes, but two things would have to happen.  One, Iowa needs to keep winning (dug) but Georgia would need to lose.  Georgia received all of the first-place votes in this week’s poll and for good reason; they look like the no-doubt best team in the country.

Georgia hosts #11 and undefeated Kentucky next week before a bye, then they play #20 Florida following a bye week.  After that, they play Missouri, Tennessee, Charleston Southern and Georgia Tech to end the year and then presumably Alabama in the SEC title game.  Alabama’s lone remaining game against a team presently ranked is home against Arkansas on 11/20.

But hey, all the Hawkeyes can control is what’s in front of them, which is a Purdue team that has beaten Iowa in three of their last four meetings and the Boilermakers scheme against Iowa’s defense better than any program in the Big Ten, although Penn State is at worst a close second.

Also, Iowa is on a six-week or six consecutive polls inside the Top 10.  Had Iowa been able to play Michigan and Missouri last year, that streak might be longer…but that didn’t happen.  Barring a considerable collapse over Iowa’s final six games, I think there is a better than average chance that Iowa will spend the rest of this season inside the Top 10.  I think there are ten more polls this season, which hypothetically push the streak to 16 consecutive polls.  IF…and again we are talking IF here, Iowa does that, I think they break the school record of 17 because I expect them to start next year inside the Top Ten in the preseason poll, and if they beat South Dakota State in week one, that would be 18 consecutive polls, a new school record.  A win this coming week would mean the streak goes to at least eight weeks this year, which would tie the 2015 and 2002 teams for the fourth longest such streak in school history.

Here are a few other interesting notes following Iowa’s win over Penn State:

Iowa has won 12 consecutive games. The Hawkeyes have outscored their last 12 opponents, 403-161, averaging 33.6 points per game offensively and allowing 13.4 ppg during the winning streak. Iowa has won 12 straight for the first time  since opening the 2015 season with 12 straight wins. Iowa reached the Big Ten Championship game and accepted an  invitation to the 2016 Rose Bowl game.  

Iowa has won nine straight games against Big Ten opponents (2020-21) for the second time in program history (2001-02  (10).   Iowa has won six straight games against ranked opponents dating back to 2019. The last time Iowa won six straight  against ranked opponents was a six-game stretch in 1960. 

Iowa had four interceptions Saturday, extending its streak of consecutive games with an interception to six. Iowa has  had at least three interceptions in a game four times this season. The last season Iowa had four games with three or  more interceptions was 2017.  

The win was Iowa’s first over a top five opponent since defeating No.3 Ohio State, 55-24, at Kinnick Stadium on Nov. 4,  2017.

No. 3 Iowa and No. 4 Penn State met for the sixth time as ranked opponents, the third time in the last four years. The  top five matchup is the sixth top-five matchup in Iowa football history, and the first at Kinnick Stadium since No. 1 Iowa  defeated No. 2 Michigan, 12-10, in 1985.  

Iowa has played 28 straight games without surrendering 25 points, the longest streak in the nation among Power 5  teams.  

The Hawkeyes have opened the season with six straight wins for the third time in the Ferentz era — 2009 (9-0) and 2015  (12-0).   Prior to Ferentz’s arrival in Iowa City, the Iowa football program began a season with a 6-0 start just two other times; 1985 and 1960.

The Hawkeyes are bowl eligible for the 20th time in the last 20 seasons. 

Penn State won the toss and elected to defer. The Hawkeyes have played 280 games under head coach Kirk Ferentz.  Iowa has opened the game on offense 211 times (136-75). The Hawkeyes have opened the game on defense 69 times (38-31). 

IOWA vs. PENN STATE 

DATE  IOWA RANK PSU RANK RESULT SITE 

9/15/1984 #5 Iowa #12 Penn State L, 17-20 home 

10/21/1995 #18 Iowa #19 Penn State L, 27-41 home 

10/2/2010 #17 Iowa #22 Penn State W, 24-3 home 

10/27/2018 #19 Iowa #17 Penn State L, 24-30 away 

10/12/2019 #17 Iowa #10 Penn State L, 12-17 home 

10/9/2021 #3 Iowa #4 Penn State W, 23-20 home 

TOP 5 MATCHUPS 

DATE IOWA RANK OPPONENT RESULT SITE 

10/9/2021 #3 IOWA #4 Penn State W, 23-20 home 

12/5/2015 #4 IOWA #5 Michigan State L, 13-16 Indianapolis, IN 

10/19/1985 #1 IOWA #2 Michigan W, 12-10 home 

11/12/1960 #5 IOWA #3 Ohio State W, 35-12 home 

11/5/1960 #1 IOWA #3 Minnesota L, 10-27 away 

10/3/1959 #5 IOWA #2 Northwestern L, 10-14 home

 

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