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Four Phil Steele Facts: Iowa Hawkeyes

Numbers never lie. What do they tell us about Iowa’s punting?

NCAA Football: Northern Illinois at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Phil Steele puts out the best college football preview magazine every year. It’s not even a contest. In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of his first publication we at Bucky’s 5th Quarter are going to find four interesting facts about each team on Wisconsin’s schedule, including the Badgers, and break them down for you.

Phil, we love your magazine and we also love your mustache.

NUMBER 1: 4

The Hawkeyes lost their top four tacklers and all four starting defensive linemen from 2018, when the unit allowed only 17.8 points per game and a decade-best 294 yards per game. This number seems dire, but they do return pass rusher A.J. Epenesa on the d-line who recorded 10.5 sacks last year and is projected to be a repeat first team All-B1G performer. With only four returning starters (THAT’S A HAT TRICK OF STATS FOR THE NUMBER FOUR!) I don’t see Iowa being able to shutout multiple Big Ten opponents, like they did last season, this year.

NUMBER 2: 21

Kirk Ferentz has been coaching in Iowa City for 21 dang seasons. His coaching resume can legally drink! He is the longest tenured coach in the whole of FBS and will probably still be coaching Iowa long after we are all dead and buried. He has 152 career wins and just passed Hayden Fry as the winningest coach in Hawkeyes history. Iowa is about due for one of those random seasons where they end up in a NY6 bowl, but since they won nine games last year I think they have to struggle to bowl eligibility in 2019 before winning 11 games in 2020. That’s just the Ferentz Way.

NCAA Football: Outback Bowl-Mississippi State vs Iowa Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

NUMBER 3: .500

Over the past decade, Iowa is 20-20 in the month of November. After a bye on November 2nd, Iowa travels to Madison and as long as Joel Stave doesn’t trip over anyone’s ankle on the goal line (which would have meant the Badgers had beaten Iowa five out of the last five times) I think Iowa’s record in November will be under .500.

NUMBER 4: 1

Only Iowa would bring in a grad transfer...at punter. Michael Sleep-Dalton comes to Iowa City from Arizona State where he averaged 41.8 yards per punt and will challenge incumbent punter, Colton Rastetter whose average dropped to 38.4 in 2018. A punter controversy is just what the Hawkeyes need to make headlines in fall camp and we have the makings of a good one!