What it means for today’s game against Missouri State and the 10 games that follow, I don’t know. But last Saturday, Iowa ran 80 plays in its 30-27 loss to Northern Illinois.
Thirty FBS teams ran 80 plays or more last week. Eighteen teams averaged over 80 plays per game last season.
Marshall had a national-high 90.6 plays per game. Clemson led teams from BCS conferences with 85.3. Baylor had 84, Texas A&M 83.5 and Oregon 82.8. Those were three good teams. Marshall was a mere 5-7.
Iowa averaged 67.5 plays per game last season. That ranked 104th out of 124 FBS teams. The Big Ten leader was Indiana with 79.4, which was 22nd in the nation. Then came Penn State with 79.3 in Bill O’Brien’s first year as coach. The year before, the Nittany Lions averaged just 69.5.
The trouble for Iowa last week is that Northern Illinois ran 83 plays, 49 in the second-half. Just 33 of the Hawkeyes’ plays came after halftime.
California ran a national-high 103 plays last week against Northwestern. It lost. Two of those plays were passes that Northwestern’s Collin Ellis intercepted and returned for touchdowns.
But at the other end, all six of the teams that ran less than 60 plays were losers, including Purdue, a 42-7 loser at Cincinnati.
Iowa’s season-high for plays last year was 82. Against Northern Illinois.
Here is Iowa’s plays per games and FBS ranking in that category for the previous five seasons:
2012: 67.5 104th
2011: 69.6 79th
2010: 62.3 115th
2009: 67.2 87th
2008: 64.8 106th
Therte’s nothing wrong with being 87th or 106th in plays per game when you go 11-2 and 9-4, and win Florida bowl games.
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