2015 Iowa Hawkeyes football team

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2015 Iowa Hawkeyes football
Iowa Hawkeyes wordmark.svg
Big Ten West Division champion
Rose Bowl, L 16–45 vs. Stanford
Conference Big Ten Conference
Division West Division
Ranking
Coaches No. 10
AP No. 9
2015 record 12–2 (8–0 Big Ten)
Head coach Kirk Ferentz (17th season)
Offensive coordinator Greg Davis (4th season)
Offensive scheme Multiple
Defensive coordinator Phil Parker (4th year as DC; 17th overall season)
Base defense 4–3
Captain C.J. Beathard
Austin Blythe
Jordan Lomax
Drew Ott
Home stadium Kinnick Stadium
(Capacity: 70,585)
Seasons
← 2014
2016 →
2015 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
East Division
No. 6 Michigan State xy$^   7 1         12 2  
No. 4 Ohio State x   7 1         12 1  
No. 12 Michigan   6 2         10 3  
Penn State   4 4         7 6  
Indiana   2 6         6 7  
Rutgers   1 7         4 8  
Maryland   1 7         3 9  
West Division
No. 9 Iowa xy   8 0         12 2  
No. 23 Northwestern   6 2         10 3  
No. 21 Wisconsin   6 2         10 3  
Nebraska   3 5         6 7  
Minnesota   2 6         6 7  
Illinois   2 6         5 7  
Purdue   1 7         2 10  
Championship: Michigan State 16, Iowa 13
  • ^ – College Football Playoff participant
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
Rankings from AP Poll

The 2015 Iowa Hawkeyes football team represented the University of Iowa in the 2015 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Hawkeyes, led by 17th year head coach Kirk Ferentz, were members of the West Division of the Big Ten Conference and played their home games at Kinnick Stadium. Despite modest expectations entering the season, the team finished 12–2 overall and 8–0 in Big Ten play to win the West Division. After losing a classic to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game, the Hawkeyes were invited to the 2016 Rose Bowl where they were beaten by Stanford. The team established a new single-season school record for wins.

2015 commitments[edit]

US college sports recruiting information for high school athletes
Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight 40 Commit date
Ryan Boyle
QB
West Des Moines, IA Dowling Catholic High School 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 204 lb (93 kg) 4.6 Mar 26, 2014 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Drew Cook
ATH
Iowa City, IA Iowa City Regina High School 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 208 lb (94 kg) 4.7 Feb 26, 2014 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:2/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:4/5 stars
James Daniels
C
Warren, OH Warren G. Harding High School 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 287 lb (130 kg) 5.2 Jul 31, 2014 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports:4/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Adrian Falconer
WR
Leesburg, FL Leesburg High School 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 186 lb (84 kg) 4.5 Jun 21, 2014 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:2/5 stars   Rivals:2/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Angelo Garbutt
OLB
Carrollton, TX Hebron High School 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 207 lb (94 kg) 4.5 Feb 3, 2015 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Eric Graham
RB
Prattville, AL Autauga Academy 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) 197 lb (89 kg) 4.4 Feb 4, 2015 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:2/5 stars   Rivals:2/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPNN/A
Jack Hockaday
OLB
Maroa, IL Maroa-Forsyth High School 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 203 lb (92 kg) 4.6 Mar 29, 2014 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Garret Jansen
DE
Pella, IA Pella High School 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 248 lb (112 kg) 5.0 Jan 30, 2015 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:2/5 stars   Rivals:2/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Justin Jinning
OLB
The Colony, TX The Colony High School 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 205 lb (93 kg) 4.7 Jun 23, 2015 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:2/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Ron Nash
WR
Sioux City, IA Iowa Western Community College 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 195 lb (88 kg) NA Mar 31, 2015 
Recruiting star ratings: ScoutN/A   RivalsN/A   247SportsN/A    ESPNN/A
Anthony Nelson
DE
Waukee, IA Waukee High School 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 213 lb (97 kg) 4.9 Jan 5, 2015 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:2/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Jake Newborg
OG
Inwood, IA West Lyon High School 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 271 lb (123 kg) 5.0 Aug 31, 2014 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Emmanuel Ogwo
WR
Mesquite, TX Van Horn High School 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 4.6 Jul 30, 2014 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:2/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:2/5 stars    ESPNN/A
Levi Paulsen
OT
Moville, IA Woodbury Central High School 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 266 lb (121 kg) 5.0 Mar 2, 2015 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Landan Paulsen
OG
Moville, IA Woodbury Central High School 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 274 lb (124 kg) 5.0 Mar 2, 2015 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Brady Reiff
DE
Parkston, SD Parkston High School 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 4.5 Apr 24, 2014 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:2/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Michael Slater Jr.
DE
Chesterfield, MO Parkway Central High School 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 250 lb (110 kg) 4.7 Oct 15, 2015 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Jerminic Smith
WR
Garland, TX South Garland High School 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 176 lb (80 kg) 4.4 Nov 2, 2014 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Nate Vejvoda
TE
New Lenox, IL Providence Catholic High School 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 213 lb (97 kg) 4.7 Jul 26, 2014 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Brett Waechter
OT
Hartley, IA Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn High School 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 260 lb (120 kg) 5.0 Jun 11, 2014 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:2/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Nick Wilson
OLB
West Des Moines, IA Dowling Catholic High School 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 206 lb (93 kg) 4.6 Feb 1, 2015 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:2/5 stars   Rivals:2/5 stars   247Sports:2/5 stars    ESPNN/A
Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 51   Rivals: 58  247Sports: 59
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height and weight.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.

Sources:

Schedule[edit]

Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
September 5 11:00 AM No. 2 (FCS) Illinois State* Kinnick StadiumIowa City, IA BTN W 31–14   59,450
September 12 3:45 PM at Iowa State* Jack Trice StadiumAmes, IA (Cy-Hawk Trophy) FOX W 31–17   61,500
September 19 7:00 PM Pittsburgh* Kinnick Stadium • Iowa City, IA BTN W 27–24   63,636
September 26 2:30 PM North Texas* Kinnick Stadium • Iowa City, IA ESPNU W 62–16   56,041
October 3 11:00 AM at No. 19 Wisconsin Camp Randall StadiumMadison, WI (Heartland Trophy) ESPN W 10–6   80,933
October 10 11:00 AM Illinoisdagger No. 22 Kinnick Stadium • Iowa City, IA ESPN2 W 29–20   66,693
October 17 11:00 AM at No. 20 Northwestern No. 17 Ryan FieldEvanston, IL ABC/ESPN2 W 40–10   44,135
October 31 2:30 PM Maryland No. 10 Kinnick Stadium • Iowa City, IA ABC/ESPN2 W 31–15   62,667
November 7 2:30 PM at Indiana No. 10 Memorial StadiumBloomington, IN ESPN W 35–27   44,739
November 14 7:00 PM Minnesota No. 8 Kinnick Stadium • Iowa City, IA (Floyd of Rosedale) BTN W 40–35   70,585
November 21 11:00 AM Purdue No. 6 Kinnick Stadium • Iowa City, IA ESPN2 W 40–20   62,920
November 27 2:30 PM at Nebraska No. 3 Memorial StadiumLincoln, NE (Heroes Game) ABC W 28–20   90,830
December 5 7:15 PM vs. No. 5 Michigan State No. 4 Lucas Oil StadiumIndianapolis, IN (Big Ten Championship Game) FOX L 13–16   66,985
January 1 4:10 PM vs. No. 6 Stanford* No. 5 Rose BowlPasadena, CA (Rose Bowl) ESPN L 16–45   94,268
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll released prior to game. All times are in Central Time.

[1]

Roster[edit]

2015 Iowa Hawkeyes football team roster
Players Coaches
Offense
Pos. # Name Class
FB 40 Lane Akre Fr
QB 16 C. J. Beathard Jr
WR 2 Brandon Bishop Redshirt.svg Fr
OL 63 Austin Blythe Sr
OL 75 Ike Boettger So
QB 11 Ryan Boyle Fr
RB 33 Jordan Canzeri Sr
QB 18 Drew Cook Fr
FB 38 Adam Cox Jr
OL 64 Cole Croston Jr
OL 78 James Daniels Fr
RB 29 LeShun Daniels Jr. Jr
TE 87 Jake Duzey Injured Sr
WR 82 Adrian Falconer Fr
OL 54 Steve Ferentz Jr
OL 76 Dalton Ferguson Redshirt.svg Fr
RB 23 Eric Graham Fr
WR 84 Andre Harris So
WR 17 Jacob Hillyer Sr
WR 15 Joshua Jackson Redshirt.svg Fr
FR 26 Joly Marcel Redshirt.svg Fr
WR 14 Conner Keane So
FB 41 Austin Kelly Redshirt.svg Fr
OL 74 Mitch Keppy Jr
TE 46 George Kittle Jr
TE 80 Henry Krieger-Coble Sr
OL 70 Lucas LeGrand Redshirt.svg Fr
WR 83 Riley McCarron Jr
FB 31 Aaron Mends Redshirt.svg Fr
WR 85 Derrick Mitchell, Jr. So
OL 52 Boone Myers So
WR 21 Ronald Nash Fr
OL 57 Jake Newborg Fr
WR 6 Emmanuel Ogwo Fr
TE 92 Jameer Outsey Redshirt.svg Fr
RB 10 Jonathan Parker So
OL 68 Landan Paulsen Fr
OL 66 Levi Paulsen Fr
TE 86 Peter Pekar So
FB 42 Macon Plewa Sr
OL 69 Keegan Render Redshirt.svg Fr
OL 59 Ross Reynolds Redshirt.svg Fr
WR 3 Jay Scheel Redshirt.svg Fr
QB 15 Ryan Schmidt Fr
OL 58 Eric Simmons Sr
TE 92 Blake Simons Fr
WR 9 Jerminic Smith Fr
WR 4 Tevaun Smith Jr
WR 20 Andrew Stone Sr
WR 89 Matt VandeBerg Jr
TE 85 Nate Vejvoda Fr
RB 25 Akrum Wadley So
OL 71 Brett Waechter Fr
OL 65 Jordan Walsh Sr
OL 73 Ryan Ward Jr
OL 79 Sean Welsh So
QB 8 Tyler Wiegers Redshirt.svg Fr
TE 90 Nate Wieting Fr
TE 81 Jon Wisnieski Redshirt.svg Fr
Defense
Pos. # Name Class
DL 99 Nathan Bazata So
DB 4 Jacob Black So
DB 41 Bo Bower So
DE 90 Sam Brincks Redshirt.svg Fr
DL 97 Darian Cooper Sr
DB 7 Sean Draper Sr
LB 51 Drake Dunker Fr
DL 56 Faith Ekakitie Jr
OLB 36 Cole Fisher Sr
DB 28 Marcus Fleming Jr
DL 77 Daniel Gaffney So
DB 12 Anthony Gair Jr
LB 22 Angelo Garbutt Fr
DB 30 Jake Gervase Redshirt.svg Fr
DL 60 Jacob Giese Fr
DL 72 Brant Gressel So
LB 45 Eric Grimm Redshirt.svg Fr
DE 93 Terrence Harris Redshirt.svg Fr
LB 40 Parker Hesse Redshirt.svg Fr
FR 48 Jack Hockaday Fr
DL 88 Jake Hulett So
DL 53 Garret Jansen Fr
OLB 43 Josey Jewell So
LB 21 Justin Jinning Fr
DL 67 Jaleel Johnson Jr
DB 14 Desmond King Jr
DB 8 Isaiah Kramme Fr
LB 45 Drake Kulick So
DB 27 Jordan Lomax Sr
DB 13 Greg Mabin Jr
LB 15 Steve Manders So
DE 34 Nate Meier Sr
DB 4 John Milani Fr
DE 98 Anthony Nelson Fr
DE 96 Matt Nelson Redshirt.svg Fr
LB 44 Ben Niemann So
DB 11 Michael Ojemudia Fr
DL 95 Drew Ott Injured Sr
DB 39 Travis Perry Sr
DL 91 Brady Reiff Fr
LB 55 Brady Ross Fr
DE 94 Michael Slater Fr
DB 37 Brandon Snyder Redshirt.svg Fr
LB 50 Jacob Sobotka Redshirt.svg Fr
LB 49 Melvin Spears Sr
DB 19 Miles Taylor So
DL 61 Kyle Terlouw Jr
DB 5 Omar Truitt Redshirt.svg Fr
DB 26 Kevin Ward So
LB 29 Nick Wilson Fr
Special teams
Pos. # Name Class
K 2 Mick Ellis So
P 16 Dillon Kidd Sr
LS 97 Tyler Kluver So
PK 1 Marshall Koehn Sr
P 7 Colton Rastetter Fr
K 91 Miguel Recinos Redshirt.svg Fr
LS 50 Jackson Subbert Fr
Head coach
Coordinators/assistant coaches
  • Greg DavisOffensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks
  • Phil ParkerDefensive Coordinator
  • Brian FerentzOffensive Line
  • Bobby Kennedy – Wide Receivers
  • Reese Morgan – Defensive Line
  • Jim ReidLinebackers
  • Seth Wallace – Recruiting Coordinator/Defensive Assistant Coach
  • Chris White – Running Backs and Special Teams
  • LeVar WoodsTight Ends
  • Chris DoyleStrength and Conditioning
  • Raimond Braithwaite – Strength and Conditioning Assistant Coach
  • Justin Lima – Strength and Conditioning Assistant Coach
  • Cody Myers – Strength and Conditioning Assistant Coach
  • Joel Welsh, Jr. – Strength and Conditioning Assistant Coach
  • Paul Federici – Director of Football Operations
  • Chic Ejiasi – Director of Player Development
  • Scott Southmayd – Director of Player Personnel
  • Max Allen – Director of New Media
  • Ben Hansen – Assistant Director of Football Operations
  • Kelvin Bell – Director of On-Campus Recuiting
  • Tyler Anderson – Defensive Graduate Assistant
  • Broderick Binns – Special Teams Graduate Assistant
  • A.J. Haase – Offensive Graduate Assistant
  • Ned Amendola, M.D. – Director, UI Sports Medicine Center
  • Doug West – Senior Athletic Trainer
  • Russ Haynes – Associate Director, Athletic Training Services
  • Bob Rahfeldt – Video Coordinator
  • Chris Ruth – Assistant Video Coordinator

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (S) Suspended
  • (I) Ineligible
  • Injured Injured
  • Redshirt Redshirt

Roster
Last update: 8/27/15

Rankings[edit]

Ranking movements
Legend: ██ Increase in ranking. ██ Decrease in ranking.
NR = Not ranked. RV = Received votes. ( ) = First place votes.
Week
Poll Pre 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Final 
AP NR NR RV RV RV 22 17 12 10 10 8 6 3 4 6 9 
Coaches NR NR RV RV RV 23 17 13 11 11 8 6 3 (1) 3 (1) 7 10 
CFP Not released 9 5 5 4 4 5 Not released

Game summaries[edit]

#2 (FCS) Illinois State[edit]

Illinois State at Iowa
1 234Total
#2 (FCS) Redbirds 0 0014 14
Hawkeyes 7 1077 31

[2]

Iowa State[edit]

Iowa at Iowa State
Cy-Hawk Trophy
1 234Total
Hawkeyes 3 7714 31
Cyclones 3 1400 17

It was an emotional week leading up to the game because former All-Big Ten Safety Tyler Sash and basketball legend Roy Marble died. The Hawkeyes honored Sash by wearing the number 9 (Sash's jersey number at Iowa) in place of the Tigerhawk on one side of their helmets.[3]

C.J. Beathard threw three touchdown passes to lead the Hawkeyes to victory.[4] He also added two long runs and was named co-Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week.[5]

Pittsburgh[edit]

Pittsburgh at Iowa
1 234Total
Panthers 0 7107 24
Hawkeyes 3 14010 27

The Hawkeyes never trailed in this physical matchup, and Marshall Koehn booted a 57-yard field goal as time expired to give Iowa the win.[6] His effort was good enough to earn Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week honors.[7]

North Texas[edit]

North Texas at Iowa
1 234Total
Mean Green 0 1330 16
Hawkeyes 14 211314 62

[8]

Wisconsin[edit]

Iowa at #19 Wisconsin
Heartland Trophy
1 234Total
Hawkeyes 0 1000 10
#19 Badgers 3 030 6

[9]

Following a season opening loss to #3 Alabama, the Badgers entered this game ranked #19 after three straight convincing wins (outscoring those opponents 114–3). Wisconsin kicked a field goal on the game's opening possession to take an early 3–0 lead. The Hawkeyes capitalized on two second quarter miscues to take a 10–3 advantage into the locker room. Wisconsin tacked on a field goal in the 3rd quarter, making it 10–6. Midway through the 4th quarter, the Hawkeyes recovered a costly Wisconsin fumble on a 2nd and goal play from the Iowa 1-yard line. The Badgers reached the Iowa 16 on their final possession, but a 4th down pass fell incomplete with 36 seconds remaining and the Hawkeyes ran out the clock, ending a classic defensive battle.[10] Cornerback Desmond King collected his second two-interception game of the season and was named co-Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week[11] and Jim Thorpe Defensive Player of the Week.[12]

Wisconsin was 71–9 in 80 games at Camp Randall Stadium dating back to the final game of the 2003 regular season and ending with this game. Incredibly, Iowa was 4–1 in those games with Wisconsin going 70–5 against all other opponents.

After this game, Wisconsin held a 44–43–2 edge in the rivalry.

Illinois[edit]

Illinois at #22 Iowa
Homecoming
1 234Total
Fighting Illini 7 067 20
#22 Hawkeyes 6 1076 29

[13]

Senior running back Jordan Canzeri carried the ball 43 times (school record) for 256 yards (third-best in school history) and a touchdown.[14][15] He also had a receiving touchdown, and earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors.[16]

Northwestern[edit]

#17 Iowa at #20 Northwestern
1 234Total
#17 Hawkeyes 3 131410 40
#20 Wildcats 0 1000 10

[17]

Despite entering the game very banged up, and losing RB Jordan Canzeri early in this one, Iowa dominated the Wildcats.[18] Sophomore Akrum Wadley became the second Iowa running back to go over 200 yards in Big Ten play (in 2015). He finished with 204 yards and a school record-tying 4 rushing touchdowns, and was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week.[19]

The 30-point Hawkeye victory spoiled Northwestern's Homecoming and the 20-year Reunion of the 1995 Big Ten Championship team.

Maryland[edit]

Maryland at #10 Iowa
1 234Total
Terrapins 0 0015 15
#10 Hawkeyes 7 14010 31

[20] [21]

Indiana[edit]

#9 Iowa at Indiana
1 234Total
#9 Hawkeyes 7 14014 35
Hoosiers 3 14010 27

[22] [23]

Minnesota[edit]

Minnesota at #5 Iowa
Floyd of Rosedale
1 234Total
Golden Gophers 7 7714 35
#5 Hawkeyes 7 17313 40

[24][25]

Minnesota returned to Kinnick Stadium for the annual Floyd of Rosedale game with a lot of momentum from last year, when they routed Iowa 51–14 in the Twin Cities. Minnesota, despite losing David Cobb to the NFL last year and going through a mid-season coaching transition, had a lot to prove as they entered the undefeated #5 Iowa's home stadium in an attempt to deliver the upset. Mitch Leidner, who had not lived up to expectations early in the season, was coming off a good run of games, and had two weeks earlier come within a 4th-down pass at the 1 to beating a hot Michigan team.

Minnesota hung on well to the Hawkeyes but were unable to stop the Iowa halfbacks. LeShun Daniels Jr. ran for nearly 200 yards, and CJ Beathard scored on a play action bootleg in the red zone, reminiscent of Iowa great Chuck Long's game-winning bootleg against Michigan State in 1985.

Iowa kept building on its lead all night, and LeShun Daniels Jr. broke through the box to run it in 51 yards in the final 3 minutes. With Minnesota down two scores, Shannon Brooks took the offense on a high-energy no-huddle drive through the air that took less than 1 minute to score. Minnesota's onside kick failed, and Iowa took the win, 40–35.

Purdue[edit]

Purdue at #5 Iowa
1 234Total
Boilermakers 0 1037 20
#5 Hawkeyes 14 6713 40

[26]

The Hawkeyes jumped ahead 20–0 early in the second quarter and, after Purdue closed to within 20–13, scored 20 of the game's final 27 points for the 40–20 triumph. The win on Senior Day secured Iowa’s first unbeaten record at Kinnick Stadium since the 2004 season (6–0), and matched the 7–0 mark at home from the 2003 season.[27][28]

Senior Jordan Lomax led the Hawkeyes with 13 tackles, broke up a pass and forced a fumble in earning Lott IMPACT Player of the Week honors.[29]

Nebraska[edit]

#4 Iowa at Nebraska
The Heroes Game
1 234Total
#4 Hawkeyes 0 14140 28
Cornhuskers 0 1073 20

[30] [31]

The Hawkeyes finished their first unbeaten regular season since the 1922 season, establishing a single-season school record with 12 wins.[32][33][34] Iowa intercepted four passes (Parker Hesse returned one for a touchdown to earn Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors[35]), and Jordan Canzeri ran for 140 yards and two touchdowns in the victory. With wins over Iowa State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Nebraska, Iowa recaptured all four rivalry trophies in 2015.

Big Ten Championship Game[edit]

#5 Michigan State vs. #4 Iowa
Big Ten Championship Game
1 234Total
#5 Spartans 3 067 16
#4 Hawkeyes 3 307 13

[36] [37] [38] [39]

Iowa turned the ball over twice in the first half – a fumble leading to the Spartans first points and an interception in the end zone – but led 6–3. Michigan State dominated the third quarter in time of possession and yardage, and tacked on two field goals to lead 9–6. Trailing entering the 4th quarter for the first time all season, the Hawkeyes responded in a big way with an 85-yard touchdown pass from C.J. Beathard to Tevaun Smith that gave Iowa a 13–9 lead with 14:49 remaining. After exchanging punts, Michigan State marched 82 yards in 22 plays and took 9:04 off the clock. The game-winning score came on a 1-yard touchdown run with 27 seconds left.[40] [41]

Rose Bowl[edit]

#6 Stanford vs. #5 Iowa
Rose Bowl
1 234Total
#6 Cardinal 21 1437 45
#5 Hawkeyes 0 0313 16

[42] [43] [44]

The Hawkeyes received a bid to the 2016 Rose Bowl after dropping in the College Football Playoff ranking to #5 in their loss to Michigan State, which came as a surprise to much of sports media who believed that Ohio State would jump the loser of the Big Ten Championship Game. Since the Rose Bowl traditionally gives a bid to the winner of the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences, and due to the new College Football Playoff system where the conference champion was likely to enter the playoff, the Rose Bowl committee had announced prior to the Big Ten Championship Game that they would give a bid to the second highest-ranked Big Ten team if a Big Ten team entered the playoff, since it was clear that the winner of the Big Ten Championship Game would finish in the Top 4 ranking.

#5 Iowa was named the home team and #6 Stanford was named the away team. Sports analysts had anticipated the contest to be exciting, due mainly to the matchup between Iowa's strong run defense and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, the Heisman Trophy runner-up. Iowa's run defense finished the season ranked 14th, allowing only 121 yards per game and having defeated historically rushing teams like Wisconsin, Indiana, and Nebraska.[45] Contrarily, Christian McCaffrey led the FBS in the 2015 season with 3,864 all-purpose yards, which came from punt/kick returns, runs from scrimmage, and passes out of the backfield.[46]

Christian McCaffrey caught a short pass and turned it into a 75-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. The Hawkeyes were unable to stop him, as he averaged 9.6 YPC (172 yards on 18 carries), returned a punt for a touchdown, and converted many third downs. Though he did not rush for any touchdowns from scrimmage, he proved to be the primary playmaker for Stanford, catching a third (4) of Kevin Hogan's passes. McCaffrey was such an offensive threat that Hogan was able to make large gains with the read option, including a wide-open first-quarter option TD run.

Iowa was unable to get their run game going, rushing as a team for 1.3 YPC (48 yards on 38 carries). The longest Iowa runs came from LeShun Daniels, Jr. and Akrum Wadley (14 and 12 yards, respectively),[47] as well as a 14-yard scramble by Beathard. Iowa's inability to establish a run game closed up Iowa's potential for play-action passing, which has been Beathard's bread and butter all season. Jordan Canzeri, Iowa's power halfback, was unable to churn significant yardage, and 3rd-team halfback Akrum Wadley (who had a 200-yard game at Northwestern, when Daniels and Canzeri were both injured) split ballcarrying duties with Daniels in the second half. Iowa's halfbacks, their biggest threat all season, were overall unable to garner any significant yardage on the ground; Derek Mitchell, Jr., Iowa's 4th-team halfback, saw significant action lining up in the backfield and caught 4 passes for 41 yards, and Wadley also contributed to the pass game by catching 3 for 60.[47]

Stanford shut Iowa out in the first half 35–0, with Stanford's 35 points the most scored in the first half of a Rose Bowl in its entire 102-year history.[48] Stanford's 21-0 first-quarter lead was also the most first-quarter points scored by one team in Rose Bowl history.[48] Christian McCaffrey gained a total of 368 all-purpose yards, setting another Rose Bowl record.[48]

By the second half, Stanford's explosiveness slowed down, scoring just 10 second-half points versus their 35 first-half points. Iowa did not score until the 3rd quarter when placekicker Marshall Koehn kicked a field goal after converting on 4th down earlier in the drive; Beathard threw 2 touchdowns in the 4th quarter, with Koehn missing one of the two PATs.

Iowa had a slight advantage in time of possession, possessing the ball for almost 33 minutes, though they were simply unable to make meaning out of their possessions. Iowa also outgained Stanford through the air by a slim margin, with 239 yards to Stanford's 223.[49]

Iowa remained a symbol of old-school Big Ten power football, with most of their completed passes thrown to tight ends and halfbacks. Matt Vandeberg caught a touchdown pass, but star wideout Tevaun Smith only recorded 2 short receptions.

Postseason Awards[edit]

Players in the 2016 NFL Draft[edit]

Player Position Round Pick NFL Club Ref
Austin Blythe Center 7 248 Indianapolis Colts [53]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Iowa Football Archive: 2015 Schedule". University of Iowa Department of Athletics. Retrieved August 24, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Iowa pounds Illinois State 31-14". ESPN. September 5, 2015. Retrieved September 5, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Iowa to honor former Hawkeye Tyler Sash with helmet decal vs. Iowa State". CBS Sports. September 10, 2015. Retrieved October 25, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Beathard leads Iowa past Iowa State 31-17". ESPN. September 12, 2015. Retrieved September 17, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Terrell Newby, five others earn Week 2 Big Ten football honors". Big Ten Conference. September 14, 2015. Retrieved October 25, 2015. 
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