Football in Iowa On Pace to be Worst in a Decade
Six weeks into the 2022 college football season, all three of Iowa's state schools are not where they want to be -- at least in terms of record. Currently, Northern Iowa is 2-4, and Iowa and Iowa State are both 3-3.
With the high standard that Iowans put on their football teams, it's been a rough fall for a lot of us.
Considering the disappointing start is universal for all three programs, it begs the question -- when was the last time all of them posted a losing record in one season? It's been a while, a decade to be exact.
In 2012, the Panthers posted a mediocre 5-6 record, the Hawkeyes went 4-8, and the Cyclones were the only team to post a .500 record in the regular season before losing in the Liberty Bowl to Tulsa, 31-17. That made their final record on the year 6-7.
So, let's turn back the clocks and look at those teams, shall we?
In Cedar Falls, the purple and gold had a brutal schedule to start the season. Not only did UNI play Wisconsin in week one (narrowly losing 26-21), but two weeks later they had to face their second FBS and Big Ten Opponent in the Iowa Hawkeyes, falling 27-16. With a 59-0 win over Division II Central State between those contests, it wasn't all bad for the Panthers.
However, things didn't get much better after the Iowa loss. UNI played No. 3 Youngstown State (42-35) followed by No. 1 North Dakota State (33-21), losing both games. Another loss the next week to Southern Illinois, 34-31, put the Panthers at 1-5 to start the season.
UNI went 4-1 to finish the season, including a win over No. 20 South Dakota State, but coming back after such a tough start would have been difficult.
Sawyer Kollmorgen was the starting quarterback for the Panthers that season. He completed 185 passes for 2,460 yards and 21 touchdowns with just eight interceptions. This was David Johnson's red-shirt sophomore year, where he ran the ball 178 yards for 1,021 yards and 13 touchdowns, being named to the Second-Team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference.
For Iowa, the season was essentially the inverse of what UNI went through.
The Hawks started the season 4-2 with their lone losses coming at the hands of Iowa State (9-6) and Central Michigan (32-31), though a Big Ten school should lose to a MAC program, the Hawkeyes did defeat Minnesota (31-13) and Michigan State (19-16) in double overtime.
After the victory over the Spartans, everything went downhill for Kirk Ferentz and company. Over the next six games, Iowa lost by an average of 11. points, including blowout losses at the hands of Penn State (38-14) and Michigan (42-17).
James Vandenberg led the offense for Iowa that season, completing 223 passes for 2,249 yards and seven touchdowns to eight interceptions. The defense had four studs in Anthony Hitches, James Morris, Micah Hyde, and Christian Kirksey. Hitchens led the team in tackles with 124 and Morris led in tackles for loss with nine.
With an oddly similar start (and despite a victory over) Iowa, the Cyclones had a solid start in 2012, too. Their lone losses over the first six games came against Texas Tech (24-13) and No. 6 Kansas State (27-21). One of their four wins was also over No. 15 TCU (37-23) in Fort Worth, Texas.
Including the Kansas State loss, ISU went 2-5 between October 13 and their bowl game loss to Tulsa. The funny part about the end of that season -- the Cyclones started their season with a 38-23 victory over Tulsa on September 1 before that Liberty Bowl loss on December 31.
The GOAT, Steele Jantz led the Iowa State offense that season, completing 167 passes for 1,603 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. A.J. Klein led ISU in tackles with 117 that season, adding 3.5 TFL, a sack, and an 87-yard pick-six.