Originally found on CBS Sports:
Iowa has long been known as a program focused on winning with elite defense and special teams under tenured coach Kirk Ferentz. The results have been consistent, if nothing else: In 24 seasons under Ferentz, the Hawkeyes have won an average of nearly eight games per year — oftentimes with middling offensive output.
Offensive woes reached a level through eight games in 2023 that prompted Iowa to set the wheels in motion for a change on that side of the ball. The school announced Monday that offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz, son of longtime Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, will not return to the Hawkeyes coaching staff in 2024.
The announcement comes after the younger Ferentz signed a revised one-year contract in February mandating that the Hawkeyes score at least 25 points per game (including a bowl game) — by any means, including defense and special teams — and win seven games (also potentially including a bowl win) in 2023 in order for his contract to renew in 2024.
The revised contract came after Iowa was particularly abysmal on offense during the 2022 season, finishing 123rd nationally while averaging 17.7 points and 156.7 yards passing per game. Even worse, Iowa finished 130th — out of 131 FBS teams — in total offense at 256.1 yards per game.
Iowa was running well enough towards this goal through the first three weeks of the 2023 season, sitting 3.08% ahead of pace after a rousing 41-point scoring affair against Western Michigan. And then disaster struck in Week 4 when it visited Penn State. Not only did the Hawkeyes fall off pace, they failed to score a single point against the Nittany Lions.
A month later, Iowa is painfully off pace sitting nearly 14% behind the average it should be scoring through eight weeks. Iowa has only scored 25+ points once in the last five weeks (26 vs. Michigan State), and it’s only projected to score 25+ points three mores times through the end of the season.
Against Minnesota in Week 8, Iowa scored a paltry 10 points in a game that began with a projected total of 30.5 points, among the lowest in modern college football history. Not only that, the Hawkeyes were completely shut out in the second half while gaining just 12 yards. Yes, Iowa gained just 12 yards (-8 rushing, 20 passing) in the final 30 game minutes, falling to the Golden Gophers at home for the first time this century with Minny’s last such win coming in 1999.
For Iowa to reach its 325-point goal, it will need to score 33.8 points per game, including a bowl appearance. While that won’t matter anymore in terms of Brian Ferentz returning to the Hawkeyes staff in 2024, CBS Sports will continue to track Iowa’s points per game, calculating whether the Hawkeyes are on track to reach the threshold that Ferentz was previously forced to meet to even have an opportunity to continue as offensive coordinator. Let’s break it down in greater detail.
Projected points via SportsLine | Goal = 325 points (25 per game)
OpponentPoints scoredProj. points Weekly goalSeason goalSeason pace
21Bowl game25*Total156274 (adj.)—-86.47%
* Placeholder projection for Iowa’s bowl game given the opponent is unknown.