Purdue Boilermakers players celebrate during a NCAA Big Ten Conference football game Iowa, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa.

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Georgia stays No. 1, Purdue enters Top 25 after 14 years

Georgia stayed atop the Associated Press Top 25 poll and No. 2 Iowa plummeted out of the Top 10 in the latest poll, released Sunday.

Georgia (7-0) received all 63 first-place votes following its 30-13 win over No. 11 Kentucky. Iowa, with its surprising 24-7 loss to Purdue, fell nine places to No. 11 in a topsy-turvy week that saw five teams tumble out of the Top 25.

Cincinnati (6-0) moved to No. 2 for the first time in program history, followed by Oklahoma (7-0), Alabama (6-1) and Ohio State (5-1).

Rounding out the Top 10 were Michigan (6-0), Penn State (5-1), Oklahoma State (6-0), Michigan State (7-0) and Oregon (5-1).

Besides Iowa and Kentucky, which slipped to No. 15, five other teams that entered the weekend ranked also lost: Arkansas, Arizona State, BYU, Florida and Texas.

All five fell out of the top 25. Just three weeks ago, Arkansas and Florida were in the top 10, and BYU was there two weeks ago.

Replacing them were No. 19 Auburn (5-2), No. 20 Baylor (6-1), No. 23 Pitt (5-1), No 24 UTSA (7-0) and No. 25 Purdue (4-2).

This marks UTSA’s first-ever appearance in the poll. Purdue last showed up on the list on Sept. 30, 2007, the longest stretch without a Top 25 appearance among Power Five teams. That distinction now belongs to Kansas, which was last ranked in 2009.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2021; College Park, Maryland, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes linebacker Jack Campbell (31) warms up before the game against the Maryland Terrapins at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Grade-A ‘D’ could settle fight between No. 3 Iowa, No. 4 Penn State

Points could be at a premium Saturday when No. 3 Iowa hosts No. 4 Penn State in one of the biggest regular-season games of the college football season.

This weekend’s meeting in Iowa City will feature two of the top three scoring defenses in the country. The Hawkeyes are allowing 11.6 points per game, second-best in the nation, while the Nittany Lions are third at 12.0.

Additionally, both teams average at least 30 points per game offensively, and each is coming off a resounding victory. So both squads are riding quite a bit of momentum heading into this Big Ten showdown.

“If we keep winning, it’s going to be more and more hype and more and more buzz,” Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras said. “But it’s all about winning.”

The coaches are trying to downplay their team’s success through five games.

“When it’s all said and done, we’re a 5-0 team that still has a lot of work to do,” Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz said after last week’s 51-14 rout of Maryland. “I think our guys understand that. They’ve also seen, though, that if we work hard, maybe some good things can happen.”

“There was a lot of things we’ve got to correct from this game,” noted Penn State coach James Franklin after his team shut out Indiana, 24-0, last Saturday. “And we got a tremendous challenge on the road.”

Dating back to last season, the Hawkeyes have won 11 games in a row and the Nittany Lions enter with a nine-game winning streak.

Defense is one of the primary reasons for recent success.

Iowa has forced 16 turnovers in five games (including an FBS-best 12 interceptions) and owns a plus-12 turnover margin. Penn State, meanwhile, has yielded only five touchdowns on their opponents’ 15 trips into the red zone.

Petras has seven touchdown passes and only one interception. He threw for a season-high 259 yards in the win over Maryland, accounting for five touchdowns, including two on the ground.

Penn State’s Sean Clifford has 11 touchdowns and three interceptions and has thrown seven TDs over the last two games. Naturally, it helps to have talented wideout Jahan Dotson, who has scored at least one touchdown in every game and has a Big Ten-best 35 catches for 446 yards on the year.

“(Clifford) has full trust in me now, and I have full trust in him,” Dotson said. “We’re out there having fun. It’s literally what we do every single day.”

This is the sixth time Iowa and Penn State have met as ranked opponents and the third time in the last four seasons. It is the sixth top-five matchup in Iowa history and the 11th for Penn State.

The Hawkeyes have won five straight games against ranked opponents, including triumphs over Indiana and Iowa State this season. The only team with a longer active winning streak against ranked foes is Alabama (nine).

The Nittany Lions lead the all-time series 17-13. They had a six-game winning streak against the Hawkeyes snapped last season, when Iowa came into Happy Valley and posted a 41-21 victory.

–Field Level Media

Georgia fans root on their team during the first half of an NCAA college football game between Arkansas and Georgia in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021.

News Joshua L Jones

Top 25: Alabama, Georgia still 1-2; Clemson falls out

Four teams from the Big Ten and two standout Group of Five programs sit among the Top 10 teams in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll, released Sunday.

Clemson (3-2), the No. 25 team last week, fell out of the poll for the first time since 2014 after an uninspired win over Boston College.

Alabama and Georgia remained 1-2 in the poll for the fifth straight week, with the Crimson Tide capturing 53 of 62 first-place votes. Both teams are 5-0.

Iowa, which was No. 5 last week, catapulted into the No. 3 spot, leapfrogging No. 4 Penn State after pounding Maryland 51-14 on Saturday. The Hawkeyes and Nittany Lions, both 5-0, will meet next Saturday in Iowa City.

Moving into the Top 5 was Cincinnati (4-0). The Bearcats, ranked No. 7 last week, rose two places after a 24-13 win over then- No. 9 Notre Dame

The bottom half of the top 10 was jumbled by the re-entry of Ohio State, which had fallen to No. 11, and the entry of Michigan and BYU for the first time this season.

No. 6 Oklahoma (5-0) stayed put and was followed by the No. 7 Buckeyes (4-1), Oregon, the Wolverines (5-0) and BYU (5-0).

Oregon (4-1) fell from No. 3 to 8 following its overtime loss to Stanford, while Michigan moved up five places and BYU three.

Falling out of the Top 10 were Arkansas (4-1), which tumbled five spots to No. 13 following a 37-0 loss to Georgia; Notre Dame (4-1), which slipped to No. 14; and No. 20 Florida (3-2), which plunged 10 spots after a 20-13 loss to Kentucky (5-0).

The big win for Kentucky (5-0) moved the Wildcats into the Top 25, occupying the No. 16 spot.

Ole Miss (3-1), which entered play Saturday ranked No. 12, dropped to No. 17 after a 42-21 loss to Alabama.

Entering the Top 25 were No. 21 Texas (4-1), No. 22 Arizona State (4-1), No. 24 SMU (5-0) and No. 25 San Diego State (4-0). The Aztecs are 4-0 for just the second time in 40 years (2017).

Also falling out of the Top 25 were Texas A&M, Baylor, Fresno State and UCLA.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2021; College Park, Maryland, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes quarterback Spencer Petras (7) warms up before the game against the Maryland Terrapins at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

No. 5 Iowa scores 31 in second quarter, flattens Maryland

The No. 5 Iowa Hawkeyes scored 31 points in the second quarter and forced seven total turnovers to blow out previously undefeated Maryland 51-14 on Friday night in College Park, Md.

Spencer Petras went 21-for-30 passing for 259 yards and three touchdowns and added a pair of 1-yard touchdowns on quarterback sneaks for Iowa (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten).

Taulia Tagovailoa, who entered the night as the Big Ten’s leading passer in both yards and accuracy, mustered just 157 yards and threw five interceptions against two touchdowns for Maryland (4-1, 1-1).

The Terrapins led 7-3 after one quarter thanks to an eight-play scoring drive, powered by two deep completions over the middle to Dontay Demus Jr. Tagovailoa rolled out to hit tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo for a 9-yard touchdown.

Iowa responded with a long drive that ended on the first play of the second quarter, Petras’ first rushing touchdown. But the game pivoted on the ensuing kick return, when Demus injured his right knee fighting through a tackle and lost a fumble in the process.

With the short field, Iowa scored on an 8-yard reception by Arland Bruce IV to make it 17-7. Tagovailoa’s very next pass was batted in the air by linebacker Jack Campbell and intercepted by Jack Koerner; Koerner fumbled on the return but Iowa retained possession. Soon Petras pushed across his second touchdown run.

Fullback Monte Pottebaum got in on the action on Iowa’s next drive, scoring from 2 yards out. Iowa was able to add a field goal in the final minute for a 34-7 lead at intermission.

The Hawkeyes piled on in the second half. Running back Tyler Goodson left defenders in the dust on a 67-yard touchdown reception. Goodson also led Iowa in rushing on the night with 66 yards.

The Terrapins pieced together another scoring drive that ended in a 7-yard Rakim Jarrett touchdown to make it 44-14. But the Hawkeyes struck right back, with Tyrone Tracy Jr. making a 7-yard TD catch.

With less than four minutes remaining, Iowa’s Quinn Schulte intercepted Maryland backup quarterback Reece Udinski to polish things off.

The Hawkeyes extended their winning streak to 11 games, dating to last year.

–Field Level Media

Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz celebrates with senior defensive back Matt Hankins after Hankins intercepted a pass from Iowa State senior quarterback Brock Purdy in the second quarter at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.

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No. 5 Iowa keeping focus tight with Kent State up next

Iowa aims for a ninth consecutive victory when the No. 5 Hawkeyes host Kent State on Saturday.

Propelled up the Top 25 rankings by another dominant showing at Iowa State last week, the Hawkeyes are flexing their muscles on defense and showing signs of a strong running game.

Iowa (2-0) opened last season with two consecutive losses, then won its final six games. The Hawkeyes have looked even more determined in 2021, following a 34-6 rout of then-No. 17 Indiana on Sept. 4 with last weekend’s 27-17 road win over then-No. 9 Iowa State.

“The best we could be is 2-0,” said quarterback Spencer Petras, who has thrown for 1,339 yards with nine touchdowns and two interceptions over the last eight games, according to hawkeyesports.com. “I’m proud of this team so far.”

Though Petras and the Hawkeyes’ offense have totaled just 476 yards, it’s been serviceable through two games. However, Iowa’s defense has been the talk of the program’s early-season success. The Hawkeyes have yielded just 164 rushing yards, forced seven turnovers (six interceptions) and scored three defensive touchdowns.

One of those scores came on Jack Campbell’s 6-yard return of a fumble. The junior linebacker has posted 14 tackles and a half sack in 2021.

“He’s played a lot of good football for us,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “He’s got a tremendous attitude and work ethic. He’s got good physical skill, too. We’re really happy for him.”

Iowa has allowed an average of 13.3 points and posted an average victory margin of 21.5 points during its eight-game overall winning streak. The Hawkeyes will also aim to push their nonconference winning streak to 14 games.

This will be Iowa’s first meeting with Kent State since a 39-7 victory in September 2004. The Hawkeyes have won five straight contests against teams from the Mid-American Conference dating to a 30-27 loss versus Northern Illinois in August 2013.

Kent State (1-1) will face its second top-10 opponent in 2021 after losing 41-10 at then-No. 6 Texas A&M to open the season. The Golden Flashes, though, bounced back in a big way with last weekend’s 60-10 win over FCS-foe VMI.

Kent State has intercepted four passes in each of its first two games, and its eight total turnovers are second in the nation to Boise State (11).

“The thing that keeps standing out to me is the way we keep turning over offenses,” Kent State coach Sean Lewis said.

“(The defense) is creating an identity and a mindset that when the ball’s in the air, it’s ours. There’s an opportunity to go get it – and they’re doing that.”

Amid his fifth season at Kent, quarterback Dustin Crum has thrown for 4,483 yards with 36 touchdowns and just eight interceptions over 39 career games. However, he was just 12-of-26 for 89 yards with two interceptions against Texas A&M.

In Crum’s last three games against ranked opponents, he’s thrown for 315 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Since the start of the 2002 season, Kent State has been outscored by an average margin of 41.1 points while going 0-10 against top-10 teams.

–Field Level Media

Sep 11, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Oregon Ducks running back CJ Verdell (7) runs during the third quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon, Iowa jump into top 5 in AP poll

The Oregon Ducks and Iowa Hawkeyes shot up into the top five of the Associated Press Top 25 poll Sunday after securing big road wins against highly ranked opponents.

Oregon climbed eight spots to No. 4 after hitting the road to defeat then-No. 3 Ohio State 35-28 on Saturday. Iowa is right behind the Ducks, jumping five spots to No. 5 after taking down in-state rival Iowa State, formerly ranked ninth, 27-17.

No. 1 Alabama (60 first-place votes) and No. 2 Georgia (three votes) held steady and Oklahoma took over the No. 3 spot.

Clemson, Texas A&M, Cincinnati, Ohio State and Penn State rounded out the top 10.

Texas A&M dropped two spots after eking out a 10-7 victory over Colorado following an injury to Aggies starting quarterback Haynes King. The Buckeyes dropped six spots after their surprise loss.

Arkansas entered the rankings for the first time since 2016 after routing visiting Texas 40-21. The Razorbacks debuted at No. 20, joining No. 23 BYU and No. 25 Michigan as the three teams to enter the poll this week.

The Longhorns, formerly No. 15, plummeted out of the rankings following that upset loss, as did then-No. 14 Southern California after losing to rival Stanford. Utah also bowed out after BYU prevailed in their rivalry game, 26-17.

Three games next Saturday will pit two ranked teams against one another. Alabama will visit No. 11 Florida in the SEC opener for both teams. Penn State will host No. 22 Auburn with ESPN’s “College GameDay” in town. No. 19 Arizona State will travel to face BYU.

The complete top 25:
1. Alabama
2. Georgia
3. Oklahoma
4. Oregon
5. Iowa
6. Clemson
7. Texas A&M
8. Cincinnati
9. Ohio State
10. Penn State
11. Florida
12. Notre Dame
13. UCLA
14. Iowa State
15. Virginia Tech
16. Coastal Carolina
17. Ole Miss
18. Wisconsin
19. Arizona State
20. Arkansas
21. North Carolina
22. Auburn
23. BYU
24. Miami (FL)
25. Michigan

–Field Level Media

Iowa State's quarterback Brock Purdy runs with the ball around Iowa's defensive back Kaevon Merriweather during the first quarter in the Cy-Hawk series at Jack Trice Stadium Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Ames, Iowa.

No. 10 Iowa keeps Cy-Hawk Trophy, defeating No. 9 Iowa State

No. 10 Iowa forced four turnovers and downed No. 9 Iowa State 27-17 Saturday in Ames, Iowa, to retain the Cy-Hawk Trophy.

Despite gaining only 173 yards of total offense, Iowa (2-0, 1-0 Big Ten) defeated a ranked opponent for the second straight week to open its season. Spencer Petras completed 11 of 21 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown, and Tyler Goodson rushed for 55 yards and a touchdown.

Breece Hall finished with 69 rushing yards and one touchdown for Iowa State (1-1). Senior quarterback Brock Purdy was benched after going 13-for-27 for 138 yards and three interceptions, two of them to Hawkeyes defensive back Matt Hankins.

It was the first time in the Cy-Hawk rivalry that both teams were nationally ranked for the game. Iowa extended its series winning streak to six.

The Cyclones struck first with a 23-yard Connor Assalley field goal in the final minute of the first quarter. But their next possession ended in Purdy’s first pick of the day, snagged by Hankins on a leaping play at midfield.

That set up a short scoring drive for Iowa, capped off by Goodson’s 4-yard touchdown run.

The Hawkeyes went 71 yards on their next offensive drive, and Petras found receiver Charlie Jones over the top for a 26-yard score to make it 14-3 with 1:01 left in the half.

Iowa State didn’t lie down before halftime. Purdy strung together several quick completions and hit Darren Wilson Jr., who sprinted right for a 49-yard gain and a near-touchdown. Hall punched it in from four yards out on the next play for a 14-10 halftime deficit.

At the start of a Cyclones drive late in the third, Iowa linebacker Jestin Jacobs stripped the ball out of Hall’s grasp and Jack Campbell picked it up for a 6-yard return touchdown.

The scoop and score broke the game open. Purdy threw picks on his next two drives and was replaced in the fourth quarter by Hunter Dekkers. The redshirt freshman completed a 13-yard touchdown pass to Tarique Milton with 3:27 left the game, but the Cyclones couldn’t recover an onside kick to sustain their chances of a comeback.

Iowa kicker Caleb Shudak converted two field goals in the second half, one from 51 yards.

–Field Level Media

Dec 5, 2020; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers head coach Eliah Drinkwitz calls a timeout during the second half against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Wednesday’s Music City Bowl ‘highly unlikely’

This week’s Music City Bowl between Missouri and Iowa is “highly unlikely” due to an uptick in COVID-19 numbers with the Tigers, The Athletic reported Sunday.

The Tigers (5-5) are scheduled to face the No. 15 Hawkeyes (6-2) on Wednesday afternoon in Nashville, Tenn.

Missouri lost its final two games of the regular season, including a 51-32 decision at Mississippi State on Dec. 19.

Iowa won its last six games after opening the Big Ten campaign with losses to Purdue and Northwestern.

–Field Level Media

Nov 27, 2020; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz runs off the field after the game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa coach Ferentz tests positive for COVID-19

Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz tested positive for COVID-19.

The university announced Friday that the 65-year-old is asymptomatic and will work from home until Dec. 27. The team’s final regular-season game, scheduled for Saturday against Michigan, was canceled because of an outbreak among the Wolverines.

The No. 16 Hawkeyes (6-2) intend to play in a bowl game and will learn their destination on Sunday.

“We have been fortunate this season to have played eight games and to have very few positive cases,” Ferentz said in a statement. “When the team returns to practice on Tuesday, I will participate via zoom and our collective focus will be on preparing for the bowl game.”

Ferentz is the longest-tenured coach in the FBS. He is in his 22nd season as head coach of the Hawkeyes and 31st with the university. He has a career record of 168-106, including a 9-8 mark in bowl games.

The Hawkeyes have finished under .500 just four times since Ferentz took over the program in 1999.

–Field Level Media