College football spotlight: Iowa shows a little bit of power

C.J. Beathard

Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard yell at the line of scrimmage during the first half of a game against Wisconsin on Oct. 3.

(Mike McGinnis / Getty Images)

Only three teams from Power Five conferences entered Saturday with undefeated records yet not ranked in the Associated Press top-25 media poll — Iowa, Indiana and Kansas State.

That will change today, when a new ranking is announced.

Iowa, 5-0 for the first time since 2009, when the Hawkeyes won the Orange Bowl, will be in after defeating No. 19 Wisconsin. And, funny thing is, Indiana and even Kansas State might now get more respect after losing efforts.

Indiana (4-1) took top-ranked Ohio State down to the wire before failing on a fourth-down pass from the Buckeyes’ 10-yard line in the final minute and losing, 34-27. Kansas State (3-1) fell to No. 20 Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla., on a field goal with 32 seconds left.


Stun and run

A big reason Iowa is unbeaten is how it handles the run.

The Hawkeyes give up an average of only 84.4 yards rushing per game and are the only major college team in the nation that has not allowed a rushing touchdown.

Meantime, Iowa has established its own punishing run game with Jordan Canzeri, who had 125 yards in 26 carries in the Hawkeyes’ 10-6 win over Wisconsin.


Field presence

There wasn’t much experience behind center, but there was a lot of it on the sidelines when South Carolina played Missouri.

Lorenzo Nunez made his second start for the Gamecocks, who started three quarterbacks in their first four games. The Tigers, starting a freshman quarterback for the first time in 20 years, went with Drew Lock to replace Maty Mauk, who was suspended last week for a violation of team rules.

In the coaching boxes were guys who have been around awhile.

Steve Spurrier of South Carolina and Gary Pinkel of Missouri are the only active major college football coaches who hold career victory records at two schools.

Spurrier has won 86 games at South Carolina after winning 142 at Florida. Pinkel has won 117 at Missouri after winning 73 at Toledo.

Pinkel won this one, 24-10, as Lock completed 21 of 28 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns. Nunez ran for 60 yards and passed for 172 yards and a touchdown, but had three passes intercepted.

Burned by the spotlight


Television exposure is not always a good thing.

At Stanford on Saturday, for the first time in six years, Arizona’s preparation for a game did not include a Ka Mate haka dance. That’s because last week, before the Wildcats played a prime-time game against UCLA, Arizona’s version of the pregame Maori ancestral war dance was highlighted on ABC’s broadcast — and a clip of it went viral 6,800 miles away, in New Zealand.

Soon, a petition on suggesting the display was “disrespectful” had gathered nearly 2,000 signatures and the school announced its football team would no longer perform the haka, which was famously performed by New Zealand’s All Blacks rugby and basketball teams.

Arizona players had performed the haka just before kickoff since 2009, a tradition formed by some of the team’s Polynesian players as a way to share their culture and prepare for a battle.

In the past, Coach Rich Rodriguez had encouraged fans sitting in the Arizona student section to learn the dance and perform it along with the team. Before last season, a few Arizona players were even featured in a “How to Haka” video.

That was predictable

What happens when the most impressive back of the college season faces a defense that struggles to stop the run?

This: Louisiana State’s Leonard Fournette ran for 235 yards and three touchdowns against Eastern Michigan, which came into the game with the Mid-American Conference’s worst rushing defense.


Fournette, a front-running candidate for the Heisman Trophy, has rushed for 866 yards and 11 touchdowns in four games, and would have a lot more were LSU a little more disciplined. Penalties have wiped out several long Fournette runs, including an 87-yard would-have-been touchdown against Syracuse.

Run down

Burned by Fournette earlier in the season, Auburn faced another top running back in San Jose State’s Tyler Ervin.

And had at least a little better luck.

The Tigers won the game, 35-21, though Ervin ran for 160 yards and a touchdown in 27 carries.

Ervin, a Colton High product, came into the game with 641 yards and nine touchdowns — 10 more yards and one more touchdown than Fournette, the LSU star who had 228 yards and three touchdowns in 19 carries against Auburn on Sept. 19.

Bug off

Get your flu shots, people. The Florida Gators have, though a little late.

Coach Jim McElwain said about a dozen of his players were stricken by flu as Florida prepared for its game against Mississippi.

Among the ill players was quarterback Will Grier, who might want to get sick more often. He had a huge game, completing 24 of 29 passes for 271 yards and four touchdowns, as the Gators routed the No. 3 Rebels, 38-10.

Pick your poison

Something had to give.

North Carolina State quarterback Jacoby Brissett entered Saturday having thrown 189 consecutive passes without an interception, and Louisville had the nation’s longest streak of games with an interception, 17.

Louisville’s streak ended, Brissett’s lives. He completed 16 of 28 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions, but Louisville won the game, 20-13.

Follow Mike Hiserman on Twitter @MikeHiserman