This might be the most amazing thing about the first half of Iowa’s football season: In three of the past four games, the opposing team has returned an interception for a touchdown and the Hawkeyes have somehow managed to win all three of those games.
A pick six is almost always a recipe for defeat. When the opposing defense not only forces a turnover, but is able to turn it into immediate points, it’s a very, very difficult thing for a team to overcome, both physically and emotionally. It’s a testament to the resiliency of this Iowa team that it has overcome those type of setbacks.
In the first 10 years of the Kirk Ferentz era at Iowa, a quarterback threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown only nine times (five of those by Drew Tate). Iowa went 3-6 in those games. The Hawkeyes were 4-11 in games in which the opposing team scored any kind of defensive or special teams touchdown, whether it be via interception, fumble, kick return, blocked punt, etc.
For the Hawkeyes to go 3-0 in such games this season is pretty astounding.
By the way, the only other quarterbacks besides Tate and Ricky Stanzi to throw a pick six in the Ferentz era are Jon Beutjer, Nathan Chandler, Kyle McCann and Scott Mullen. Each of them had just one. That’s right, Jake Christensen never did it. Not even once.
A list of the defensive TDs scored by Iowa opponents in the Ferentz years:
2009: Arizona, Terevin Wade interception (W); Arkansas State, DeMario Davis interception (W); Michigan, Donavan Warren interception (W)
2008: Illinois, Dere Hicks fumble (L)
2005: Iowa State, LaMarcus Hicks interception (L); Minnesota, John Shevlin interception (W); Florida, V.Brown interception and T.McCollum blocked punt (L)
2004: Michigan, Grant Mason interception (L); Kent State, J.Williams interception (W)
2003: Ohio State, Donte Whitner blocked punt and Michael Jenkins punt return (L); Penn State, Y.Yisrael interception (W)
2001: Penn State, L.Johnson blocked punt (W); Purdue, Woodyard interception (L); Michigan State, Haywood kickoff return (L); Michigan, Manning blocked punt (L)
2000: Nebraska, Watchorn interception (L); Illinois, Long interception (L)
1999: Michigan State, Henry punt return (L)