3-point stance: Iowa wins when careful

October, 23, 2013
10/23/13
5:30
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1. Iowa has played seven games and lost four fumbles, one more than the Hawkeyes lost all of last season. In fact, the Hawkeyes are only plus-one in turnover margin. A trademark of Kirk Ferentz’s teams is that they take care of the ball. Iowa hasn’t finished with a negative turnover margin since 2006. “It’s been read and reported by everybody,” Ferentz said at his press conference Tuesday. “When we're ahead of the turnover takeover deal, we're in the win column.”

2. No. 11 Auburn is 6-1 because first-year head coach Gus Malzahn is coaching a roster recruited to play in his offense (he served as the Tigers’ offensive coordinator from 2009-11). He has round pegs for his round holes. Then there’s Southern Missisippi, which went 0-12 last season and fired first-year head coach Ellis Johnson. The Golden Eagles hired Todd Monken from Oklahoma State, which is where Southern Miss found the coach before Johnson, Larry Fedora. Run the same offense, right? Monken’s Eagles are 0-6 and rank toward the bottom of the country in most offensive categories.

3. The UCLA offensive line has suffered three severe injuries in the last two weeks, and the constant substitutions might explain the three false starts against Stanford. Then again, maybe not. The Bruins rank fifth in penalty yards. They average 10 penalties for 77.33 yards per game. Even allowing for the Pac-12’s whistle-happy officials -- three of the top five most-penalized teams play in the Pac-12 -- there’s a trend. UCLA finished dead last in the FBS last year. It is a trademark of second-year coach Jim Mora that he would probably like to do without.

Ivan Maisel | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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