Iowa is coming off its best game of the season running the ball. The Hawkeyes offensive line plowed the way for two 150-yard rushers in a 49-point effort against Purdue.
The Hawkeyes made it look easy. Long run after long run, they looked unstoppable up front. But have they been unstoppable all season?
Believe it or not, Pro Football Focus ranked Iowa’s offensive line No. 1 in all of college football.
Yes, in all of college football.
Why? PFF grades every player on every play, and against the competition they played against, Iowa’s offensive line has been successful blocking in both the ground game and passing game.
Here was the justification for PFF’s No. 1 ranking:
The Hawkeyes line is the nation’s best-performing overall offensive line when you balance pass- and run-blocking measured against the quality of competition Iowa has played. The Hawkeyes utilize NFL zone-blocking techniques and schemes with more detail than probably any other offensive line in college football.
PFF added that Sean Welsh is their No. 17 highest-graded guard and their No. 23 highest-graded tackle Ike Boettger.
That might come as a bit of surprise given the injuries Iowa’s had up front and the inconsistency of the offense. And Iowa ranks No. 92 among FBS teams in sacks allowed. Perhaps that speaks more to C.J. Beathard’s limited mobility.
The Hawkeyes also only rank No. 59 in rushing offense. Perhaps the offensive line play isn’t holding Iowa back and the offensive struggles could be even worse without the play of the Hawkeye front.
As previously mentioned, this is only based on performance against each team’s competition. Teams like Alabama or Ohio State probably have better offensive linemen, but they haven’t graded quite as well because they were facing tougher defensive fronts.
Here were the other teams to crack PFF’s top 10 offensive lines:
- Washington State
- Kansas State
- Western Michigan
- San Diego State
- Ohio State
- Western Kentucky
- Notre Dame