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News, notes, grades and more from Iowa's 24-15 loss to Purdue on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.
The Setup — Officially, the wind clocked 20 mph out of the northwest. Iowa won the toss and gave up the wind to begin the game. In the second half, Iowa decided to go into the wind. Iowa was going to have to go into the wind at some point, and head coach Kirk Ferentz decided it would be the fourth quarter.
On its face, that seemed like a sound decision. And then Purdue went for the jugular early in the third quarter and, sure, now it seems like the wrong decision, but hey, the coverage was much worse than the decision.
What Happened — Purdue quarterback Elijah Sindelar had a nice first half, 14 completions and a TD pass. He had a brilliant third quarter at the expense of a trio of Iowa cornerbacks.
Purdue took the lead for good when Sindelar hit wide receiver Anthony Mahoungou for a 42-yard TD on sophomore cornerback Manny Rugamba. The four-play, 75-yard drive was all passes to Mahoungou vs. Rugamba.
Iowa’s offense went three-and-out. Sophomore Michael Ojemudia replaced Rugamba and was basically the next victim for Mahoungou. Two of the three-play, 50-yard drive went to Mahoungou on Ojemudia, including a 35-yard gain. Ojemudia was pulled for true freshman Matt Hankins and then Sindelar hit Mahoungou for a 15-yard TD.
The Results — Game over.
Purdue got the wind and first-year coach Jeff Brohm exploited it to the nth degree. Just excellent playcalls and execution. Sindelar hit 6 of 11 for 125 yards and two TDs with the wind in the third quarter.
Iowa secondary coach/defensive coordinator Phil Parker finally moved left cornerback Josh Jackson to the right side and the bleeding stopped. Now, Parker has three iffy corners going into the final two games of the season. Who’s it going to be next week?
F — I gave the Hawkeyes a D minus last week. But I can’t keep letting this slide, or they’ll never learn.
F — This game was Han Solo being frozen into the carbonite in “Empire” just when he had a really bad itch on his nose.
F — Yes, the Ohio State game really did happen. I promise. Just remind yourself of that over and over.
The lone bowl representative at the game was Steve Norton of the Holiday Bowl’s team selection committee.
San Diego’s Holiday Bowl (Dec. 28) resumed an affiliation with the Big Ten in 2014 after a 20-year break with the conference. Iowa appeared in the game in 1986, 1987 and 1991, winning twice by one point and tying once.
This is the fourth year of the bowl’s six-year contract with the Big Ten. Nebraska, Wisconsin and Minnesota represented the conference the last three years. The other conference affiliated with the Holiday Bowl is the Pac-12.
“We won’t have the same team twice, with maybe one exception,” Norton said. None of the aforementioned three teams are contenders for the Holiday Bowl.
Iowa’s other most-likely destinations are Nashville’s Music City Bowl, New York’s Pinstripe Bowl and the San Francisco Bay Area’s Foster Farms Bowl.
A pair of San Francisco 49ers were at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday. Former Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard and tight end George Kittle made an appearance in the press box during the Hawkeyes’ loss to Purdue.
Beathard and Kittle are on a bye week from the 1-9 49ers, a week after Beathard led his team to their first win this season and his first win as a starter in the NFL. The pair spent time in the Iowa radio booth with Gary Dolphin and Ed Podolak, and had fun discussing their playing together, as well as against some of their former teammates.
Beathard, who has started the last four games for San Francisco, said during the interview Iowa’s “pro-style system really prepared me for the NFL.” He also got a laugh out of being asked about former Iowa cornerback Desmond King, with the Los Anglese Chargers, sacking him during preseason.
“He drilled me,” Beathard said. “He’s in some blitz packages and doing well.”
Kittle, standing beside Beathard, got a laugh out of that question as well.
“Yeah,” Kittle said of the sack, “that was great.”
Beathard, Kittle and the 49ers are back in action next week against the Seahawks
29.7 — Punt yard average for Colten Rastetter
16 — Straight points scored by Iowa’s defense over six quarters before Akrum Wadley's TD
13 — Tackles for Josey Jewell
10 — Tackles for loss for the Purdue defense
6 — Sacks for the Purdue defense
6 — Straight passes thrown to Purdue’s Anthony Mahoungou
3.6 — Yards per play for the Iowa offense
2.2 — Yards per rush for the Iowa offense
2 — Offensive touchdowns in the last eight quarters
The Hawkeyes have escaped the last few weeks relatively unscathed in the injury department.
Amani Hooker missed a second straight week at safety dealing with a knee injury. He was replaced by Miles Taylor, who finished the game with five tackles.
Outside of the ongoing issues or pre-existing injuries the Iowa football team had in that area, there were no new notable injuries after the loss to Purdue. Head coach Kirk Ferentz didn’t have an update on the injury front in his postgame news conference, so the status quo is expected for the upcoming game against Nebraska.
Iowa heads on the road for its final regular season game of 2017 to face Nebraska at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. The battle for the Heroes Trophy will be among a pair of teams coming off multiple losses in a row — Iowa’s to Wisconsin and Purdue, and Nebraska having lost three straight to Northwestern, Minnesota and Penn State, 56-44, on Saturday. The Black Friday game is set for a 3 p.m. kickoff on FS1.
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