116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Editor’s note: This is ninth in a 12-part series previewing Iowa football’s 2022 opponents.
Purdue football has recorded just two winning seasons in the last decade. Iowa has nine.
Yet the Boilermakers have been one of Iowa’s most headache-inducing Big Ten foes recently.
Purdue has won four of the last five matchups dating to 2017, including a stunning, 24-7, upset over then-No. 2 Iowa in 2021.
Wide receiver David Bell has particularly been a menace, racking up 558 receiving yards in his three matchups against the Hawkeyes.
Thankfully for Iowa fans, Bell is off to the NFL.
But the Boilermakers, especially on offense, will have plenty of other threats when the Hawkeyes come to town on Nov. 5.
Quarterback Aidan O’Connell is back and could be a candidate for Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year.
Two of O’Connell’s top receivers — Charlie Jones and Tyrone Tracy Jr. — are ex-Hawkeyes and have plenty of familiarity with Iowa’s defense.
Tight end Payne Durham, who received honorable mention all-Big Ten honors in 2021, should be one of the better players at his position in the conference.
Iowa vs. Purdue: 3 things to watch
- Jones and Tracy vs. Iowa’s secondary. Purdue already left a sour taste with Iowa fans after last year’s 24-7 rout at Kinnick, and then it poached two wideouts from Iowa via the transfer portal this offseason. The potentially awkward reunion aside, Jones and Tracy will be in key roles in Purdue’s pass-heavy scheme as they face Iowa’s talented secondary.
- Who fills the void left by George Karlaftis? Purdue Coach Jeff Brohm will be without his defensive leader from 2021 after Karlaftis declared for the NFL Draft. Karlaftis recorded five sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss last year. It’s a tall task for one person to replace that production, so Purdue might have to fill the void by committee.
- Can Iowa force Purdue to run the ball? The Boilermakers haven’t exactly been known for a fierce ground attack. Last year, they averaged a Big Ten-worst 2.8 yards per carry. It wasn’t an issue against the Hawkeyes, though, because of how well the passing game was going. If those circumstances happen again in 2022, it could be a long day for Iowa.
A win in West Lafeyette, Ind., is possible for the Hawkeyes, but it won’t be easy. The Karlaftis-less Purdue defense is more vulnerable than it was last year, but the Boilermakers’ offense could be dangerous again in 2022. Purdue will be coming off its bye week, too.
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