Three cool things:
1. Oh hindsight, you tricky devil.
Of course, C.J. Beathard should’ve come out of this game with some footing in the Iowa QB race. Jake Rudock was injured at Pitt. Beathard fueled a fourth-quarter comeback and started this game. That was 2-0 with a comeback victory on the road.
Iowa had already invested a ton in Rudock. Rudock won everything he needed to win in practice. He was aggressively smart and hyper-prepared. Beathard was more sewn in to the team. He was friends with everyone. He won hearts and minds at this point. He had yet to win over Kirk Ferentz.
The package never happened. Beathard got dinged up while running a read option against Indiana. Rudock struggled at Maryland. Ferentz doubled down.
And then, after a story in the Tennessean (Nashville, Beathard’s hometown) in which Beathard’s dad, Casey, is quoted as saying let’s hope it doesn’t come to transferring, the clouds parted for Beathard.
That was the timing. Was the Tennessean story the reason? I don’t know. If anything, I would think that would get a guy on Ferentz’s poo list forever. Still, the musical chairs at the position in the TaxSlayer Bowl was bad roster management. If they had to go through that to get Beathard in the chair, I guess it was worth it. I mean, 12-0 and a Rose Bowl.
The QB deal was a big part of the reason why 2014 was such a ... toothache.
2. Iowa had to ditch a charter and bus to this one. Usually, the linemen get their own bus. I’m not sure if that was the case here. They did catch a charter back to Iowa City (for the record, Iowa buses to Ames, Madison and Evanston and I think that’s it).
3. I used to laugh off the horrible visitors locker room at Purdue. It’s almost literally a concrete outhouse. I’m sure the renovation — THERE’S GOT TO BE A RENOVATION, RIGHT? — will correct that.
Protocols that lead to nowhere should be what puts a school on probation.
Quote: “We have two good quarterbacks, I’ve been saying that since this season got going,” Ferentz said when asked if the QB conversation remains open during the bye week.
When Ferentz says “I’ve been saying that since this season got going,” how about expanding that a little? You can say your one thing, but there’s more to it than your one statement. Let’s work on that for our next 20 years together, Kirk (I kid. You know the line from the end of “Rocky.” Apollo Creed: Ain’t gonna be no rematch. Rocky: Don’t want one).
Note: We remember Marshall Koehn more for 2015, but he made a field goal in this game and made one in the first eight games of 2014. He hit just two of his first five and then made seven in a row.
Don’t worry, a Marshall Koehn party is coming.
Why No. 126? — This was one of those games we were able to see from the sidelines at the end. I watched Brandon Scherff totally maul Purdue defenders late in the fourth quarter. The Purdue dudes looked sad and you could tell they’d had enough.
That’s how it goes sometimes.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE OF THE GAME
Game story from 2014
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Going into a bye week, the Hawkeyes kind of soaked this one in.
They finished off Purdue, 24-10, and strolled around Ross-Ade Stadium. starting with a clump of Hawkeyes fans in the north end zone. They then worked their way along the westside bleachers. Only 36,603 fans showed up Saturday and it was all Iowa people at the end, so the floor belonged to the Hawkeyes.
The victory lap ended with a stream of Iowa fans in the south end zone. Cue that “In Heaven there is no Beer” song and head off into a bye week with a win, an ugly, gritty, grimy win.
Iowa’s defense mugged the Boilermakers (2-3, 0-1 Big Ten) all day and the offense eventually happened for the Hawkeyes (4-1, 1-0). In his first start, sophomore quarterback C.J. Beathard completed 17 of 37 passes for 245 yards and a TD. Running back Mark Weisman scored two touchdowns, but the Iowa defense was stellar, forcing punts or picking off Purdue on its final nine possessions.
No, Iowa wasn’t going to get out of here that easily. It didn’t arrive here easily, with the fire in Aurora, Ill., causing airline snags and sending the Hawkeyes on an unscheduled six-hour bus ride. The team arrived here about 9:30 Friday night.
“It was chill,” Beathard said. “We were just on the bus with our team, hanging out and playing cards. It’s different from a plane and hanging out in a hotel, but we didn’t let that affect how we played.”
And, no, it wasn’t going to be that easy for Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz. He knew what was coming in the postgame and he was ready. Three times, Ferentz was asked about quarterback. The man has a story and he is sticking to it.
“We have two good quarterbacks, I’ve been saying that since this season got going,” Ferentz said when asked if the QB conversation remains open during the bye week.
Beathard went through his struggles, tossing a pick-six in the first quarter, but was generally steady in his first start. Junior Jake Rudock, who suffered a hip pointer last weekend at Pittsburgh, was available and medically cleared, but Ferentz said he didn’t want to play him. Rudock jogged off the field after the game with a slight limp.
The next time around on the QB question Ferentz was asked what if Rudock is 100 percent for Indiana — Iowa faces the Hoosiers (2-2) Oct. 11 at Kinnick Stadium — is he the starter? Ferentz said he expects him to be ready and then he rolled the tape.
“We’ve got two good quarterbacks,” he said. “I’m not too worried about it. We just wanted to win today. Both guys did a great job. Jake was right there with him. It’s a good situation.”
It didn’t look great in the first quarter. After two three-and-outs, Beathard threw late to the sideline for tight end Ray Hamilton. He didn’t see Purdue safety Frankie Williams sneak under the route. And 39 yards later it was a 39-yard interception return for a touchdown and Purdue led 7-0 with 4:13 left in the first quarter.
And then two more three-and-outs. And then it looked kind of bleak. Except Beathard wasn’t paying any attention to that.
“He was fine, his demeanor was great,” running back Mark Weisman said. “You just say to him, ‘Get over it.’ You have to lead us out there the next drive. He was fine. He was completely fine. He showed great demeanor. He didn’t let it affect him at all.”
With the defense giving Iowa’s offense plenty of slack, the Hawkeyes pulled to within 10-7 when Weisman crashed in from the 2 with 8:15 left in the first half. Junior Marshall Koehn made a 28-yard field goal to tie it 10-10 at halftime.
With 45 seconds left in the third quarter, Beathard lofted a 23-yard TD pass to senior wide receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley. The play was ruled out of bounds on the field but called a TD after review. Iowa led 17-10 and was pretty much sitting on Purdue’s chest and tweaking its ears at this point.
The QB conversation will continue, and Ferentz knows it. It will be a point of discussion and Ferentz’s script will be tested, but hey, at least Iowa got to fly home.