Iowa Football

Game Report: Purdue Boilermakers 24, Iowa Hawkeyes 20

Hawkeyes weren't closers on offense or defense

Purdue wide receiver David Bell scores the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter Saturday in West Lafayette,
Purdue wide receiver David Bell scores the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter Saturday in West Lafayette, Ind. The touchdown came on the heels of a game-turning lost fumble by Iowa's Mekhi Sargent. (Purdue Sports Information).

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A closer look at Iowa’s 24-20 loss to Purdue on Saturday at Ross-Ade Stadium.

Turning point

Turnovers. It’s a football staple that if you lose the turnover battle you’re a lot more likely to lose the game. Iowa lost the turnover battle, 2-2, if that makes sense. Because the Hawkeyes’ second one was a killer.

Leading 20-17 with the ball at the Purdue 41 midway through the fourth quarter, Iowa senior running back Mekhi Sargent was in the game. It wasn’t because it was crunch time and Tyler Goodson had lost a fumble in the first half in the Purdue red zone. Although, Hawkeyes Coach Kirk Ferentz said Sargent “does a good job with ball security.”

“I thought Mekhi was playing great, quite frankly, in his quiet way.”

Sargent was stripped of the ball by Boilermakers cornerback Dedrick Mackey, and it was recovered by Purdue safety Cam Allen at the Boilers’ 28 with six minutes left.

Instead of Iowa driving for a touchdown that would have hammered a nail, its defense got pounded on the subsequent Purdue possession. The Boilermakers mixed six runs with six passes, drove the 72 yards, and took the lead on a 6-yard pass from Aidan O’Connell to David Bell with 2:15 left.

Iowa reached the Purdue 44 on its next drive, but first-time starter Spencer Petras threw four straight incompletions, and the Hawkeyes began the season with their first loss in their last five games.


By the numbers

2 — Petras had his second career rushing touchdown before throwing for his first. Petras scored on a 1-yard keeper in the second quarter. He had a 1-yard TD run last year against Middle Tennessee.

6 — Iowa’s streak of six season-opening wins was snapped.

8 — Matt Hankins’ interception with 31 seconds left in the first half marked the eighth-straight game the Hawkeyes got a pick. Barrington Wade got one in the third quarter. Iowa leads the nation in interceptions (55) since the start of the 2017 season.

10 — Iowa had 10 penalties for a whopping 100 yards. Purdue had three for 21.

13 — David Bell, folks. The Purdue sophomore wide receiver had 13 catches against the Hawkeyes for the second-straight year. This time, he had three touchdowns among them. He has 318 yards in two games against Iowa.

15 — Six Hawkeyes had catches for at least 15 yards.

22 — Iowa wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette’s streak of 22 straight games with a catch ended.

74 — Iowa outgained Purdue by 74 yards, 460-386. They don’t pay for winning the yardage game.


129 — Purdue’s Zander Horvath had 21 carries for a game-high 129 yards.

195 — Iowa rushed for 195 yards. You don’t often lose when you do that.


• This win officially goes in Jeff Brohm’s ledger, though the Purdue head coach was at home because he tested positive for COVID-19 last Sunday. This makes him 3-1 against Iowa.

Brohm couldn’t participate in anything regarding his team starting 90 minutes before kickoff.

“I would recommend any family members I have not to be around me,” Brohm said last week. “It will probably just be myself and that way I can’t do any harm to anyone else other than me.”

Brohm’s brother, co-offensive coordinator Brian Brohm, was acting head coach. It was a good act, especially in the second half when the Boilermakers gained 211 yards.

Jeff Brohm never stopped working during the week, but did it from a safe distance. According to the Lafayette Journal and Courier, he helped prepare practice plans, studied film, and watched his team’s workouts through a video system on his phone. But his brother did the heavy lifting Saturday.

• Running back by committee, that’s a term people use when they’re being unoriginal. It isn’t what you might have expected from Iowa, and there’s no guarantee it will continue to be a thing. Then again, why not?


Three different running backs were featured by Iowa. Goodson, Sargent and Ivory Kelly-Martin had a combined 17 carries for 90 yards in the half. Each had runs of at least 8 yards in the first half. Starter Goodson, fresh off a big finish to his freshman year of 2019, had a 40-yard catch-and-run.

Ferentz said all three will continue to get their playing time. Goodson is No. 1, though. Right? He had 136 total yards. But the last time he touched the ball was late in the third quarter.

• Iowa linebacker/cash Barrington Wade had a nice daily-double, with a quarterback sack and an interception. It was the senior’s second career start, and he was prominent throughout the game.

• The Hawkeyes’ kick-coverage was something to like. They allowed zero punt returns, and two kickoff returns for a 16.5-yard average.

• Iowa 23-year-old freshman punter Tory Taylor had a nice day in not only his first game, but the first American football game he had ever seen. His first two punts were for 50 and 52 yards with no returns, and he placed a 46-yarder at the Purdue 7. The Boilermakers’ Blake Cormier was no slouch, averaging 47.5 yards on six punts.

• Two hours before a Big Ten football game, you typically aren’t able to hear leaves blowing down the street directly outside a stadium. Not west of Rutgers, anyhow.

But that sound was audible outside Ross-Ade Stadium with tailgating banned and only authorized personnel roaming around directly outside the venue. This was different.

There were cardboard cutouts of fans, about as many as there were actual people in the stands since family members of players on both sides were allowed inside.


There was no Purdue band. Which meant, no World’s Largest Drum. The band and Purdue’s dance squad and cheerleaders did their songs and routines via a remote on the really big big-screen board here.

It was studio football, Week 1. It was peculiar.

• All those social media-commenters who swore they were done with the Hawkeyes if they knelt during the national anthem can sleep easier. Both teams remained in their locker rooms during the anthem.

Injury and illness report

Iowa was without first-team linebacker Jack Campbell (mononucleosis), first-team defensive tackle Austin Schulte (unspecified) and backup linebacker Seth Benson. The Hawkeyes didn’t appear to suffer any injuries of note during the game.

Purdue not only was minus head coach Jeff Brohm (COVID-19 positive), but star wide receiver Rondale Moore (unspecified) was out. Had Moore and Bell been together ... the mind reels.

It was the second-straight year Moore couldn’t play against Iowa because of injury, and the Hawkeyes aren’t likely to see him again.

Social summaries

(From Twitter)

“20 points is not enough in 2020.” — @daloney65

“When it mattered, Iowa could not answer the Bell.” — @LyleMuller

“Out coached by a bunch of assistant coaches!” — @aapplz22

“We should have listened to Kevin Warren.” — @MCAtchison

Next up

Iowa will play its first game at Kinnick Stadium in 343 days when it hosts Northwestern at 2:30 p.m. (ESPN).

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.