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Iowa-Purdue Game Report: Grades, numbers, notes and more

Purdue place kicker Spencer Evans (13) kicks a field goal to put the Boilermakers ahead of Iowa near the end of the fourth quarter at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Indiana on Saturday, November 3, 2018. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Purdue place kicker Spencer Evans (13) kicks a field goal to put the Boilermakers ahead of Iowa near the end of the fourth quarter at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Indiana on Saturday, November 3, 2018. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A closer look at No. 16 Iowa’s 38-36 loss to Purdue on Saturday at Ross-Ade Stadium.

Play of the Game

The Setup: A 31-yard punt didn’t help, but Iowa’s defense had finally found some footing in the fourth quarter at Purdue.

The Hawkeyes got stops late in the fourth quarter. Jake Gervase and Amani Hooker had interceptions. Hooker’s pick gave the Hawkeyes a first down at Purdue’s 26. Iowa eventually scored and took a 36-35 lead with 10:19 remaining.

Iowa had the ball with eight minutes left. It probably wasn’t going to be able to drain all of that. Purdue was going to get another shot and it did after a stop, taking over at the 50 with 4:30 left in the game.

What Happened: Those 50 yards were going to be tough for Purdue. Never mind the fact that the Boilermakers had three scoring plays of more than 36 yards.

Iowa found some footing. Purdue never pretended to care about having a running game. If a stop was going to happen for the Hawkeyes, everyone knew it wouldn’t come easy.

After Purdue was hit with a holding penalty, it was second-and-18 at the 31.

Iowa covered the play well. Quarterback David Blough tried wide receiver Isaac Zico late. The ball was high. Zico and freshman cornerback Julius Brents tangled.

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The flag flew right away. It was first down Boilermakers at Iowa’s 16. Academic from there.

The Result: Purdue kicker Spencer Evans drilled a 25-yard field goal with eight seconds left and that was that.

This was an uneven game for the officials, but Purdue’s offense seemingly ran four vertical routes in Iowa’s face all day. It was a lot like Purdue’s victory at Kinnick Stadium last year, when the Boilers went bombs away in the third quarter and snatched one from the Hawkeyes.

Iowa almost returned that favor. Now? The Big Ten championship game has sailed.

– Marc Morehouse

Grades

Marc Morehouse: C

There’s not enough Busch Light in Cedar Rapids.

Mike Hlas: C

This game felt like the crazy Holiday Bowls of yore. Which is just where Iowa may be headed after two straight tumbles.

Notes

• You could have considered this an elimination game in the Big Ten West title sweepstakes. Mathematically, it wasn’t so. Realistically, it surely was.

The West standings now look like this after Saturday’s games: Northwestern 5-1, Wisconsin and Purdue 4-2, Iowa 3-3.

For the Hawkeyes to get a share of the West title with three games left to play would require a lot of things to happen besides Iowa sweeping Northwestern, Illinois and Nebraska. That ship hasn’t sailed, but “All aboard!” was just shouted by the captain.

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• Momentum bobbed back and forth over the course of the game. It seemed to be firmly planted on Purdue’s side when the Boilermakers upped their lead to 35-23 with 2:26 left in the third quarter. But Iowa countered with a 75-yard touchdown drive, then went ahead with a short drive after Hooker's interception and the Hawkeyes led for the first time all game, 36-35.

The teams traded possessions after that, then Purdue went from its 50 to the Iowa 7, and Spencer Evans kicked a 25-yard field goal with eight seconds left for the game-winning points.

• Though Iowa was behind 21-17 at halftime, it looked like things might have turned its way. It closed the half with a touchdown and got the kickoff after intermission.

But Iowa went three-and-out, and Purdue went one-and-in. As in, one play, an 82-yard touchdown strike from Blough to Terry Wright to give the Boilermakers a 28-17 lead. It was a beautifully thrown ball.

• This thing started like an Arena Football game. Passing was in vogue. Defense, not so much.

Purdue scored a touchdown on its first possession, going 74 yards in nine plays with a 36-yard touchdown pass from Blough to Zico, who has a cool name. Iowa answered with a 90-yard TD drive highlighted by a 21-yard pass to third-team tight end Nate Wieting.

Purdue responded with another TD, going 75 yards on seven plays. A 57-yard pass from Blough to tight end Brycen Hopkins set up the score.

Then things settled down, sort of. Each team had another TD in the half, and Purdue led 21-17 at the half.

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• Tyler Trent, Purdue superfan battling terminal bone cancer, was at the game and led (via the Ross-Ade Stadium video screen) a wave between the first and second quarters that was televised on ESPN2 back to patients at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.

By the numbers

1 – For the first time this season, Iowa’s opponent scored a touchdown on its first possession of the game.

4 – Iowa’s four-game winning streak at Purdue was snapped.

9 – Nine different Hawkeyes caught passes. And seven different Hawkeyes had rushes.

10 – Hawkeye tight ends have 10 touchdown catches this season. T.J. Hockenson got his fourth of the year in the third quarter.

12 – Iowa’s 35-23 deficit when the fourth quarter began was its largest of the season.

14 – Brohm’s career November record is 14-2.

17 – Blough began this game with three fewer touchdown passes than Iowa’s Nate Stanley’s 16. Blough had four, Stanley one, and now both have 17.

37.5 – The Hawkeyes are averaging 37.5 points per game on the road. (150 in 4 games)

100 – This was Kirk Ferentz’s 100th loss at Iowa.

146 – Wright had 146 receiving yards. He had averaged 14 yards over the Boilers’ first five Big Ten games.

434– Purdue gained 434 yards, 169 more than Iowa had been allowing per game.

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60,716 – Ross-Ade Stadium was sold out. The biggest crowd in Iowa’s previous three games here was 41,038, in 2013.

Injury report

The Hawkeyes seemed to come away from this game healthy.

Iowa fullback Brady Ross (leg) missed another game, but could return to practice in the next week.

Special teams player Shaun Beyer was injured in practice early in the week and missed the game.

Up next

Iowa plays Northwestern Saturday at Kinnick Stadium. The game time was to be announced late Saturday night.

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