A closer look at No. 23 Iowa’s 26-20 win Saturday afternoon over Purdue at Kinnick Stadium:
Play of the game
THE SETUP — Here’s the backdrop to this story. Riley Moss and his fellow defensive backs were torched last season by Purdue. Quarterback David Blough had 333 yards passing and four touchdowns, three of 36 yards or more. The deep ball killed Iowa. Moss is just getting back to playing again after missing four games with an injury.
WHAT HAPPENED — It’s a 9-7 Iowa lead as we enter the third quarter. Precarious indeed. Purdue starts the second half by taking over at its 25-yard line, moving the ball to the Iowa 40 mostly behind the passing of redshirt freshman quarterback Jack Plummer. The Boilermarkers are facing a third-and-7.
THE RESULT — Moss had entered the game two plays earlier to replace Matt Hankins at left cornerback because Purdue true freshman wide receiver David Bell was consistently beating him on this drive. Plummer fades back and throws a pass intended for Bell toward the Purdue sideline that is forced and underthrown. Moss steps in front of it and leaps to make a huge interception. Purdue’s drive is thrwarted,
Iowa’s offense goes on an ensuing drive of its own that is capped by a Tyler Goodson 1-yard TD run. Hawkeyes 16, Purdue 7.
Marc Morehouse: B
This is Iowa’s offense at this point. It’s like a skateboarder trying to learn new tricks.
Mike Hlas: B
Light a candle for Brandon Smith to heal quickly. That man has skills.
Jeff Johnson: B
A win and a couple of touchdowns. And a whole bunch of field goals again, of course.
By the numbers
1 — Career touchdowns for true freshman running back Tyler Goodson after he scored from a yard out in the third quarter.
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10 — Field goals made this season by Iowa kicker Keith Duncan of 40 yards or more.
33 — Career starts for Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley.
63 — Yards on a Michael Sleep-Dalton punt in the fourth quarter. It was his season long.
197 — Receiving yards Saturday for Bell. The Indianapolis native was recruited hard by Iowa before choosing the Boilermakers.
• B.J. Armstrong was the grand marshal for Iowa’s homecoming parade Friday night. Armstrong was on the Iowa men’s basketball team from 1985-89 before going on to a 747-game NBA career that included being a vital part of three championship teams with the Chicago Bulls. The 1986-87 team is the last one of Iowa’s to reach an NCAA tournament Elite Eight. He is an agent for Wasserman Sports Group, representing several pro basketball players, including former NBA Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose.
”From the first moment I stepped on campus (Friday), it’s been incredible,” Armstrong said. “I’ve always considered this home.”
• Former Hawkeye great Bob Sanders was the honorary captain Saturday. Sanders played eight years in the NFL for Indianapolis and San Diego and was named the Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2007. He played in two Pro Bowls.
“To me, he helped push the tempo of our defense,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “He changed the tempo of our special teams right off the bat. Then when he started playing defense ... He just makes everybody around him better. Michael Jordan wrote about some guys want to do it, some guys hope to do it or wish they’d do it. Others guys make it happen. And that was Bob Sanders.”
• True freshman linebacker Jack Campbell of Cedar Falls was involved on special teams and middle linebacker for Iowa, playing in his fifth game of the season. That means his redshirt opportunity is gone. True freshman Dane Belton played in his second game, as a nickel back on defense. True freshman Justin Britt saw time at guard for Iowa, his fourth game of the season.
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• Plummer has Iowa ties. He grew up in Dubuque, where his father, Brad, a Des Moines native, still lives and works for Cottingham & Butler insurance brokerage. Jack Plummer and his brothers moved to the Phoenix area with their mother, and that is where he became a big-time college recruit. Iowa State’s Brock Purdy also starred as a prep in Gilbert, Ariz., at the same time.
• Iowa kicker Keith Duncan is good friends with Purdue kicker D.J. Dellinger. They grew up in the Charlotte, N.C., area and share a kicking coach there. Duncan made four field goals Saturday and is 17 of 19 this season, also making all 16 of his extra points.
• Redshirt freshman defensive lineman John Waggoner recorded his first career tackle in the second quarter. It just so happened to come on a sack of Plummer. Waggoner prepped at West Des Moines Dowling.
• Representatives from eight NFL clubs were on hand for Saturday’s game. That included Pittsburgh Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert and Oakland Raiders GM Mike Mayock. Other teams with personnel at the game were the Miami Dolphins (two), New Orleans Saints, Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins, Houston Texans and Green Bay Packers. The only bowl reps on hand were from the Florida Citrus Bowl.
Starting middle linebacker Kristian Welch missed Saturday’s game with an injury he suffered last week against Penn State. Iowa’s leading tackler was replaced in the lineup by redshirt freshman Dillon Doyle, son of strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle. Campbell also saw many snaps.
Wide receiver Brandon Smith had a huge game with nine catches for 106 yards (both career highs) but injured his right ankle/leg in the fourth quarter and was on crutches at game’s end. Ferentz said the hope is Smith suffered just a bone bruise.
Iowa hits the road next week for a game at Northwestern (1-5, 0-4). Kickoff is 11 a.m., and the game will be televised by ESPN2. Northwestern is coming off a 52-3 shellacking at the hands of No. 4 Ohio State Friday night.
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