Purdue Exposed Iowa Again

Purdue Exposed Iowa Again

For the second season in a row, and fourth in the last five years, Jeff Brohm and Purdue exposed the Hawkeyes and came away with a dominant 24-7 win on the road. The Boilermakers had the momentum from the first quarter on and took advantage of Iowa in every way possible. George Karlaftis and the defensive front got constant pressure on the Hawkeyes’ passing attack. David Bell had another excellent statistical game. And Purdue was unstoppable on third down. Those performances were coupled with the Boilermakers winning the turnover battle on the day. That combination was more than enough to win, and Purdue exposed Iowa, again. 

Purdue Exposed Iowa Defense

In Bell’s third game against Iowa, he had a third exceptional performance catching passes. On 11 receptions, Bell finished with 240 yards receiving and a touchdown. His touchdown reception in the fourth quarter put the game far out of reach for the Hawkeyes. Bell found gaps in Iowa’s coverage and was constantly getting open. Every time the ball came his way, he was virtually alone or had a beat on the defender. Bell finished the day with an astounding 20 yards per target. He continued to show that he is the one receiver that Iowa cannot defend, as he is now averaging 186 yards and nearly two touchdowns per game against the Hawkeyes. Iowa was out of answers for containing Bell and the Purdue passing attack.

Through the air, Purdue tallied 378 yards and two touchdowns. The Boilermakers cycled through three quarterbacks on the afternoon and used each for a different look. Aidan O’Connell threw for 375 yards and two touchdowns. He added one on the ground off of the quarterback draw. Jack Plummer and Austin Burton came in on running downs and accounted for nearly half of Purdue’s rushing yards. This mix of quarterbacks flustered Iowa, who looked out of position in the read option and outmatched on the outside.

When Iowa did force Purdue into third down situations, they converted on seven of 11 third downs through the third quarter. Their average distance to go on third down was 8.2 yards and they gained 10.9 yards per third down attempt. The Hawkeyes were forced to respect the Boilermaker passing game all day, but their third down success rate was out of the ordinary. It seemed as though Iowa’s cushion on the Purdue receivers was too generous, and they were able to get open and convert at will.

Offensive Struggles Magnified

Karlaftis and the Purdue defensive front made things difficult for Iowa all afternoon. Spencer Petras had minimal time in the pocket to make good throws and was forced into four interceptions. Karlaftis ended the day with one sack and three quarterback hurries, but it took more than one Hawkeye lineman to slow him down. At one point, Iowa had three guys on Karlaftis as he rushed the quarterback and still got pressure. His presence up front was suffocating for Iowa’s chances of throwing the ball successfully. Petras threw 17 completions for 195 yards and four interceptions, one of his worst performances as a starter. 

Iowa averaged 14 yards per drive in the second half and only accumulated 86 total yards of offense. To put the Hawkeyes’ offensive performance into perspective, Iowa started two drives inside the Purdue red zone during the fourth quarter. Neither of those two drives resulted in points. Credit to the Purdue defense, as they gave Iowa zero chances in the second half while holding a comfortable lead.

Purdue Wins Turnover Battle

Before the game, Iowa and Purdue were tied with six turnovers apiece when facing each other since 2017. On Saturday, the Boilermakers dominated the turnover battle, hauling in four interceptions. Purdue’s lone turnover came when receiver TJ Sheffield dove into the end zone, but lost control of the ball as it hit the pylon. It was ruled a touchback and Iowa took over. Other than that, the Boilermakers didn’t put the ball in any dangerous situations. They were able to deliver it over the top of Iowa’s defense and totaled nearly 400 passing yards. Despite the Hawkeyes’ turnover success all season, and in recent years, Purdue held them in check. The Boilermaker team that had thrown six interceptions in five games this year didn’t throw one. O’Connell couldn’t miss his receivers as he delivered 30 of 40 on the day.

Purdue Exposed Iowa, Again

It was well known coming into Saturday’s contest that Purdue had been Iowa’s weakness. They had been able to find a way through Phil Parker’s stout defense and win three of the last four. The Hawkeye defense had been so dominant this year that it seemed as though now would be Iowa’s time to get things figured out. But Jeff Brohm had other plans. His use of three quarterbacks shook up the Hawkeye defense from the start. David Bell found openings in the zone coverage and had his best performance of the season. On the other side of the ball, Purdue shut down the Iowa offense. Spencer Petras was able to make accurate throws when he had the time, but he rarely had it. George Karlaftis gave their offensive line all it could handle and Iowa couldn’t avoid the pressure. Other than the opening play of the game, the offensive struggles were imminent, and the defense couldn’t handle the passing attack. The Purdue Boilermakers deserve credit for what they were able to deliver on the road, and they came away with a victory over the number two team in the country.

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