The Takeaway: Purdue

Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Sure, Iowa just picked up a road win against Purdue, 38-14. But how much do we really know? What was really important about beating the Boilermakers? What does it all mean, Basil? The Takeaway has the answer.

Dimensions: Iowa needed a spark on offense after a couple of truly lackluster performances, and it got exactly that from Jordan Canzeri, who reeled off 165 yards on just 20 carries. It also got that from playing Purdue and not a good defense, but being that Canzeri also bested Mark Weisman's yards per carry by more than double (8.3 to 3.3), this was about more than just who the opposition was.

It's completely fair to ask where Canzeri had been during the entire season, as the Iowa rushing offense was pretty one-note for most of the season. That's not a knock on Weisman and his abilities—it would have been not so great if Canzeri had 160 rushes coming into the game and Weisman had 30 too—but just giving garbage time carries to Canzeri means you're not challenging the athleticism of the opposing front seven. Canzeri's speed to the edge adds a dimension to the offense that the team just didn't have.

He's not much of a blocker yet, of course, and the receiving isn't where you want a guy with his skill set. Totally a work in progress. But that progress can't go on exclusively in practice—not while Iowa's offense is struggling, especially in the speed department.

The most frustrating aspect is that you only have to look at the WR corps to know the coaches are aware of this fact. Damond Powell is much less ingrained into the Iowa offense than Canzeri, and he's at least on the field as much as he can be in order to have that dimension of the offense available (even if Iowa only goes to him three times a game or so). But Canzeri had to wait for blowouts up until Week 10? Huh?

Demonstration. At the very least, though, Iowa showed it was hands-down better than Purdue and took care of business accordingly. The game stayed close longer than anyone would like, but at the end of the day it was a 24-point win on a 15-point spread and Purdue never had that much of a chance. If that sounds boring, kinda, yeah—but the Big Ten is full of teams that have struggled with putting teams away this year. Iowa didn't on Saturday. Also, after last season, no win should be taken for granted.

So we see a bye week for the Hawkeyes this week before Michigan comes to town. How Michigan does at Northwestern this week will probably go a long way in determining who's favored next week, but it'll likely be closer than anyone anticipated. Iowa-Michigan will go a long way in determining where Iowa ends up in the Big Ten's pecking order this season, for both bowls and overall perception. We'd like to believe Iowa is better than a .500 team; now is the time to demonstrate it.

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