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Matchup to Watch: Jeff Brohm vs. Phil Parker

Will the crafty former quarterback get the best of Iowa’s defensive coordinator a third straight season?

Iowa v Purdue

Was I tempted to write another snarky blog calling out the Iowa Hawkeyes’ offense inability to score?

Not really, because that should not be a problem. Purdue has the 87th scoring defense in the country by giving up 29.8 points a game. Against defenses outside of the top 36 (MTSU is the best of those three at 106), Iowa’s put up 38.7 points on average. Points should not be difficult to come by, emphasis on “should.”

Anyways, I’m returning to the scene of the crime (the end of Manny Rugumba’s Hawkeye career) this weekend and all I can think about is Jeff Brohm getting the best of our beloved Phil Parker once again. I hate to bust out a quote from a book I never read, but...

“Once is a chance...”

In 2017, Brohm went to this play six (!!!) times in a row coming out of halftime. Parker cycled through three cornerbacks opposite Anthony Mahoungou before relenting from his right cornerback/left cornerback alignment to put Josh Jackson over Mahoungou. But the damage was done.

(side note: Mark Emmert recalled in his gamer that Iowa lived in the backfield during the first half to the tune of four sacks. Purdue switched to cut blocking in addition to the above playcalling and the rest is history)

“Twice is a coincidence...”

I counted four vertical routes Brohm touched Iowa up on in the highlights above (all 36 yards or longer) all over the field. In a twist from 2017, Purdue mixed in some play action to hold Iowa’s freshmen corners. It was unfortunate both Michael Ojemudia and Matt Hankins were injured because Iowa was at the end of their rope with Riley Moss and Julius Brents.

But Brohm knows how to pick a scab, if nothing else.

“The third time it’s enemy action.”

Everyone knows it’s coming. Purdue is going to test Iowa through the air and they’re preparing accordingly. Ojemudia may have tipped Iowa’s hand on the switch back to the 4-2-5 and offered himself, original starter D.J. Johnson, and freshman Dane Belton as guys practicing the Cash position.

Kirk Ferentz hasn’t forgotten the last two meetings and offered his own kernel: “I’m even more focused on our deep zones than I am our underneath zones.”

After getting burnt twice against Iowa State on the deep ball - once on a double-pass - only Michigan was able to take the top off of Iowa’s defense with a 51-yard pass to Nico Hobbs. Multiple teams have attempted a similar double pass to no avail.

While it feels safe to say that Iowa has those covered considering their performance all year, you know Brohm is gonna test Iowa deep. I would expect some trickeration - though not as telegraphed as the double pass - from the Boilermakers.

Additionally, with Iowa’s focus on the outside and over the top, there might be some potential for Purdue expose the middle & underneath areas with their their weak run game. On the season, they average 64 yards per game and 2.3 per carry and Iowa doesn’t seem particularly concerned with it. HawkeyeInsider grabbed this Ojemudia quote: They can’t really run the ball on us.”

Yet why would you run it when you can pass it all over someone?

The Boilermakers offense has felt like waves crashing over the Hawkeye secondary the last couple years. With youth on their roster, it’s the perfect time for Phil Parker and company to turn the tide.