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Purdue 24, Iowa 20: The Old Normal


NCAA Football: Iowa at Purdue Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve been waiting all year for it.

No cupcakes, no tune-ups, no Rutgers.

Spencer Petras and the Hawkeyes were thrust into the fire early against a Purdue team that was without its head coach and all-American receiver Rondale Moore, and it looked like Iowa didn’t know what to do when it got to the hydrant.

By the hands of former walk-on quarterback Aidan O’Connell, another all-start wide receiver in David Bell, and 2020’s version of Mark Weisman in Zander Horvath, Purdue stuck it to iowa at home in 24-20 win.

It was typical plodding start for the Hawkeyes: drops by the normally sure-handed Brandon Smith, Shaun Beyer, and Ihmir Smith-Marsette led to an abysmal 2-8 start for Petras. The ball placement could’ve been better on each throw, but I think each should’ve been a catch. And I’m going to place some blame on the sun, too.

It took three drives for Iowa to get its first first down of the year, and while Cole Banwart successfully forced a fumble on Tyler Goodson on what was amounting to a solid drive, the Iowa offense would click thereafter as Petras ended the half 13-15.

A 25-yard return from Charlie Jones set Iowa up on Purdue’s 35. A 20 yard pass to Sam LaPorta put Iowa on the doorstep, a run from Goodson knocked, and Petras kicked the door down to knot it up at sevens.

It’s worth noting that on that drive, we saw a direct snap in the shotgun to Tyler Goodson. It was the second time Iowa lined up on the Wildcat today, and would happen two more times by my count. It only took 15 years for the Iowa coaches to adopt the Wildcat after its advent, but at least it happened.

Dane Belton had a huge hit to stop Purdue short the following drive, and now Iowa found itself with the ball and some momentum. An 11-play, 73-yard drive was capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Mekhi Sargent, but the drive included:

  • Iowa’s first catch from a receiver on the season
  • A 15-yard penalty assessed to Ihmir Smith-Marsette for pulling a player off a pile, something I’ve never heard of before
  • A 15-yard catch and run from Tyrone Tracy
  • A 15-yard double-reverse from ISM, a la the Holiday Bowl
  • Annnnd touchdown Sarge. 14-7 good guys

Things were looking peachy for the Hawks. For a minute. Purdue answered with a 75-yard drive of its own, once again finding the end zone on a David Bell catch that embarrassed Dane Belton.

Iowa punted the ensuing drive and it was looking like Purdue would go on a 14-point swing until Matt Hankins jumped a route intended for a player who wasn’t David Bell.

With just 31 ticks on the clock, Iowa didn’t kneel it like we’re used to seeing. Passes of 28 and 20 yards to Nick Ragaini and LaPorta got Iowa on Purdue’s 10 with 10 seconds to go, but instead of clocking the ball, Goodson ran it outside, for some reason. Still, Keith Duncan knocked it through and we got Iowa up 17-14 at half.

The third quarter looked a lot more like what I would’ve expected the first quarter too look like: a lot of penalties, four traded punts, and an interception from Barrington Wade in the red zone that likely saved a touchdown.

Iowa closed the third frame debating on what to do on 4th and 4 on the Purdue 33. KASINO KIRK came out to play in the fourth, and a pretty pass to Ragaini moved the sticks to the 16.

A holding penalty on the next play doomed Iowa on a set of downs that saw Petras sail balls over his receivers heads. Keith Duncan trotted back out and added to Iowa’s lead with 13 minutes to play, 20-14.

A nail-biting Purdue drive that took up 5 minutes, 71 yards and 14 plays ended on a made field goal after the Iowa defense finally clamped down on the Boiler passing game. Purdue ran it with great success (!) that drive, but decided to pass three times in a row in the red zone to give Iowa the ball up 3 with 8:20 to go.

Mekhi Sargent coughed up the ball after a really promising start to the drive. We’ve seen this movie before, and we’ve never gotten our money back.

Zander Horvath put Purdue on his back on the go-ahead drive. Thirty-two yards on five carries, coupled with a sheisty facemask penalty set up a wide-open David Bell in the end zone for his third touchdown of the day.

Iowa would still get the ball back with 2:15 to play and a timeout.

Hankins gets it to the 28.

LaPorta hauls one in for 16 yards.





Two of those incompletions are first downs if the throw is just a tiny bit better.

Iowa is now 0-1 for the first time since 2013, when the Hawkeyes fell to Northern Illinois at home 30-27.


  • While Barrington Wade had a great game, he was on an island against Bell for the go-ahead touchdown. That’s on Phil Parker and no one else.
  • Iowa was penalized 10 times for 100 yards. Purdue, meanwhile, got flagged 3 times for 21 yards.
  • Iowa outgained Purdue by 80 yards, and had 195 yards on the ground. Fumbilitis is another virus we need to worry about.
  • Daviyon Nixon is the truth.

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