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Hawkeye Football Position Grades: Purdue

Hawks play a complete game to defeat Purdue

Syndication: Journal-Courier
Hawks upend Jones, Tracy, and the Boilers
Noe Padilla/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

I am officially salty about Charlie Jones bolting to the Boilermakers after spring practice. He made a great choice; one needs to look no further than his 19 target, 11 reception, 104 yard performance against his old mates. That said, the players, coaches, and fans took a little extra satisfaction from that beatdown. Stats are important, especially with Jones wanting to play in the NFL, but I will take a win over gaudy numbers any day of the week.



Spencer Petras has looked like a serviceable quarterback the past few weeks. If we would have had even serviceable play we’d be on our way back to Indianapolis. The wind made throwing the football difficult on Saturday, but Petras made some throws that we haven’t seen in some time. On the day Petras was 13 for 23 (56%) for 192 yards and two touchdowns. Did I read that right? Two passing touchdowns?!?


Kaleb Johnson. Wow. Johnson took the RB1 keys and put the pedal to the metal. I’ve never seen someone glide like he does.

Johnson ran 22 times for 200 yards (9.1 yard average) and a score. The Hawks need to keep feeding Johnson. Jaziun Patterson and Leshon Williams ran five times for six yards.

WR: B-

Nico Ragaini and Diante Vines were targeted seven times. Ragaini caught 3 balls for 56 yards and a score. Nico had 48 of these yards after the catch.

Vines caught two passes for 19 yards. A fellow BHGP writer, Thad Nelson, pointed out the terrific job of blocking by Vines on Saturday. Iowa’s offense has a razor thin margin of error. Getting downfield blocking will spring Kaleb Johnson for more long runs. The past few weeks the Hawks have been doing these “little things” much better, and in sports there is no such thing as a little thing. Everything is important.


Sam LaPorta sets a Hawkeye TE reception record every time he hauls in a pass. Not too shabby to be the all-time reception leader for Tight End University.

I’ve watched this highlight many times. Touchdown passes have been few and far between. Enjoy this one, folks. Luke Lachey had one catch for 22 yards.

OL: B-

The Hawkeyes toted the rock 35 times for a net of 184 yards (5.3). Once Kaleb Johnson took the second play of the second half to the house, Kirk went into turtle mode (this was a good decision by the way) and Iowa’s offense struggled moving the ball. With the wind, Iowa’s defense, and special teams play, Purdue was not going to get back into that ballgame. Purdue did sack Petras three times. It helps that Northwestern and Purdue aren’t Michigan or Ohio State, but Iowa’s offensive line has made progress the past few weeks. Logan Jones, Beau Stephens, Connor Colby, Mason Richman, and Jack Plumb all deserve a shout out.



The Hawks held the Boilermakers to 87 yards on the ground for an average of 2.8 yards per carry. Noah Shannon and Deontae Craig each collected five tackles. Craig, Lukas Van Ness, and Joe Evans all got a sack.

Aaron Graves had two tackles for a loss. He is going to be a beast.


I’m giving every defensive group a A. From a number of tackles standpoint Iowa’s linebackers didn’t have a stellar game, but holding a potent Purdue offense to three points is quite an accomplishment. Jack Campbell had six tackles on the day. I’d like to think that Campbell has a pretty good chance of being a consensus All-American. Jay Higgins and Seth Benson had four tackles each. Benson also intercepted an Aidan O’Connell pass. Benson and Campbell will be hard to replace next year. Both will play in The League. We Hawk fans are spoiled when it comes to tackling. One need only to watch a bad-tackling Purdue team to realize how good we have it.

DB/Cash: A

It was a strange game for Jeff Brohm. It felt like he wanted to get Charlie Jones 30 targets. The Hawks were fine keeping Jones in front of them. Jones got past our defense once but Cooper DeJean made a touchdown-saving tackle. Riley Moss was active on the day; he broke up three passes. Kaevon Merriweather tallied an interception. Sebastian Castro has been a physical presence on Iowa’s back end. Quinn Schulte led this group in tackles with six.

Special Teams: A-

Welcome back, Tory Taylor! After two subpar weeks from the Amazing Aussie, Taylor got back on track, booting the ball eight times for an average of 51.8 yards. He had two balls inside the twenty. He was masterful in kicking a low ball into the wind. He hit one with the wind at his back that looked like it could have gone about 80 yards.

Drew Stevens made his three extra points and a field goal from 26 yards. He missed from 44.

Cooper DeJean returned one punt for seventeen yards. Arland Bruce IV was banged up a bit so Coop got an opportunity. Bruce has done a nice job with this, but DeJean is special.

On to Wisconsin. I’m going back to my 2020 strategy of picking against the Hawks. It proved successful back then, it worked against Purdue, I’m rolling with it going forward. We all have to do our part. As always, Go Hawks!