The Big Ten released their revised protected rivalries for the 2024-2028 seasons earlier this week and the Purdue Boilermakers are officially at war with Illinois. They have always been at war with Illinois. They are no longer at war with Iowa. They have never been at war with Iowa.
And while the Boilers are technically no longer our most hated rivals, they are the team on the docket this week as the Hawkeyes return to Kinnick Stadium for homecoming.
In the words of the wise and sage-like Big Tom Callahan, you can get a good look at a t-bone by sticking your head up a bull’s rear end, but wouldn’t you rather take the butcher’s word for it?
So rather than sticking our head up anyone’s rear end, we’re asking our friends over at Hammer and Rails for their words on the Purdue Boilermakers. We were joined by Andrew Ledman over at HnR to talk all things Purdue this week. Here’s a look at our conversation.
BHGP: Let’s start high level. The Boilermakers are under the direction of new head coach Ryan Walters after running up a 4-2 record against Iowa under former head coach Jeff Brohm. Philosophically, how does Walters differ from Brohm and in what ways might he be similar?
HnR: Brohm was more of an all business no nonsense kind of guy. He is more of an old school guy as well. He was of course focused entirely on the offense because as a former QB that is his thing. Walters is 180 degrees different. He’s a defense first guy, he’s young, and he seems to be more of a player’s coach. Just from a personality perspective it’s not hard to see the vast differences.
BHGP: Like Walters, starting QB Hudson Card is in his first year with the Boilermakers. Statistically, it seems he’s had a bit of an up and down start to his Boilermaker career, but is completing more than 63% of his passes and has thrown for at least 200 yards in every game. What does Card bring to the Purdue passing attack and how do you expect he and the Boilers to attack this Iowa secondary?
HnR: He’s an accurate passer and he can make throws all over the field. We haven’t really yet seen throws that he cannot make. The biggest plus right now though might be that he’s mobile. Purdue’s offensive line has been a weakness this year and having a QB with the ability to make things happen on his own has been a huge help. So far the Purdue passing attack has been attacking every level of opponent’s secondary. Too often though they rely on horizontal passing and forget the downfield throw. That may be what they do this week given the strength of Iowa’s secondary. That said, he is capable of all of these throws.
BHGP: Sticking with the offense, a familiar face is leading the way out of the Boiler backfield. After telling the Iowa coaches no to playing RB, Tyrone Tracy is is averaging more than 6 yards per carry and has found paydirt every game this year for Purdue. How has he found success this year and what do you expect from Tracy, Devin Mockabee and the Purdue rushing attack on Saturday?
HnR: I think he’s just been given the opportunity that he’s not had elsewhere. It’s obvious he’s got talent that’s not earth shattering news. Tracy has shown an ability to get to the hole fast and explode through. He’s got the ability to make the opponent miss but sometimes you just need a guy who can hit the hole and make something happen. The running back position had its best game of the year against Illinois and there’s a hope that they’ve finally put it all together. In addition to Tracy and Mockobee Purdue also has Dylan Downing who is a starter caliber back. Between those three the hope is that Purdue can stay fresh and rotate in guys then if one of them gets hot ride them for a bit.
BHGP: On the other side of the ball, it’s no secret the Hawkeyes have struggled offensively for the last two seasons (and let’s be honest, the last two decades for the most part). But the Boilermaker defense hasn’t exactly been a juggernaut either, giving up nearly 30 points per game, including an average of 37 points to Fresno State, Syracuse and Wisconsin. What has gone wrong for the Purdue defense this year and how do you expect them to approach this struggling Iowa offense?
HnR: The secondary has shall we say a lot of problems. They’ve allowed numerous WRs to get behind them for wide open receptions including numerous touchdowns that were far far too easy. Plus, they tend to not be the surest tacklers which is not something you want out of your secondary. We do have some people who are good at getting to the ball including Cam Allen but sometimes that can make them overly aggressive. Also, the other issue is containing a running QB. Purdue has allowed multiple QBs to just run all over them as if they were Michael Vick. It’s been tough to watch.
BHGP: OK, prediction time. The hawkeyes opened up as 3.5-point favorites in the one with an over/under at 41.5 total points according to our friends over at DraftKings Sportsbook. How do you see this one playing out and what’s your final score prediction?
HnR: It does feel like it’s going to be a low scoring game. I thought Purdue had a good chance at the game last year and then we saw what happened. I think the injury to McNamara is going to have more of an impact that one might think, and that the Iowa offense might struggle more than usual (cut to them scoring 35 points). Purdue is in the midst of finding themselves on both sides of the ball. I’ll take Purdue 21-17.
Oh great, another L to the Boilermakers on homecoming.
Thanks again to Andrew for taking the time to chat about our most hated rival with us this week. Be sure to stop over to Hammer and Rails before we get to gameday and see their other coverage of the matchup, including a Q&A with yours truly.