We're going bowling. Woo!!
Hello, Jordan Canzeri. And really hello again, offensive line. The O-line just destroyed Purdue up front. The running backs were consistently getting 5+ yards before contact. And boy did Canzeri and Damon Bullock take advantage of those holes. Both averaged over 8 yards per carry without breaking any really long runs. The run game really opened up some deep play-action passes for Jake Rudock and he found Don Shumpert for a couple of long throws. Shumpert had his best day as a Hawk...ditto for Canzeri and George Kittle (who had 3 catches).
It felt for a while at the start of the game that the offense might struggle. But once it got rolling from the second quarter on, the only real blemish was the 3-and-out at the beginning of the 3rd quarter.
Momentum was swinging back and forth for a while in this game. The fumbled punt and ensuing score by Purdue was a huge swing in their favor. They reached the redzone for the first time in forever. They actually scored a TD for the first time in forever. And tied the game 7-7. The Boilermakers had to be feeling pretty good about themselves.
The Iowa offense responded with a 10 play, 67 yard drive capped off by a beautiful throw from Jake Rudock to Kevonte Martin-Manley for a 22-yard TD. Purdue's momentum killed, for the time being.
Coming out of halftime, only trailing by 7, Purdue probably felt pretty good about themselves again, given Iowa's typical second half struggles. After trading 3-and-outs, Purdue started getting a drive going a little bit. Danny Etling completed a couple of 11 yard passes and was able to scramble for a few yards driving to Iowa's side of the field. But then the defense came up with a big play forcing a fumble. The offense responded by running it down the Boilermaker's throats with an 8 play drive (7 rushes) for 71 yards. 21-7...game over.
Iowa's offense came out after halftime and promptly went 3-and-out. I was starting to feel, "Oh no, here we go again" and then the offensive line took over the game. Greg Davis rightfully decided to ride the line and the running backs and pounded the ball over and over. Iowa's rushing attack looked dominant again the way it had early in the season. There was the right mix of play-action as well, and Rudock hit some long passes that helped drives get going. The defense also responded well and shut down Purdue run game that had picked up a few yards getting to the outside in the first half.
Iowa was a perfect 5 for 5 in the redzone on Saturday with 4 TDs. The one FG came after Jacob Hillyer dropped a pass in the endzone on a 3rd-and-6 in the third quarter. It was a tough ball to catch, but still catchable. Anyway, Iowa was successful in the redzone the same way it was successful everywhere else on the field...running the ball. Mark Weisman and Canzeri had rushing TDs (so did C.J. Beathard). And then the TD pass to Jake Duzey was an easy pitch and catch thanks to the run fake.
We probably can't take too much for beating up on Purdue. But hey, bowl eligibility is a big deal after the 4-8 disaster last year. And, getting some confidence back in the run game can't hurt going into the bye week setting up for 2 big games to finish up the season.