Game Preview: Purdue Boilermakers
Iowa returns to action after back-to-back losses to ranked opponents when they welcome the Purdue Boilermakers to Kinnick Stadium on Saturday for an 11 A.M. kick. Purdue comes to Kinnick sporting a 2-4 record with a 1-2 mark in Big Ten play off a 40-14 victory over the Maryland Terrapins last week. Iowa will enter with a record of 4-2 (1-2 in the Big Ten) off a 17-12 defeat at the hands of the Penn State Nittany Lions last Saturday night. Iowa is clinging to their Top 25 ranking, checking in at No. 23 in the AP poll and No. 22 in the Coaches Poll. Iowa has lost the two contests against the Boilermakers by a combined score of 62-51 since Jeff Brohm took over as head coach at Purdue.
Iowa's Offense Against The Nittany Lions Defense
This matchup could be the medicine that an ailing Iowa offense needs to get back on track after two consecutive disappointing outings. Purdue has struggled to slow opposing offenses down en route to allowing 29.8 points per game, which ranks 90th in the country according to Sports Reference. The Boilermakers aren't just giving up points, as they have allowed opposing offenses to gain nearly 450 yards of total offense per game and nearly 170 rushing yards per game. Purdue is also without one of its defensive leaders this season, as defensive lineman Markus Bailey will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury.
Iowa's offensive backfield should have a field day in this game, as Purdue has struggled mightily to slow down opposing rushing attacks. This should be a great opportunity for the Iowa offensive line to gain some confidence and impose their will over a banged up and largely overmatched Boilermaker defense.
I expect Iowa to do just that. Both Tyler Goodson and Mehki Sargent should be poised for a big day, as I would anticipate 60 to 70% of Iowa's offensive snaps being run plays. Nate Stanley will have a couple of opportunties to throw the ball, but the gameplan should be largely centered around the running game and establishing confidence in a young offensive line. Iowa should be able to put up plenty of points in this one and end up right around 45 points on the day.
Iowa's Defense Against The Nittany Lions Offense
If Iowa fans are looking for something to worry about it should be this matchup. Purdue has had Iowa's number since Jeff Brohm arrived at Purdue, with his default setting seeming to be "when in doubt air it out" on Iowa's defense. Their gameplan will likely reflect that again this year..
The good news for Iowa is that Purdue's biggest weapon on offense in Rondale Moore will not play this week after suffering multiple leg injuries in recent weeks. Couple the loss of Moore with Purdue starting quarterback Elijah Sindelar being out for the season, the Hawkeyes secondary should feel more comfortable with this game than they did at the beginning of the season.
Despite those injuries, the Iowa secondary will be tested against this Purdue offense and will be covering deep throws all day long. The key to an Iowa victory will be keeping the Boilermaker receivers from taking the top off the defense and forcing Purdue to methodically march their way down the field.
Utimately, the Purdue injuries prove to be too much for the Boilermakers to overcome and the Iowa defense emerges triumphant in this matchup. The Iowa defensive line should have opportunities to get home against backup signal caller Jack Plummer and this could be a game that sees the Iowa defensive line piling up sacks for the first time this year. The defensive secondary likely gets burned a couple of times throughout the game, but they should be able limit those big plays and keep the deep passing game largely in check.
The Iowa defense holds Purdue to 24 points and forces a couple of turnovers to kickstart the ailing Iowa offense.
Special teams shouldn't play a big role in this game, as Iowa shouldn't be punting all too often. Ihmir Smith-Marsette should get a couple of opportunities on kickoff returns and this may be the game he breaks one off for a touchdown. Nico Rigaini should be more aggressive in fielding punts this week, as he has let a number of punts drop over the last couple weeks that resulted in Iowa getting pinned deep in its own territory. Iowa's special teams should have the advantage in this contest.
Iowa makes a return this week to the team that we saw in the first four weeks of the season. The team that convincingly dominated both lines of scrimmage and moved the ball seemingly at will. Purdue will put up a fight offensively, but just isn't as threatening today as they were coming into the season.
Tyler Goodson not only gets his first career touchdown, but he also gets his second. Nate Stanley inches closer to the all-time mark for career touchdown passes, tossing two in this game.
Purdue hangs around and the Iowa lead doesn't feel comfortable until well into the 3rd quarter. Ultimately, Iowa proves to be too much for an overwhelmed and undermanned Purdue Boilermakers team. Iowa emerges with a 21 point victory.
As always, On Iowa! and Go Hawks!
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