Hawkeyes Fall To No. 16 Purdue

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WEST LAYFAYETTE, IN. — Keeping the Hawkeyes winless outside of the state, No. 16 Purdue scored 13 unanswered points in the first half to defeat 10th-ranked Iowa, 27-14, inside Ross-Ade Stadium on Saturday.

The Hawkeyes couldn’t overcome 10 penalties for 72 yards, or a Purdue defense that held them to just 98 yards rushing.

“They were the better team out there today,” coach Kirk Ferentz said. “They made the plays you have to make to be successful, and we didn’t unfortunately.”

But while Iowa mourned lost opportunities, it could celebrate the returns of wide receiver Maurice Brown and running back Jermelle Lewis, who were both able to emerge as stars for the squad after prolonged injuries.

However, even Brown and Lewis couldn’t find the right combinations in the first half of the game.

After breaking a five-game skid of failing to produce on its opening drive last week against Illinois, Iowa couldn’t gain any ground on the Boilermakers on its first drive.

But Purdue didn’t either, until a bizarre, late call by the side judge ruled a clearly out-of-bounds third-and-seven catch by John Standeford in-bounds for a 17-yard gain.

Thanks to the controversial call, the Boilermakers were given new life and added 32 yards and a touchdown by Jerod Void to strike first. They went 52 yards over six plays to score in the first four minutes of the game.

Iowa was able to reach midfield on its next drive thanks to a slant-pattern, 21-yard catch by Brown on the Hawkeyes second successful third down conversion of the game.

But the 50-yard line was the best Iowa could reach after an incomplete pass by quarterback Nathan Chandler, a loss of three yards by Fred Russell and a 2-yard run by Chandler.

Having missed five of the last six games due to an injury, Brown made a grand re-entry to regular action by getting three catches for 43 yards by the end of the first quarter. He had eight catches for 126 yards for the game.

“It’s almost as if the foot injury has improved his hands,” Ferentz said. “He’s been catching the ball really well in practices and today was no exception. He’s not full speed, but he had a much better week of practice. He’s not quite coming in on the breaks the way he has in the past, but that’s going to come.”

“It’s almost as if the foot injury has improved his hands. He’s been catching the ball really well in practices and today was no exception. He’s not full speed, but he had a much better week of practice. He’s not quite coming in on the breaks the way he has in the past, but that’s going to come.”
Head Coach Kirk Ferentz on Maurice Brown

The Hawkeyes ended the first quarter with an 11-play drive that included a pass to Brown for a touchdown, but not unlike Russell’s attempted scoring run in the Penn State game, Brown’s catch was called back due to an illegal procedure penalty.

“We jumped into a personnel group formation we hadn’t had for a while, and it involved a guy who hadn’t played a lot,” said Ferentz. “It cost us a touchdown.”

The penalty moved the Hawkeyes back to the 17-yard line and forced a 34-yard field goal attempt by Nate Kaeding. But Kaeding missed his first field goal all year wide-right to leave Iowa trailing 7-0 going into the second quarter.

Ben Jones added a 44-yard field goal at 10:23 in the second to go 10-up on Hawkeyes.

On their next chance, the Hawks had two penalties for 15 yards that put themselves in a third-and-17 position on their own 18-yard line, but Chandler connected with Ramon Ochoa, who broke out of a tackle before the first down marker, for 30 yards.

But the missed opportunities continued in the first half as Chandler missed a wide-open Calvin Davis on the next play and took a 4-yard-loss sack on the third down play to force a punt at midfield.

When Iowa got the ball back, Chandler was sacked for a 9-yard-loss and had the wind knocked out of him in the process. So with 5:23 left, freshman Drew Tate entered the game.

Tate rushed for eight yards on the first play, threw an incomplete pass to Edgar Cervantes and couldn’t come back from the 19-yard deficit he had to work with.

Two bad punts set Purdue up for a 42-yard field goal by Jones with seven seconds left in the first half. As the ball easily passed through the uprights, time expired leaving the Hawkeyes trailing 13-0 at the break.

In the second half, quarterback Kyle Orton connected with Anthony Chambers for a 45-yard touchdown pass in the first two minutes.

Then halfway through the third quarter, Void made a 1-yard scoring run to cap off a 14-play, 63-yard drive to create a 27-0 deficit for Iowa.

Void was the game’s leading rusher with 34 carries for 120 yards and two touchdowns.

“They really have expanded their package,” Ferentz said of the Boilermaker offense. “They ran the ball better today — really the whole year — than they have in the past. They’ll still give you four or five wides out there, so there’s a different preparation.

“The big story is that their offensive line has really grown in the last two years, and they’re really taking advantage of that right now. If you can get the lead, run the football, and they’ve always played great defense, it’s a pretty good combination.”

But the Hawkeyes did pull it together through the rest of the game, and Chandler made a 3-yard run with 3:05 left in the third to get on the board.

In the fourth, Chandler connected with Lewis on an 8-yarder for Iowa’s second touchdown to conclude the longest scoring series of the game — 67 yards on 12 plays.

Lewis, who is still recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament and surgery last spring, was Iowa’s leading rusher with seven carries for 56 yards.

“One of the highlights was seeing Jermelle and Maurice get out there and make some plays,” said Ferentz. “Now we have to get everyone to join them. To get those two guys back will be helpful, if we can keep them moving in the right direction.

“But today just wasn’t our day. We didn’t have it, especially in that first half.”

“Today was not a good day for us, but we’ll get back up on our feet. I’d be surprised if we didn’t.”
Head Coach Kirk Ferentz

The loss was the worst for Iowa since a 28-point defeat to Ohio State three years ago.

While Purdue (8-2) joins Ohio State and Michigan at the top of the Big Ten with 5-1 conference records, Iowa levels at 3-3 in the league and 7-3 overall. The Hawkeyes face Minnesota next week for their last home game.

“That’s where our focus has to go right now,” Ferentz said. “This one is going to hurt for a while, but we have to get back up Monday morning. There’s a lot of football left. We have a good football team.

“Today was not a good day for us, but we’ll get back up on our feet. I’d be surprised if we didn’t.”

Barry Pump, hawkeyesports.com