Oct. 7, 2006
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -All week long, the question dogging Iowa was its ability to regroup after being beaten by top-ranked Ohio State.
The 19th-ranked Hawkeyes responded Saturday, with Drew Tate throwing for 253 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 47-17 victory over Purdue.
Damian Sims, in his first career start, rushed for two scores and a career-high 155 yards for Iowa (5-1, 2-1 Big Ten). Adam Shada had a 98-yard interception return for a touchdown, the longest in Hawkeyes’ history.
“I was just saying that after the Ohio State game, we’re going to have to play on, no matter good, bad or indifferent,” said Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, whose team was beaten 38-17 at home by the Buckeyes.
“We had our defense play some tremendous football, particularly in the first half. And I thought our offense came out better than at any point this year,” Ferentz said.
Purdue entered the game with an offense averaging 36.8 points per game, the nation’s fifth best passing attack and it’s own hopes of bouncing back after losing for the first time last week at Notre Dame.
But the Boilermakers (4-2, 1-1) fell behind early, the defense failed to pressure Tate and gave up rushing yards in chunks – all of which led to the biggest margin of defeat since a 28-point loss to Michigan in 2003.
Purdue amassed 456 total yards, but much of that came in the second half as they scrambled to cut into a 24-point deficit.
Curtis Painter was 22-of-46 for 249 yards and a touchdown, but his two interceptions led to 10 Hawkeyes points. The Boilermakers also rushed for a season-high 202 yards.
After finding some positives in the loss to Notre Dame, Purdue coach Joe Tiller was not so pleased with Saturday’s performance.
“This week we took a step in reverse,” Tiller said.
For the first time all year, the Hawkeyes jumped out to a commanding early lead.
Tate, who has struggled this season with an abdominal strain that has forced him to miss practices, completed eight of his first nine passes, including a 52-yarder to Andy Brodell.
Iowa scored first on a 1-yard plunge by Sims, then added another minutes later when Tate threw a 3-yard TD to fullback Tom Busch.
Tate’s second TD pass came in the third quarter when he flicked a 4-yard TD pass to tight end Scott Chandler, putting Iowa up 34-10.
“We didn’t lose the last game and mope,” said Tate, the Big Ten’s second leading passer. “We wanted to respond this week, and we did. And we did it real well. We’re not bad when we’re clicking.”
One of Iowa’s biggest surprises was Sims.
Starting in place of injured Albert Young, Sims exploited huge holes opened up by Iowa’s front five.
After fumbling deep in Purdue territory on the opening drive, Sims atoned for the mistake with a nifty 36-yard dash down the sideline to set up Iowa’s first touchdown.
With Iowa driving on its first possession of the third quarter, Sims ripped off runs of 11 and 12 yards before scoring on an 8-yarder up the middle, putting the Hawkeyes up 27-10.
“This is the time to get our running game started,” said Sims, the first Hawkeyes player to rush for more than 100 yards this season. “We’ve been saying we needed to get a 100-yard game. I’m just glad I was able to do it.”
The Boilermakers showed signs of life early in the second half, answering Iowa’s score with a pair of third-quarter touchdowns.
Painter led Purdue on a five-play, 81-yard scoring drive, capped by an 18-yard TD pass to Greg Orton.
After Iowa went up 34-10, Purdue answered with Jaycen Taylor’s 16-yard TD run.
On the following possession, Boilermaker defensive end Anthony Spencer stripped the ball from Sims and Brandon Irwin recovered it at the Iowa 34.
But the Hawkeye defense stiffened, sacking Painter on third down to force a 45-yard field goal that Chris Summers pushed left.
The Hawkeyes put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter when Shada stepped in front of Painter’s pass at the Iowa 2 and went the distance.