Hawkeyes wear down in West Lafayette

Oct. 20, 2007

Box Score | Notes | Photo Gallery

Kirk’s weekly media conference (Oct. 16)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue ended the University of Iowa football team’s three-game stranglehold on the Boilermakers by running 91 plays and defeating the Hawkeyes 31-6 Saturday at Ross-Ade Stadium in a game that was closer than the final score indicates.

Iowa wore down defensively in the second half while the Boilermakers enjoyed an 11-minute edge in possession time, thanks to a 12 of 21 effort on third down. The Hawkeyes trailed 14-3 at halftime and had plenty of hope until the Iowa defense wore down during the final 30 minutes.

“Purdue was on top of it’s game today and they made us pay for it,” Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz said. “We’ve got four ball games left and no one is pitching it in.”

Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter gave Iowa fits, completing 29 of 48 passes for 315 yards and three touchdowns. The Boilermakers are 6-2 overall, 2-2 in the Big Ten. Iowa is 3-5, 1-4.

“Purdue played an excellent football game,” Ferentz said. “They played very well today and they were clearly the better team on the field.”

Two Iowa receivers put up monster numbers — James Cleveland hauled in seven passes for 101 yards and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos caught six for 57. Quarterback Jake Christensen put the ball in the air 40 times, completing 17, for 177 yards. Purdue won the overall yardage battle 431 to 254 and earned 29 first downs to Iowa’s 14.

Hawkeye defensive end Bryan Mattison finished with four tackles, two sacks and a pass break-up.

Iowa’s offense came out slinging on its first possession, throwing the ball five times on six plays. The lone completion was a 22-yarder for a first down to Cleveland and that play was successful thanks to the Hawkeyes — and specifically fullback Tom Busch — for picking up the Boilermaker blitz.

Purdue drew first blood on its initial series, converting on three consecutive third downs and taking a 7-0 lead on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Painter to tight end Dustin Keller with 9-minutes, 28-seconds remaining in the first period. The Boilermakers drove 77 yards on 12 plays –mixing five runs with seven passes. The next possession, Mattison sacked Painter on third down forcing Purdue to punt after a three-play drive that began at the Iowa 49.

“Purdue was on top of it’s game today and they made us pay for it. We’ve got four ball games left and no one is pitching it in.”
Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz

The Hawkeyes opened the next drive with a 6-yard pass reception from Christensen to Cleveland and then Albert Young benefitted from a Bryan Bulaga block to sprint 26 yards into Purdue territory at the 48. Although Iowa was held scoreless on that series, the Hawkeyes would not be denied the next time the offense took the field. Christensen and Co. received prime starting position at the Boilermaker 29 after Mike Klinkenborg intercepted a Painter pass. Yards through the air became tougher for the Purdue quarterback. On first down he had a pass batted away by Mike Humpal and on second down he threw the interception.

The Hawkeyes went to work. Christensen completed a pass to Johnson-Koulianos to the 20 and then Young hauled the ball to the 17, where the drive stalled. Iowa’s Daniel Murray put the Hawkeyes on the board with a 35-yard field goal, cutting the Boilermaker deficit to 7-3, with 1:33 left in the first period.

The Iowa defense stiffened at the end of the first period. Purdue’s final drive of the stanza consisted of a rush for no yards, an incomplete hurried pass by Painter, who had Mitch King breathing down his neck, and then a completed pass that was stopped well shy of the first down by Jordan Bernstine. If that stand made Iowa fans smile, the next would make them scream with delight. Purdue used five rushes, four pass completions and two pass interference penalties to take the ball from its own 20 to the Iowa 18. On second down, Painter had his pass tipped away by Matt Kroul. On third down King and Mattison combined to send Painter back 11 yards with a sack. Instead of attempting a long field goal, Purdue tried a pooch punt that floated into the end zone for a touchback.

Purdue made it 14-3 with 4:14 left in the half when Painter found Dorien Bryant for a 22-yard touchdown. Iowa missed a break on the drive when Adam Shada forced a fumble after a Greg Orton reception, but the Boilermakers retained possession and five plays later found themselves with an 11-point advantage.

Iowa didn’t answer offensively on its next drive, but the Hawkeye defense remained a disruptive force when it returned to the turf. The Boilermakers went into 2-minute offense mode with 1:21 left in the half and it nearly cost them. On second down, Charles Godfrey broke up a pass. On third down, Painter’s arm was hit by Mattison and the ball bounced incomplete. A shanked punt gave Iowa the ball at the Purdue 41 with just over a minute to go before the break, but the Hawkeyes couldn’t steal any late points.

Christensen completed 8 of 22 passes for 87 yards in the first half. Cleveland caught three for 49 yards; Johnson-Koulianos caught three for 33. Young was the leading rusher for the Hawkeyes with 44 yards on seven carries. Purdue held advantages in the team statistics, including first downs (14 to 7) and total yards (182 to 138). The Boilermakers converted 5 of 9 third down conversions, while Iowa was 1 of 9.

“We did some good things today,” Ferentz said. “We would move the ball and then stall out and we’re not a good third-and-long team right now.”

The second half started as a punt-fest until Murray brought the Hawkeyes within eight points with a 31-yard field goal with 8:19 left in the third period. Iowa opened the drive at midfield and Christensen connected with three different receivers — Johnson-Koulianos, Cleveland and Brandon Myers — to move the ball. Christensen kept things alive several times with his feet and no play was more obvious than an impressive completion to Cleveland. On second-and-10, Christensen somehow avoided a sack and found Cleveland for a 19-yard gain.

Purdue added to the lead (21-6) with 5:17 left in the period when Painter and Bryant hooked up for a 33-yard touchdown pass on third-and-12. Johnson-Koulianos gave Iowa immediate life with a 51-yard kickoff return to the Boilermaker 36, but the Purdue defense forced the Hawkeyes into a punt.

A gamble by Purdue on fourth down paid off and the Boilermakers eventually made it 28-6 when Kory Sheets dove in from a yard with 13:26 remaining to cap a 13-play, 80-yard drive that began with 4:05 left in the third period.

Purdue sealed the victory when cornerback Terrell Vinson intercepted a Christensen pass intended for Johnson-Koulianos at the Purdue 2. It was just the third interception thrown by Christensen all season. The turnover squelched an impressive drive by Iowa that included a 22-yard pass reception from Christensen to Cleveland, a third-down conversion (10-yard pass from Christensen to Paul Chaney, Jr.) and a fourth-down conversion (10-yard run by Damian Sims).

An uncharacteristic fumble by Sims with 3:20 left and Iowa driving allowed Purdue to start a series on the Hawkeye 6. Iowa’s defense was again sharp and limited the Boilermakers to a 30-yard field goal by Chris Summers with 2:04 left and making the final score, 31-6.

“We squandered some good field position opportunities,” Ferentz said. “We needed to come out of there with more points there, preferably touchdowns.”

Click HERE for more information about the Big Ten Network.