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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Purdue spoiled the University of Iowa football team’s Senior Day, handing the Hawkeyes a 24-15 defeat on Saturday afternoon inside a cold, windy Kinnick Stadium.
The loss drops the Hawkeyes’ record to 6-5 overall and 3-5 in Big Ten Conference play; Purdue stays in the hunt for a bowl game, improving to 5-6, 3-5.
Iowa led 9-7 at halftime before being outscored, 17-6, in the second half. Purdue had a 295-258 advantage in total offense, but its defense was the story. The Boilermakers lived in the Hawkeye offensive backfield, finishing the game with six sacks and 10 tackles for loss.
Purdue limited Iowa to 82 rushing yards and forced two Hawkeye turnovers.
Sophomore Nate Stanley finished 16-of-33 for 176 yards and one touchdown. Five of his completions went to junior Nick Easley, who had a team-high 60 receiving yards. Senior Akrum Wadley rushed for 78 yards on 22 carries and scored one touchdown.
Purdue trailed 9-7 at the break before taking control with two touchdowns in a three-minute stretch to start the second half. The Boilermakers ran seven plays, targeting receiver Anthony Mahoungou six times, where he made five catches for 126 yards and two touchdowns.
Boilermaker quarterback Elijah Sinclair had a 42-yard touchdown pass on a fade route to Mahoungou against defensive back Manny Rugamba to give Purdue a 14-9 lead. On the next series, Sinclair found his senior wide receiver again for a 16-yard strike on a fade, this time over junior Michael Ojemudia, to extend the lead to 21-9 with 11:59 remaining in the third quarter.
“We gave up some deep balls,” said UI head coach Kirk Ferentz. “You can’t win doing that. At least if you make people drive the ball and sustain drives then you have a chance to get them off track a little bit. When you give up the big play you can’t do that.”
WHEN IT WAS OVER
Trailing 21-9, Iowa drove into Purdue territory midway through the fourth quarter with a glimmer of hope. On second-and-8, Stanley targeted tight end T.J. Hockenson, but Purdue’s Navon Mosley came down with a tipped pass for an interception, giving the Boilermakers possession at their own 42.
Iowa’s defense surrendered a quick first down before forcing a punt, but Matt VandeBerg misplayed the 17-yard punt and Purdue recovered the fumble at the Iowa 24. The Boilermakers put the game away with a 27-yard field goal by J.D. Dellinger, pushing their lead to 24-9.
Senior Josey Jewell finished with 13 tackles (five solo) in his final game inside Kinnick Stadium. The Decorah, Iowa, native had two sacks, three tackles for loss, and three pass breakups.
QUOTING COACH FERENTZ
“It was a disappointing, frustrating game for our team. Early when we got challenged, we weren’t able to execute the way you need to execute. We didn’t get it done.
“I told our team you win as a team, you lose as a team, and certainly tonight that’s the case; we lost as a football team. As you look at it we were hoping for a higher level of consistency in our play. That wasn’t there. That makes it frustrating and disappointing. I don’t know what else to say about that. That’s where we’re at right now.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Purdue took advantage of an Iowa roughing the punter penalty to take a 7-0 lead on its first possession of the game. The Boilermakers converted 3-of-4 third downs before Sinclair rolled to his right and threw a bullet to D.J. Knox for a 5-yard touchdown pass. Purdue’s drive consisted of 16 plays and covered 67 yards.
- The Boilermakers were driving on their second possession before Jewell single-handedly halted the drive. He blew up a bubble screen, nearly decapitating Terry Wright, on first-and-10 from the 24 before sacking Sinclair for an 11-yard loss on the next play. Purdue went on to punt from the Iowa 35.
- The Hawkeyes sustained a drive on their next possession, moving 52 yards over eight plays, but it stalled at the Purdue 34. Stanley pooch-punted and the ball was downed at the 3; the swing in field position led to Iowa’s first points.
- After stuffing Knox for no-gain on first down, the Iowa defense scored for the third straight week when senior Nathan Bazata sacked Sinclair for a second-quarter safety, cutting the lead to 7-2.
- The wind knocked down Purdue’s ensuing kickoff and it sailed out-of-bounds, giving Iowa starting field position at the 50. A steady dose of Wadley moved the Hawkeyes to the Purdue 24 before Iowa needed an 18-yard completion to Matt VandeBerg on fourth-and-5 to the 2. Wadley scored on the next play, giving Iowa a 9-7 lead.
- The Hawkeyes were shutout in the second half until the 59th minute. Trailing 24-9, Iowa moved 45 yards over 11 plays, which culminated with a 6-yard touchdown reception by Noah Fant. Iowa went for two, but Purdue brought the house, and the attempt failed, essentially sealing the Boilermaker victory.
- Josey Jewell had 13 tackles, marking his 21st career game with double-digit tackles. Jewell has 418 career tackles, passing Chad Greenway (416) today for fifth all-time in program history.
- Matt VandeBerg has a reception in 30 consecutive games played. He has 131 career receptions –10th most in program history. He has 1,652 career receiving yards –16th in program history. VandeBerg is 33 yards from passing Bill Happel in career receiving yards, and four receptions from tying Ed Hinkel in receptions.
- Akrum Wadley is one of 15 players in program history to rush for 2,000 career yards. He has 495 career carries for 2,625 rushing yards, sixth all-time. He surpassed Owen Gill, Tony Stewart, and Mark Weisman on Iowa’s all-time career rushing yards list. He now ranks sixth all-time.
- Wadley has 24 career rushing touchdowns, tying for fourth all-time, 31 career touchdowns, sixth all-time, and 186 career points, 12th all-time. Wadley has 3,443 career all-purpose yards, ninth most in program history (2,625 rush, 718 receiving, 100 KO returns).
- Fant has 25 receptions, including a team-high eight touchdowns. The eight touchdowns are a single-season record for an Iowa tight end. He has 14 more catches that resulted in a first down. Fant’s eight touchdowns are the most by a Hawkeye since Marvin McNutt caught 12 touchdown passes in 2012.
- Nathan Bazata recorded his third sack of the season in the second quarter for a safety. The last time Iowa registered a safety was Jaleel Johnson vs. Michigan on Nov. 12, 2016.
Iowa closes out the regular season Nov. 24, traveling to Lincoln, Nebraska, to face Nebraska in the Hy-Vee Heroes Game at Memorial Stadium. Game time is set for 3 p.m. (CT).