By JAMES ALLAN
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue’s Spencer Evans connected on 25-yard game-winning field goal to send the Boilermakers to a 38-36 victory over the 19th-ranked University of Iowa football team Saturday afternoon at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Purdue took over at midfield with 4:30 remaining and trailing 36-35. Boilermaker running back Markell Jones started the drive with rushes of 12, 3, and 5 yards before being stopped for no gain on third-and-2. Purdue quarterback David Blough followed a wall on fourth down, rushing for 7 yards to move the chains.
After Iowa’s Julius Brents was flagged for pass interference in the end zone, moving the ball to the 16, Purdue’s D.J. Knox ran for 11 yards to the 5. The Boilermakers then rushed three times to set up Evans’ game-winning field goal.
The Boilermakers out-gained Iowa, 434-393, in the game with 333 yards coming through the air. Blough finished 23-of-32 for 333 yards and four touchdowns.
Iowa’s Nate Stanley finished 21-of-32 for 275 yards and one touchdown, while Iowa’s rushing attack had 118 yards. Sophomore Toren Young paced the team with 45 yards, while sophomore Mekhi Sargent rushed for 39 yards and scored two touchdowns. Redshirt sophomore T.J. Hockenson and Sargent both made four catches for 39 and 33 yards, respectively.
Defensively, Iowa forced two turnovers — interceptions by Jake Gervase and Amani Hooker. The latter set up the Hawkeyes’ go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. Gervase also had a team-high 10 tackles.
QUOTING HEAD COACH KIRK FERENTZ
“That was a tough loss to go through. We came into this game knowing Purdue was a dangerous, explosive football team. We talked about preparing hard and playing hard and our guys did a good job controlling both of those things, but we couldn’t control the big plays they hit on. We knew that was going to be a challenge, but we came up short, especially in the first half.
“The last possession both went different directions and officiating factored into both of them, that’s part of football and you live with that, too. All in all, we played hard, played to the finish and I don’t know what else they could do there. There were close plays and unfortunate errors on our part cost us. It was a tough loss for us and I feel bad for our players. I don’t know whatt else they could have done. Purdue laid it all out there, too. We have to find a way to get back out on our feet tomorrow and move forward.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Purdue took the opening kickoff 74 yards for a touchdown, giving the Boilermakers a 7-0 lead. It was the first touchdown Iowa’s defense has allowed on the opposition’s first drive this season. Blough completed five passes on the drive, including a 36-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Zico.
- The Hawkeyes answered with a 12-play, 90-yard touchdown drive on their opening possession. Iowa converted three third-downs, including a 12-yard completion to Hockenson at midfield. Stanley connected with Nate Wieting for 21 yards to the 8 and three plays later sophomore Ivory Kelly-Martin scored from 2-yards out to tie the game at seven.
- The Boilermakers regained the lead with a seven-play, 75-yard scoring drive on their second possession. Blough hit Brycen Hopkins for 57 yards on the second play to the Iowa 18. Five plays later Markell Jones powered his way in from 1-yard out to give Purdue the 14-7 lead with 3:40 left in the opening quarter.
- After back-to-back defensive stops, senior Kyle Groenweg set up a nine play, 35-yard scoring drive with a 38-yard punt return to the Iowa 49. Stanley hit Noah Fant for 16 yards on third-and-6 to the 19. After Iowa’s drive stalled, Miguel Recinos connected on a 34-yard field goal — his 10th consecutive make — cutting the deficit to 14-10 with 10:47 left in the second quarter.
- Purdue extended its lead to 21-10 with a 10-play, 89-yard scoring drive. The Boilermakers converted a fourth-and-1 from their own 42 before a roughing the passer penalty on A.J. Epenesa moved Purdue to the Iowa 40. After getting stopped for a 1-yard loss on first down, Blough hit Terry Wright for a 41-yard touchdown pass with 6:27 left in the first half.
- The Hawkeyes closed out the first half with a seven-play, 47-yard touchdown drive. Iowa was the beneficiary of 30 yards in penalties — a kick catch interference and a unsportsmanlike penalty call — giving Iowa starting field position at the Purdue 47. Stanley hit Kelly-Martin for 17 yards on third-and-3 from the 19 and two plays later Stanley snuck in for a 1-yard touchdown, cutting the deficit to 21-17.
- After forcing a three-and-out on the first Iowa drive of the second half, Purdue needed just one play to stretch its lead to 28-17. Wright beat Riley Moss for an 82-yard touchdown on a perfectly thrown ball from Blough. It was Wright’s second touchdown of the game.
- Iowa used a big play of its own during a five-play, 81-yard touchdown drive. Stanley hit Fant on a swing pass and he rumbled for 65 yards to the Purdue 12. On fourth-and-2 from the 4, Stanley hit Hockenson for a 4-yard touchdown, but Iowa went for two and the conversion failed, making the score 28-23 with 9:33 left in the third quarter.
- Iowa couldn’t capitalize on the game’s first turnover — a Gervase interception — as Iowa’s offense went three-and-out after starting the drive at its own 8. Purdue’s Rondale Moore set up the Boilermakers’ offense with a 24-yard punt return to the 18. Purdue stretched its lead to 35-23 on Blough’s 3-yard touchdown pass to Wright with 2:26 left in the third quarter.
- The Hawkeyes drove 75 yards over 12 plays to cut the deficit to 35-30. Stanley moved Iowa down the field through the air with completions of 13, 18, 12, and 13 yards to the Purdue 12. Five rushes later, Sargent scored from 1-yard out to pull the Hawkeyes to within five points.
- On the first play of Purdue’s ensuing drive, Hooker intercepted Blough at the 27 and returned it 11 yards to the 16. Stanley hit Sargent for 17 yards to the 5 and two plays later Sargent scored from 1-yard out to give Iowa its first lead at 36-35 with 10:19 remaining.
- Stanley threw one touchdown — it was his 43rd career touchdown pass, tying Matt Sherman for fourth all-time in school history. Stanley threw for 275 yards and moved into 10th place in career passing yards (4,511) and career total offense (4,433). Stanley rushed for one touchdown (1 yard), the first of his career.
- Fant’s 65-yard reception in the third quarter was Iowa’s longest play of the season. The drive ended in a 4-yard touchdown pass to Hockenson.
- Recinos scored six points, raising his career total to 152 and passing Albert Young (150) for No. 19 on Iowa’s all-time career scoring list. Recinos was perfect on three extra-point attempts and connected on a 34-yard field goal attempt. He has made his last 10 field goal attempts dating back to Week 3.
- Kyle Groeneweg’s 38-yard punt return in the second quarter was a career long.
- The 36 points scored by Iowa were the most points scored in a loss since falling 44-41 at Iowa State in 2011.
- Iowa drove 90 yards for a touchdown on its opening possession. It was Iowa’s second touchdown drive of 90-plus yards this season (UNI, 92). RB Ivory Kelly-Martin capped the drive with a two-yard rushing touchdown. It was Iowa’s first rushing touchdown since Week 5 (fourth quarter at Minnesota).
ON THE HORIZON
The Hawkeyes return to Kinnick Stadium on Nov. 10 to host Big Ten West-leading Northwestern. Game time and television information have yet to be announced.