Everything was weird yesterday.
For one, I got stuck on the elevator on the way down for postgame interviews. Hey, it happens and I was fine with it, but then the lady running the 'vator said there was a sensor that needed fixing and they hadn't bothered to get to it. Really, Purdue? Just going to leave the gameday elevator to chance?
That and there was some massive cheering in the press box. Now, what's the big deal there? Well, it's not really. I can work in the middle of a subway. It's a big deal to the Big Ten and the schools. In every press box I've ever visited, the SID reads a disclaimer reminding everyone it is a working press box and no cheering is allowed.
It got a little loud yesterday and the Iowa sports media contingent said something to the folks doing the cheering. It was quiet after that, but then again, Iowa had pretty much taken the air out of the game.
The day was lit by a 40-watt bulb. The stands were maybe two-thirds full. Is it the fact that you could reasonably argue that Purdue is a "basketball" school? Does that line still exist? If so, what's Iowa? I know Steve Alford's opinion.
The opponents locker room is a little hut that starts crowded for normal-sized people, so you can imagine what it is for college football-sized young gentlemen.
I don't know. Everything seemed a bit off, like it was a nightmare that doesn't wake you but rather leaves you wondering what was that?
This was as loud as it got, the Hawkeyes leaving the field to the cheers of fans who made the trip (there were way more than I thought, nicely done).
It will be a little different next Friday.
Yesterday's box score (game notes also are attached, worth a click to track McNutt):
Iowa's season stats (worth a click to track McNutt):
Here's irrepressible Pat Angerer giving HR.com's Tom Kakert the finger.
Closer look at the numbers
Closing the deal (Red zone TDs/possessions)
We covered this thoroughly with the Hawkeyes yesterday. One point to remember here, a few of the mistakes that killed these drives were made by young players who have time to figure it out. And that's a good thing, because Iowa lived through it at Purdue. QB James Vandenberg missed WR Kevonte Martin-Manley on a third-and-2 that killed a drive. Vandenberg doesn't miss much. Mike Meyer has made 2 of his last 6 field goals. He's only a sophomore. He has competition (not Trent Mossbrucker as much as Marshall Koehn). So, he'll improve, which is what Kirk Ferentz is betting on, or he'll be pushed out of a job. Mika'il McCall probably won't have another fumble like that in his career. As for Iowa's defense, it's been tough in the small area all season. Iowa leads the Big Ten and is 29th in the country in keeping opponents out of the end zone 53.06 percent of the time, one slot behind LSU.
Setting the tone (defensive three-and-outs)
Iowa 4 (Iowa got two in the second half when it was "put up or shut up." The Hawkeyes also had a 13-and-out, which is probably more rare.)
Purdue 5 (Turnovers in the second quarter beat down the Hawkeyes. And the official score sheet has Iowa punting on a third down in the fourth quarter. This would've happened when I was stranded in the elevator. Tell me this is not true.)
After adjustments (second-half yards and avg. yards per play)
Iowa 151-5.4 (This was one of those halves where punts were good enough. Plus, Marvin's 51-yarder skews.)
Purdue 165-3.8 (Purdue can't really run the ball and isn't consistent at QB. Purdue needs a QB for two or three years.)
Game-changers (offensive plays of 20-plus yards)
Iowa 4 (Three from WR Marvin McNutt — 26-yard TD on the first drive of the game, 21-yarder on a second-and-12 to massage a TD run on Iowa's next drive and 51-yard juggler that was as beautiful as it was strange. McNutt averages 17.2 yards a catch for his CAREER. Tim Dwight is next and he's almost a full yard behind McNutt.)
Purdue 2 (Again, Purdue is not particularly threatening in any phase. The no-huddle didn't even leave Iowa gassed that I can remember.)
Two-minute magic (points, final two minutes of half)
Iowa 7 (RB Marcus Coker cashed in from the 2 with 31 seconds left in the first half, giving Iowa its first two-minute magic points since a TD against Indiana with a minute left in the first half five weeks ago. So, along with the road victory, there's another monkey off Iowa's back.)Purdue 0 (Not a lot going on with the Purdue offense. Maybe the Boilers emptied the tank with the victory over Ohio State in the previous week.)