Iowa was outplayed and outcoached by a team that had lost its last five games, featured a coach that’s clearly on the hot seat and hadn’t won in Kinnick Stadium in 20 years.
Iowa’s first-half execution was horrendous. The Hawkeyes were 1-7 on third down, had rushed for 18 yards on 14 carries and had given up 231 yards by halftime.
“They were more ready to play emotionally, more ready to play cleaner, more fundamentally sound,” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said. “You can say it’s this, it’s that, lunar moon, whatever. But that’s coaching. And that’s me.”
BY THE NUMBERS
4 — Consecutive Big Ten losses by Iowa, most since the end of the 2006 and beginning of 2007 seasons
5 — Consecutive losses for Purdue until beating Iowa
6 — Consecutive Purdue losses at Kinnick Stadium until Saturday
2.4 — Yards per carry for Iowa
4.9 — Average yards per carry for Purdue’s opponents before Saturday
F — What does it mean when your coach references “lunar moon” and “dog crap team” after a game? It means defeat.
- Marc Morehouse
D-minus — It was a deserved home loss to a Purdue team that was 0-5 in the Big Ten.
- Mike Hlas
F – Purdue, Purdon’t, Purdid. Iowa didn’t.
- Scott Dochterman
FOURTH AND FOREVER
After trailing by 10 points late in the third quarter, Iowa mustered up a comeback to tie the game at 24-24 with 3:32 left. After forcing Purdue to punt, Iowa had one chance to take the lead in the game’s final minute.
The Hawkeyes took over at their 14-yard line with 1:08 left and stormed to the Purdue 35, where they faced fourth-and-3. Instead of attempting a 53-yard field goal into the wind, Ferentz elected to go for the first down.
“We were out there pretty good, so I felt like that was a better percentage,” Ferentz said.
Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg passed to tight end Zach Derby in the flat for a 1-yard gain. Iowa turned over the ball on downs with 16 seconds left.
“We were trying to get hitches with (wide receiver) Kevonte (Martin-Manley) and (tight end) C.J. (Fiedorowicz), and I was just out in the flat,” Derby said.
DOG DAYS DEFENSE
Instead of playing for overtime, Purdue attacked Iowa’s defense. On the first play, quarterback Robert Marve scrambled for 17 yards to Iowa’s 49. The Boilermakers called timeout with 10 seconds left.
“Situations like that you want to keep the receivers in front of you,” Iowa cornerback Micah Hyde said. “Definitely don’t let the ball go over your head. We sat back and there was a huge hole in the middle. Give the quarterback credit.”
Marve then hit Antavian Edison on a 20-yard pass to Iowa’s 29 with 5 seconds left. Another timeout set up a 46-yard field-goal attempt by Paul Griggs.
“The last drive, we didn’t have any second guesses in our minds that if we could protect for Robert, we could kick a field goal,” Purdue Coach Danny Hope said.
KICKED IN THE GUT
Griggs, who had made only 3-of-6 field-goal attempts and none longer than 40 yards. He drilled his last attempt from 46 to give Purdue the victory and a chance at a second straight bowl game.
“It was a packed house, another hostile environment,” Hope said. “It was a big kick for Paul Griggs, and it will certainly be a difference maker in his development.”
Since losing tackle Brandon Scherff and guard Andrew Donnal in the first quarter against Penn State, Iowa has struggled mightily running the football. The Hawkeyes averaged 4.48 yards per carry through its first six games, which would rank 53rd nationally. Since then, Iowa has averaged 2.51 yards a carry, which would rank No. 120 of 124 teams nationally. The Hawkeyes entered Saturday’s game ranked 87th, averaging 3.89 yards per carry.
“I think the defense has something to do with that, our personnel has something to do with that, but we’re just not moving the ball, period,” Ferentz said. “To hang our hat on the run right now, it’s probably not going to be what we’re going to do. I don’t know that we can do that with a heavy percentage, but we still have to run the ball effectively if we’re going to win.”
Iowa senior cornerback Micah Hyde scored his third career touchdown on a 9-yard fumble return with 10 seconds left in the third quarter. Marve fumbled the ball in the backfield, and Hyde picked it up and waltzed in to cut the Hawkeyes’ deficit to 24-21. It was Iowa’s first fumble return for a touchdown since Bob Sanders took one back against Illinois in 2003.
Hyde later made two key defensive plays on a mid-fourth-quarter series that led to a Purdue punt. He blitzed from the weakside and was held by tackle Kevin Pamphile. One play later, he picked up quarterback Rob Henry’s fumble and raced 43 yards to the Purdue 8. After review, the Henry was ruled down.
“After a loss it doesn’t really matter because you’re not thinking about the positive plays, it’s more about the negative plays that you could have helped team out better,” Hyde said. “I know that personally. I missed some tackles.”
Hyde’s previous two touchdowns came in 2010. One was on a 66-yard lateral from safety Tyler Sash against Michigan State. The other was on a 72-yard interception return in the Insight Bowl.
Iowa has played in bowl games in 10 of the last 11 seasons and was eligible every year. But if the Hawkeyes can’t pull together wins at Michigan and at home against Nebraska, they’ll be home for Christmas for the first time since 2007.
Hyde, who tied for the team high with 11 tackles, took the loss hard.
“It was difficult,” he said. “You prepare so hard throughout the week and then you come out on Saturday and lose. Every loss is big but at four in a row, it’s definitely tough. I’m just thinking, ‘Wow, it happened again.”
SOMETHING TO CHEW ON
Iowa competes in four trophy games every year (well, not Wisconsin anymore). Of those four, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nebraska are all bowl eligible. If Iowa State (5-5) beats Kansas (1-9) next week, the Cyclones also will go bowling this year.
Iowa (4-6, 2-4) travels to Michigan (7-3, 5-1) next week in Ann Arbor. The Hawkeyes have won a series-record three straight against the Wolverines, who haven’t beaten Iowa since 2006.