In a week that featured a budding quarterback controversy, the Iowa defense stole the show in West Lafayette, Ind.
The Hawkeye defense was masterful on the road against Purdue on Saturday as Iowa once again rallied from a double-digit deficit and beat the Boilermakers 24-10 at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Iowa’s defense allowed just 72 rushing yards and 156 total yards against Purdue and the Boilermakers had just nine first downs. The home team also failed to drive more than 22 yards in their final 10 attempts with the ball offensively and never drove it more than 30 yards during any one possession in the game period.
“There was nothing easy about it today, and that’s how it is in Big Ten football,” said Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. “I am proud of the guys for how they battled, and I am pleased to get the win.”
Purdue’s only touchdown came on C.J. Beathard’s first-quarter pick 6, but the Hawkeyes sacked Purdue QB Danny Etling four times and picked off two of his 26 passes to seal the victory in the fourth quarter.
The Iowa offense was underwhelming again despite a quarterback change with Beathard. The sophomore signal caller threw for 245 yards and a touchdown in his first start but was just 17-of-37 through the air in the game. His pass catchers played a role in that though, dropping seven passes.
Purdue went up 7-0 after the pick 6 and then went up 10-0 after the Boilermakers made a 43-yard field goal in the second quarter.
Iowa rallied with 10 straight points in the second quarter and went into the locker room tied at 10-all. The Hawkeyes kept the momentum on their side in the second half after Beathard found Kevonte Martin-Manley for a 24-yard score and Mark Weisman ran in his second touchdown of the game to put the Hawkeyes up 14.
Martin-Manley’s touchdown was originally called incomplete but video review showed that the senior’s right feet hit in bounds as he hauled in the pass. The officials changed the call and it put Iowa up 17-10.
“I am trying to think of the last time a replay went our way — on a play like that,” said Ferentz. “That came at a great time. It was a good effort by C.J. and Kevonte. You need plays like that if you’re going to win games.”
Iowa ran for 175 yards. Weisman finished with 76 yards on 24 carries, while Jordan Canzeri tallied 63 yards on 15 carries. Damon Bullock did not make the trip due to injury, but Jonathan Parker filled in nicely with 43 receiving yards on two catches.
Weisman became the seventh player in Iowa history to reach 2,000 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns in a career during the victory.
Martin-Manley had five catches for 74 yards and the go-ahead score in the win, while Damond Powell had 53 yards on two catches. Beathard completed passes to eight different receivers.
The Hawkeye defense was led by John Lowdermilk’s seven tackles and two interceptions. The final pick came with no one in front of him and plenty of open space to reach paydirt, but Lowdermilk refused to run up the score and just slid to the ground in the open field.
Nate Meier also had 6 1/2 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks in the game, while Louis Trinca-Pasat and Josey Jewell also had a sack. The Iowa defense allowed six three-and-outs in the game.
“The offense stuck with it and the second half they pulled through,” said Meier. “The defense, we stuck with it the whole game and got things done.”
The Iowa offense was up-and-down all day. The four scoring drives by Iowa on Saturday were as follows: 8 plays, 53 yards; 15 plays, 78 yards; six plays 71 yards; 12 plays, 79 yards.
But Iowa also had plenty of three-and-outs. And the Hawkeyes turned it over on downs in the third quarter when they drove it 83 yards on 17 plays but failed on fourth down when the team could have tried for a short FG to take their first lead.
Etling threw for just 61 yards. Akeem Hunt did gain 90 yards on the ground, but the Iowa defense was a force to be reckoned with.
The Hawkeyes (4-1, 1-0) do not play next weekend but will return to action on Oct. 11 when they host Indiana (2-2, 0-1) at Kinnick Stadium.
The Hoosiers upset ranked Missouri two weeks ago but struggled in their Big Ten opener against Maryland, a game the Terrapins won 37-15.