I had a chance to watch the Iowa-Purdue football game again late Sunday night. Here are some things that stood out to me as the Hawkeyes move into their bye week.
C.J. Beathard was up and down
There is a QB controversy at Iowa. But I don’t think it’s as big of a deal as most do. Beathard has played well. Rudock played well before he got injured. Beathard was not good for the first quarter on Saturday. The pick 6 was a poor pass, but he rebounded to play much better the rest of the way.
The sophomore from Tennessee had 20 incompletions, but his pass catchers also dropped seven passes.
Wide receiver drops
When Beathard took over the job, many fans said that he had a more catchable ball. But the receivers are still dropping passes so that theory may no longer be popular.
The passes the receivers dropped against Purdue were catchable balls. Jacob Hillyer’s drop in the end zone hit him square in the numbers. Kevonte Martin-Manley had a big day for Iowa, but even he had to battle back from an early drop.
If Iowa doesn’t fix those mentally mistakes, it will come back to haunt them against a better and more experienced team that Purdue.
Running game getting on track
Mark Weisman and Jordan Canzeri appear to be the best combination of tailbacks on this year’s squad. Damon Bullock did not make the trip to Indiana due to an injury but the Hawkeyes still had their most productive rushing game. Weisman got nearly 80 and Canzeri almost reached 70 in the victory. And the latter stages of the game looked the old successful Iowa teams that win close games but grinding out large chunks of yards on the ground in the fourth quarter.
Defense played like men
The Hawkeye win could be given directly to the defense and I don’t think anyone on the Iowa offense would dispute it.
The Iowa defense did not yield 200 total yards and allowed only 72 passing yards in the win. It forced six three-and-outs and the Purdue offense never had a possession of more than 30 yards.
Purdue’s offense scored just three points in the game as the other seven came off a pick 6 thrown by Beathard.
John Lowdermilk had seven tackles and two picks at the back end and Nate Meier, Louis Trinca-Pasat, Drew Ott and Carl Davis all provided plenty of pressure up front. Meier had two sacks, while Trinca-Pasat and linebacker Josey Jewell also took down Danny Etling once.
Johnathan Parker redeemed himself
Parker got into the Kirk Ferentz doghouse when he fumbled twice against Ball State. He didn’t play much again until making a few appearances against Pittsburgh last week.
Saturday, Parker got a lot more snaps because of the injury to Bullock and the freshman responded with a pair of catches for 43 yards and a big kickoff return.
Parker showed the world-class speed that the coaching staff raved about in camp and getting more of a boost from him in the future will only help Iowa’s improving offense stay on track.