Iowa vs. Purdue prediction and game preview. Both teams are coming off victories as the Hawkeyes visit the Boilermakers on Saturday.
Iowa vs. Purdue Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 15 – Noon ET
Where: Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, Ind.
TV Broadcast: ESPN2
Iowa didn’t have much trouble in its first two games of the season. The last four have been a different story. The Hawkeyes are 2-2 in that stretch, with those contests decided by a combined 23 points. The two victories – over Rutgers on Sept. 24 and Minnesota last week – were grind-it-out 14-7 wins sealed by long Akrum Wadley touchdown runs. They’re hoping things get a little easier this week in West Lafayette, but Purdue certainly isn’t going to roll over.
For all the talk of coach Darrell Hazel being on the hot seat, the Boilermakers are 3-2 and have surpassed last year’s win total. They played their most complete game of the season last week at Illinois and won in overtime, 34-31, on J.D. Dellinger’s 28-yard field goal. Sure, there’s still plenty to fix – namely quarterback David Blough’s accuracy – but Purdue at least has a little confidence heading into this one.
What to Know About Iowa
Not much sticks out about Iowa’s offense. It does lead the Big Ten in red-zone conversions, scoring at a 95 percent clip, and Wadley’s seven rushing touchdowns are tied for second in the conference. But the Hawkeyes rank 13th in the Big Ten in total yards per game at 338.2 and quarterback C.J. Beathard is eighth in passer rating. They were trailing by a point late Saturday before Wadley broke a 54-yard touchdown run with 5:28 remaining to give them a 14-7 win over Minnesota and extend their road winning streak to eight.
Iowa can’t keep letting the defense carry most of the load. It hasn’t allowed a team to go over 400 yards since the season opener, and last week forced three turnovers to give the ball back to an offense that couldn’t do much with it. The Hawkeyes set a new season best with 102 rushing yards allowed. There must be some balance from the offense to help spell one of the nation’s better defensive units.
What to Know About Purdue
The Boilermakers still are going to keep the ball on the ground no matter Iowa’s success against the run. Brian Lankford-Johnson earned Big Ten freshman of the week honors after running 18 times for 127 yards and a touchdown against Illinois. That helped make up for Blough’s two interceptions that give him nine on the season – tied for most in the country with five other quarterbacks.
Purdue has done a decent job of keeping drives alive by converting 51.8 percent of its third downs to rank third in the Big Ten, and that’s kept its struggling defense off the field as much as possible. The Boilermakers allowed 499 to the Fighting Illini and have given up 715 on the ground alone over the last two games.
Offense: Even – Both teams rank near the bottom of the conference in yards per play and are tied for eighth in scrimmage plays gaining at least 10 yards.
Defense: Iowa – The Hawkeyes should be able to move the ground against Purdue’s struggling front line.
Special Teams: Purdue – Dellinger was named the conference’s special teams player of the week after hitting two field goals and four extra points.
Coaching: Iowa – Kirk Ferentz needs to get Iowa moving the ball, though.
Intangibles: Iowa – The Hawkeyes have won the last three meetings by a combined 56 points.
Matchup To Watch
Wadley and LeShun Daniels vs. Purdue’s run defense
The Boilermakers are letting everyone run all over them, and that’s bad news with a combo like Wadley and Daniels coming to town. Daniels is the leading rusher despite having only one 100-yard game, with Wadley being the more explosive player of the bunch.
Spread: Iowa -12
Iowa vs. Purdue Prediction
Purdue won’t be able to stop the Iowa running game, which goes for at least 250 yards. The Hawkeyes pick off Blough twice and win with a little breathing room – finally.
Iowa vs. Purdue final score prediction: Iowa 35, Purdue 14