Blough throws five touchdown passes, but Purdue falls 49-35 to Iowa
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — For Iowa, the trend of playing its finest football when on the road continues. For Purdue, the unpleasant trend of failing to win back-to-back games at any point in fourth-year coach Darrell Hazell’s time with the Boilermakers also continues.
Iowa scored touchdowns on five of its six opening-half possessions and defeated Purdue 49-35 on Saturday, winning its school-record ninth consecutive road game.
The Hawkeyes (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten) broke the former school record of eight consecutive road victories set from 1920-23. Of the nine consecutive road triumphs, eight have been against Big Ten opponents.
Purdue, now 9-33 in Hazell’s tenure — including 3-24 in Big Ten play — has lost in the week following each of its three victories this season by an average margin of 25 points.
For Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, the road winning streak is a special accomplishment.
"Our guys do a good job when they get on the bus," Ferentz said. "They really are focused on what we’re trying to get done. It is a business-like atmosphere when we come to different environments, but the game is still played on the field. A key is that we have had good leadership and good maturity."
Iowa, 3-0 this season in Big Ten road games, completely dominated the first two quarters, running 41 plays for 397 yards, successfully converting seven of eight third-down opportunities.
Hawkeye quarterback C.J. Beathard ran 16 yards for one touchdown and threw a 42-yard pass to wide receiver Riley McCarron for another first-half TD.
Running back LeShun Daniels ran 1 and 4 yards for Iowa touchdowns, and Akrum Wadley added a 75-yard TD run with 1:18 remaining in the second quarter, giving the Hawkeyes a 35-7 lead through 30 minutes.
"We wanted to get off to a fast start offensively," Beathard said. "Going back to last week’s game against Minnesota, we didn’t play well offensively. We came out and scored on our first couple of drives and then did all right today."
Wadley said the Hawkeyes were eager to improve their overall rushing attack and do so at Purdue’s expense.
"We had some big runs out of the shotgun, which we worked on in practice this week and then had the right calls at the right time in the game today," Wadley said. "At the beginning of the season, Daniels and I talked about having a game when we both rushed for over 100 yards. Today, that was the first game it happened."
Wadley averaged 12.1 yards per carry with a long run of 75, and Daniels added a 67-yard run.
Beathard said that made his job easy.
"When you can get both of those guys touches, and with the offensive line working the way they were working today opening up holes, they turn eight-yard runs into the long ones you saw today," Beathard said.
Purdue’s David Blough threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Brycen Hopkins and a 53-yard touchdown pass to tight end Cole Herdman, trimming the Iowa lead to 35-14, but Beathard countered with a five-yard TD pass to Noah Fant, giving the Hawkeyes a 42-14 advantage.
Blough’s seven-yard touchdown pass to Bilal Marshall with 8:40 remaining pulled the Boilermakers (3-3, 1-2) to within 42-21, and his 54-yard TD pass to DeAngelo Yancey with 5:36 left cut the deficit to 42-28.
Iowa cornerback Desmond King’s 41-yard interception return for a touchdown with 1:44 remaining capped the Iowa scoring before Blough threw his fifth TD pass — a 37-yarder to Hopkins — with 17 seconds on the clock.
Blough finished 30 of 60 for 458 yards.
"We didn’t do a good job with getting off to a good start," Purdue coach Darrell Hazell said. "Every time we felt we were flipping momentum, they hit a big (play) on us. Something we have to get settled right now is stopping the long run. That’s killing us right now."
Iowa rushed 53 times for 365 yards and added 155 passing yards.
While Blough’s final numbers were impressive, he said his performance was not good enough.
"We have to do it from the start, not against reserves or second-stringers," Blough said.
IOWA: The Hawkeyes had two backs each rush for more than 100 yards in the same game for the first time since 2008 (Wadley, 170 yards; Daniels, 156). Although the Hawkeyes stumbled at home against North Dakota State and Northwestern, they have been excellent away from Iowa City, winning at Rutgers, at Minnesota and now at Purdue.
PURDUE: While the Boilermakers played without three injured defensive starters — tackle Jake Replogle, linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley and cornerback Myles Norwood — Purdue was flat after winning last week at Illinois. The Boilermakers are now 0-9 in the next game following a victory during Hazell’s four seasons at Purdue. The Boilermakers also played without defensive backs Brandon Roberts and David Rose, who were suspended for what Hazell called "personal conduct issues."
Purdue entered the game ranked last in opponents’ third-down conversion success at 50.6 percent (40 of 79), and Iowa took advantage, converting 9 of 16. Before playing the Boilermakers, the Hawkeyes ranked 10th in Big Ten third-down conversion success at 36.7 percent (22 of 60).
Purdue now is 0-4 in homecoming games during Hazell’s four seasons with the Boilermakers and has been outscored 176-83 in those four defeats.
QUOTE TO NOTE:
"There’s no question we are moving forward and are doing a lot of good things," Hazell said when asked if he is the right man to lead the Purdue program despite a 9-33 record.
IOWA: The Hawkeyes return home to face Wisconsin.
PURDUE: The Boilermakers travel to Nebraska. Purdue upset the Cornhuskers 55-45 — one of Hazell’s three Big Ten victories in his four seasons.