It is getting historically bad for the Hawkeyes after a 27-24 loss to Purdue on Saturday.
Even the usually stoic Kirk Ferentz was coming apart at the seams, getting angry at halftime.
“Coach Ferentz was pretty much just telling us if we don’t want to be here, to leave,” junior guard Conor Boffeli said.
It was a side of Ferentz that hasn’t come out too often, but Iowa (4-6, 2-4) hasn’t lost four in a row since 2007 and hasn’t lost at home to Purdue since 1992.
“He’s a guy that’s very calm and collected, but after that sloppy first half that we had, he had a right to be mad,” junior defensive end Dominic Alvis said.
Purdue (4-6, 1-5) got its first Big Ten win and kept hope alive for a bowl berth.
The Hawkeyes’ bowl hopes are on life-support and fading fast.
Iowa now has to beat Michigan (7-3, 5-1) on the road and upset No. 18 Nebraska (8-2, 5-1) on Black Friday.
“I don’t know what else to tell you,” senior defensive lineman Steve Bigach said. “We’re not playing well enough to win. Teams are coming out and beating us.
“They are running the ball on us and throwing the ball on us. We’re not getting the job done.”
Purdue came in with a five-game losing streak and with rumors swirling about coach Danny Hope being one foot out the door.
But the Boilermakers dominated the game, outgaining the Hawkeyes 490 to 264 yards.
“Just the effort plays,” senior cornerback Micah Hyde said. “That’s what it comes down to. They were knocking us around, we can’t have that.”
Despite the mismatch in yards, Iowa was able to stay in the game thanks to three Boilermaker turnovers and 100 yards of Purdue penalties.
The first fumble led to a Damon Bullock touchdown in the first half.
The third fumble came in the third quarter. Hyde picked it up and ran it in 9 yards for a touchdown to cut the lead to 24-21.
Midway through the fourth quarter, the halftime speech seemed to be working. Iowa drove the ball to the Purdue 6 but Bullock ran for no gain and Vandenberg missed on two passes.
“We started to make plays at the end of the game, and we had a nice little stretch, got the offense going,” sophomore receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley said. “We couldn’t finish. And we’ve got to finish if we want to win.”
Iowa settled for a 24-yard field goal from Mike Meyer to tie the game at 24-24 with 3:32 left.
The oft-maligned Hawkeye defense did its job and forced a punt. Iowa drove the ball to the Purdue 35 and faced 4th-and-3.
Iowa decided to go for it.
“I felt like that was a better percentage,” Ferentz said. “The wind was in our face. Going into the game and through the game we were thinking 30-yard-line (for a field goal try).”
Vandenberg threw 1-yard pass to Zach Derby, turning the ball over on downs.
“C.J. (Fedorowicz) and Kevonte were running little hitches inside,” Derby said. “I’m trying to stretch it out to the flat. James must’ve thought I was the best option.”
Purdue got the ball with 16 seconds left and it looked like the game would go to overtime.
But senior quarterback Robert Marve scrambled for 17 yards and called time out. Marve then connected with Antavian Edison for 20 yards with five seconds left.
“Robert has a fantastic arm. He is one of the most gifted passers that I have been around,” Hope said. “He’s had a rough career with the injuries, we all know the story.”
That set the table for freshman kicker Paul Griggs. He had missed a chip shot 20-yard field goal right before half. He also missed a pair of field goals in a 29-22 overtime loss at Ohio State earlier in the season.
He drilled the kick from 46 yards out to win the game.
“It was a mob scene afterward,” Greggs said. “I got grabbed by a couple guys after the kick. As soon as I got away from them, I was running towards the fans and my mom ran out of the stands and just blindsided me. She was quite happy.”
The Iowa defense may want to recruit her. Iowa gave up over 430 yards of offense for the fourth straight game.
Ralph Bolden ran for 102 yards on 14 carries and Purdue had 211 rushing yards overall. Marve was 25-of-33 for 266 yards.
“The results tell you what you want to know,” Iowa junior linebacker James Morris said. “The results tell you I haven’t been focusing enough, because I’ve been missing tackles.”
The Iowa offense was equally unimpressive. Bullock had just 43 yards on 23 carries. Vandenberg finished 19-of-36 for 190 yards.
“At some point enough’s enough,” Vandenberg said. “We’ve got to start making plays.
“I thought we fought back hard, we just didn’t make enough plays in any phase to win the game.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football