Nobody Comes Into Ross Ade: Purdue Beats #16 Iowa, 38-36
Feature image from @BoilerFootball
Jeff Brohm has swag.
I mean, not in a traditional sense. He dresses like a 45-year-old suburban white dad, he gives bland press conferences, he drives a rusty 2004 Honda Accord, and I’ll bet everything in my pockets he’d be mystified if asked to recite a single Migos lyric.
But have him give a pregame speech to his guys, and you’ll see an aura glow around him. Have him walk the sidelines of Ross Ade, and everything seems to gravitate towards his pacing energy.
Give him the choice between a 47-yard field goal or going for it on 4th-and-2, down one point with less than two minutes left on the clock? You’ll see a coach that implicitly trusts his players, a coach that knows he’s instilled a never-die spirit after 23 months on the job, a coach that lives by the aggressive words that coaches at every level preach but fail to execute.
Give Jeff Brohm the slightest opportunity, especially after the last month this football program has gone through, and you’ll understand what “Let’s Play Football” means.
Brohm’s Boilermakers built a 12-point lead through three quarters, weathered a meltdown, and finished the game with just enough to seal its third win over a ranked opponent on the year. Terry Wright had a career night as Iowa focused on Rondale Moore, David Blough was extremely Jekyll/Hyde, and Iowa dominated Special Teams, but everyone came through on the final drive to bring Purdue one game away from bowl eligibility.
This one was a little more nerve-racking than it needed to be, but the win stays the same.
After a series of quick passes, Purdue’s first shot at the end zone paid off. Remember when Brohm didn’t trust Blough with the long ball? Me neither.
6:02 – 1st Quarter: Brycen Hopkins 57 yard reception sets up another quick Purdue TD
Blough and Hopkins found the gap in Iowa’s zone, and caught the linebackers and safeties flat-footed. Great playcall, great execution, and fantastic run after the catch. This led to a couple nice Markell Jones runs and anther quick touchdown, putting Purdue ahead 14-7.
10:47 – 2nd Quarter: Bend-Don’t-Break Purdue Defense forces an Iowa field goal, following a 45-yard punt return.
This one really helped establish Purdue’s tone early. The special teams got gashed all game, and Iowa set themselves up with fantastic field position for most of the afternoon. Holding Iowa to a field goal on a short field, and keeping their lead 14-10? This stop kept it from being a true back-and-forth game, and gave Purdue the breathing room it desperately needed at the end.
6:27 – 2nd Quarter: David Blough TD BOMB To Terry Wright
Yes, this gave Purdue an 11-point lead. But the absolutely gorgeous teardrop Blough pass, and the mid-route adjustment from Wright on the night of his life, was the moment of the game where Purdue shifted to go-for-the-throat mode. Brohm’s respected Iowa all week, but this playcall emphasized that Purdue expected to come out of this week with a win.
1:17 – 2nd Quarter: Ivory Kelly-Martin’s wheel route gets Iowa to the 2-yard line, leading to a Stanley TD run
It would have been really nice to go into the half leading 21-10 instead of 21-17. But Iowa is a solid football team, and Kirk Ferentz is basically the closest thing college football has to a metronome, and Stanley is lowkey extremely impressive, so we should have known Iowa wasn’t going down without a fight.
12:11 – 3rd Quarter: David Blough 82-YARD TD BOMB to Terry Wright
I yelled very loudly and my dog was very startled.
7:29 – 3rd Quarter: David Blough intercepted on a massive underthrow to Rondale Moore
Though Purdue would force a punt three plays later, this was an extremely sloppy decision that foreshadowed the Boilermakers’ blown lead in the fourth quarter.
5:12 – 3rd Quarter: Rondale Moore splits three Iowa defenders during a punt return
Rondale had a quiet night, and was hampered by a “lower limb” injury, but this was kind of the play that kept Purdue’s momentum going forward. He capitalized on the Iowa punter’s mistake, punting directly to the most electric returner in college football at the 50 yard line, and slithered through three defenders down to the 20. Wright would score his third TD of the game, extending Purdue’s lead 35-23.
This is when things got rough.
1:13 & 1:09 – 3rd Quarter: Two NFL-worthy completions from Nate Stanley to Nick Easley and Kyle Groeneweg
The drive that set Iowa up for their comeback was fueled by Nate Stanley. He’s really impressive, and is evidence for why he’s the prime candidate for the NFL’s yearly “mid-2nd round prospect that ends up being drafted in the first 15 picks”. And this is every Purdue fan’s reminder that he showed us his resume on this drive.
12:13 & 11:16 – 4th Quarter: David Blough intercepted at Purdue’s 26 yard line & Mekhi Sargent 17 yard reception to Purdue’s 5 yard line
A hold would bring this return back, but Iowa scored anyway after Sargent cut right through Purdue’s front seven. Iowa took their first lead of the game, 36-35, after missing their second 2-point-conversion of the day. The nerves were nerving, for everyone except Brohm and Blough.
6:28 & 5:36 – 4th Quarter: Two Iowa holds force a punt from inside their own 20
“Field position is everything” is a thing that color announcers love to say during every broadcast, and I roll my eyes every time. Not because it’s untrue, but because it sounds like a fogey old Jimmy Johnson thing to say.
That being said, these two holds gave Purdue the ball back at the 50-yard line, instead of their own 20, and set up the go-ahead drive. I guess field position really is everything.
1:53 – 4th Quarter: David Blough 7 yard run, on 4th-and-2 at the Iowa 30 yard line
Back where we started. After two poor decisions, Brohm made the call quickly – leave the ball in Blough’s hands, send as many people to block for him as possible, and trust that your captain will deliver you the win.
Blough converted, Zico drew a pass interference a few plays later, and Knox set Purdue up inside the 10-yard line for the go-ahead field goal.
(Also, Purdue fans kinda-sorta rushed the field. My official stance? I wish every team rushed the field for every win. I wish Alabama fans rushed the field every time they crushed the unfortunate souls on the other sideline. I wish Clemson fans rushed the field after beating Louisville 77-16. I’m extremely pro-rushing.)
MOMENT OF THE NIGHT
Tyler Trent, our favorite Purdue sports expert, was in attendance again today. He brings a true magic and energy and grace to wherever he is, and you’ll never convince me these Boilermakers don’t have a slight extra motivation every time they see his face on the video board.
And that’s exactly what happened in the second quarter. Iowa is the home to the best tradition in sports – their pregame wave to the kids at Stead Family Children's Hospital, right outside of Kinnick Stadium.
Tyler gave the intro and Ross Ade followed suit, as a stadium full of Extremely Hated And Not At All Manufactured Rivals participated in the opposing team’s tradition.
In the moment of the day , Purdue and Iowa were on the same page, sending positivity to kids that need it the most.