Iowa Hawkeyes Football Preview: Purdue Boilermakers

After beating up on the Boilers at home last year, Iowa will have to travel to play in West Lafayette in week 4 of the Big Ten regular season.

Overview

Purdue was about as bad as you can be last season.  They were bad on offense, bad on defense, and just plain all around bad.  Unfortunately for the Boilermakers, I don't see it getting any better anytime soon. They did bring in some 3 and 2 star kids in their class of 2016, but those guys won't likely have an impact next season.

They retained head coach Darrell Hazell after a 2-10 season a year ago.  It was surprising to me because after three years at the helm, Hazell just isn't getting the job done.  He's 6-30 in three seasons at Purdue after he took over with them coming off back-to-back bowl game appearances.  

Iowa handled their business last season defeating the Boilermakers by a final score of 40-20 in Iowa City.  It wasn't anything flashy from the Hawkeyes, who didn't play their best game.  Purdue actually totaled more yards than the Hawkeyes did, 405-387.  But Iowa capitalized when they needed too, scoring three touchdowns of 20 or more yards in the second half.  

Offense

Like I mentioned before, the Boilers were bad on the offensive side of the football.  They scored just 25 points per game, which was good for 92nd out of 128 FBS teams.  They only averaged around 369 yards per game and were giving up a lot more than that, but that is a different story.  David Blough and Austin Appleby split time at the QB spot.  Appleby will be entering his senior season, while Blough will be just a sophomore.  

It's kind of a toss up there as to who gets the starting nod in the season opener and will likely change as the year progresses because I don't think the staff will settle on one player.  

Markell Jones should be back after being the teams primary ball carrier a year ago in his freshman season.  Jones carried the ball 168 times rushing for 875 yards and 10 touchdowns.  D.J. Knox would've been back as the teams backup at the running back spot, but he will be lost for the year after he tore his ACL in Purdue's spring game.  That will leave the backup spot open to a lot of unproven guys, so coach Hazell and staff will need to get that squared away quickly because Jones won't be able to take on all of the load.

Deangelo Yancey should be back catching balls on the outside for the Boilers.  He caught 48 passes for 700 yards and five scores a season ago.  After that, the Boilers don't have much on the outside after losing Danny Anthrop to graduation.  He caught a team high 57 balls last season.  

One thing that the Boilers did right this offseason was hire Darrell Funk, an outstanding offensive line coach, who spent the previous season at Akron.  The hiring of Funk should speed up the progression of some of the linemen on the Purdue football team.

Defense

It's hard to imagine, but the Boilermaker defense was worse than the offense was last season.  The Boilers allowed nearly 36 points per game to opponents, which was good for 113th out of 128 FBS teams.  They allowed 50 points twice this past season and 40 points five times, one of which came in a win against Nebraska.  That was also the only Big Ten win they recorded.

The Boilers hope to fix this problem by bringing in Ross Els, who is instituting more of a free flowing defensive scheme.  

They will return their leading tacker from a season ago in safety Leroy Clark, who recorded 88 total tackles in 2015.  And they'll also bring back LB, Danny Ezechukwu, who was second on the team in tackles with 71 a season ago. 

It may take some time for the Boilers to get adjusted to coach Els' new system, because everything needs a little time to get started, especially when you're at a school like Purdue that doesn't bring in big name talent.  

Early Prediction

Even though I like the coaching changes that the Boilers made this offseason, I don't think they have the personnel to compete in the Big Ten just yet.  This operation may take a few more years for coach Hazell.  I think Purdue finishes if not at, near the bottom of the Big Ten next season and Iowa gives them a good ole fashioned butt kicking inside Ross-Ade Stadium on October 15th.  One thing Iowa can't do is get cute with Purdue with a home showdown with Wisconsin looming the week after.

I like the Hawkeyes in this one by a final of 38-17. 


Hawkeye Insider Top Stories