DEFENSE HALF FIGURED OUT
Iowa has figured out half of their defense so far. They can definitely stop the run. Josey Jewell is a monster of course. Jaleel Johnson has regained his form and has been unstoppable. They're filling the gaps and attacking downhill. However, the passing game hasn't been quite figured out. They were leaky in the secondary today. Boilermakers capitalized on a few big plays in the passing game and they're could have been more if Purdue signal caller David Blough was sharp. Desmond King did not have his best game at all. Greg Mabin was decent, and better than King, but even he wasn't overly impressive. The safety play was below average against the pass but exceptional against the run. It needs cleaned up, still.
HAVE TO HOPE KITTLE INJURY IS NOT SERIOUS
This Iowa passing offense was challenged with Matt VandeBerg in the lineup. They've taken a hit without VandeBerg. Losing Kittle would leave the Hawkeyes without their two top weapons through the air. That just is not a recipe for success and really makes them hamstrung and entirely too one-dimensional. Yes, Noah Fant looks like a bright young talent. But he's not close to being ready in terms of blocking. He is a receiving threat, though. Pekar is a worthy blocker but not a threat in the passing game. You say use both to their advantages but that makes you pretty predictable as an offense. You'll run behind Fant far less than Pekar. If you only play one, you can guess run or pass. They need Kittle because he's the only complete tight end on the roster at this stage. Kittle left the game with a lower leg injury and was held out for the rest of the afternoon for what was called "precautionary reasons".
BOILERMAKERS NEVER HAD A CHANCE
It was clear to see that Purdue was in trouble from the first few snaps. Iowa didn't even need to pass the ball once to win this game. The Boilermakers weren't going to be able to stop the Hawkeye running game with any kind of continuity. Daniels and Wadley both rushed for over 100 yards, the first time multiple Iowa backs have hit the century mark in the same game since 2008. Also, the Boilermakers are a mess. They took a timeout with two seconds left in the half just so that they could kneel on the ball. Purdue was called for an intentional grounding on a flea flicker. They also looked to take a knee on a kickoff for a touchback when they weren't even in the end zone. So long, Darrell Hazell. He won't face the Hawkeyes again as the Purdue head coach. Sure, it finished as only a 14 point game but it was far worse than that.
IOWA DEFINITELY GETTING BETTER
It is Purdue but the play from Iowa has been encouraging. They grinded out a victory over Minnesota against a Gophers team that always plays them tough. Minnesota is also playing well today against Maryland. The Boilermakers aren't good but the Hawkeyes' offense is improving. Their defense has improved. Rutgers is pretty bad as well and Iowa only won that contest 14-7. They're making strides and beginning to feel good about themselves and at the right time.
PLAYING GOOD FOOTBALL AT THE RIGHT TIME
Yes, the pass defense needed to be better. Yes, the passing offense is still a work in the progress. But when you think about where they were against Northwestern and Rutgers, the Hawkeyes are playing much better football. Their confidence should be high. They should feel like they're close to where they need to be entering the difficult portion of their schedule. They're 5-2 which looks so much better than 4-3. It just feels different. This is the record, the mind set, and the best possible brand of football you could ask for entering the showdown with Wisconsin when you consider where they were at a few weeks ago after games against Rutgers and Northwestern.