In those three games, Iowa has averaged 96.3 yards rushing. That is an impressive stat when you recall that the 2001, 2002 and 2003 Iowa Hawkeyes featured strong rushing attacks. Iowa has averaged just 277 yards of total offense per game in those three contests.
Iowa defense has done a decent job on the whole, but you will recall that the Hawks allowed 507 yards of total offense to the Boilermakers in Iowa City during the 2002 season, as well.
Were it not for a season's worth of miraculous plays, Iowa would be looking at a five game losing streak to Joe Tiller.
During the 2002 game, Iowa found themselves trailing 14-3 late in the first half, with Purdue lining up to tack on three more points from just 22-yards out. Iowa blocked that chip shot of an attempt, and Antwan Allen raced 85-yards for a touchdown with 1:30 remaining. What could have easily been a 17-3 deficit wound up being 14-10 at the break.
In the second half, Iowa blocked a punt for a touchdown to take a 17-14 lead, and then Dallas Clark caught a short pass in the flat and raced 95-yards for a score, putting Iowa up 24-14.
We will all remember Brad Banks getting the ball at the 2:16 mark of the fourth quarter, his long runs and his eventual scoring strike to Dallas Clark to give Iowa the 31-28 lead.
We remember that Purdue came marching right back, getting a first and ten on the Iowa 25-yard line before Kirsch's pass was deflected at the line of scrimmage by Jared Clauss and then fell into the arms of Adolphus Shelton, sealing the game for Iowa.
Purdue ‘out-first-downed' Iowa 30 to 14 in that game.
I know that some of your reading this right now might think this history lesson is a waste of time, but to me, it's quite pertinent to breaking down this weekend's football game. Purdue's schemes have flat out given Iowa fits, and the Hawks are not exactly world-beaters on offense this year.
Fast forward to the present, where the Boilermakers limp into Iowa City, losers of three straight league games and any hopes of a Big Ten championship still lying somewhere near Lake Michigan after last week's loss to Northwestern.
Prior to that skid, Purdue was ranked #5 in the country and Kyle Orton was everybody's front-runner for the Heisman Trophy.
'And the whole world will love you just as long, as long as you are, a shooting star.' - Bad Company.
The Boilers are not in any top 25 right now, and Kyle Orton probably won't even get invited to the Heisman ceremony, barring late season heroics.
None of that means that Purdue is not a dangerous team. Their three losses have come by a combined eight points. That is really the story of the Purdue football program over the past three years. Their 2002 season was like Iowa's 2001 season, that saw the Hawkeyes lose five games by an average of less than a touchdown per game.
Even after such a quick freefall from grace, Purdue still has a shot at a New Year's Day bowl. To do that, they must win their final three games against Iowa, who has a 16-game home win streak on the line, at Ohio State and then home against Indiana.
You might see how the Purdue players and coaches still believe that they can pull off that trifecta and make it back to Florida for a second-straight season.
But it all starts, and perhaps ends, in Iowa City.
A SORT OF HOMECOMING
Kyle Orton would love nothing better than to return to his home state and snap Iowa's 16-game win streak in front of family and friends and several bandwagon Boiler fans.
Now, I don't want a barrage of email from Altoonites; I love ya, and I have family in your fair city (shout out to the Knipp's; Go Rams!).
But I have heard far too many stories about ‘Boiler Up' this and ‘Boiler Up' that coming from your fine city. I am sure that most all of you want to see an Iowa win and to have Orton play well in defeat. I think we can all tolerate that.
As for Orton, he is hoping to just be able to play this week. He has had some hip injuries and played through significant discomfort last week. His coach Joe Tiller pulled Orton in favor of Kirsch late in that football game, because Orton's health was affecting his play.
Orton is listed as questionable for this game, with the capable Kirsch waiting in the wings.
Kirsch has probably gotten significant snaps over the past couple of weeks, though his timing with the receivers cannot be as good as Orton's. Plus, Orton is just a flat out field general, and he knows the nuances of Tiller's complex offense as good as anyone outside of Tiller himself. Orton is Purdue's version of Peyton Manning; he can call the game if he has to. I don't think Kirsch is to that point yet, but he is double trouble, and can beat you with his legs as well as his arm. He had 49 yards on six carries against Iowa in 2002. He also redshirted last season.
THE 12th PLAYER
Some call it the 12th man, but there are plenty of women who are screaming their heads off inside Kinnick Stadium, too.
Be you man, woman or child, if you are going to be at the game on Saturday, chances are that you can make a difference.
The Hawkeyes have the fourth-longest home winning streak in all of division one college football. Only Boise State, USC and Oklahoma have longer streaks. Iowa last lost a home game back in September of 2002.
The 2:30pm local starting time guarantees a raucous crowd, and nightfall will arrive just after the second half begins. The weather forecast is absolutely gorgeous, calling for temps somewhere in the high 50's to lower 60's at kickoff. Once the sun goes down, it will turn cold, but not to the point where it will affect the players.
This game will be shown to a nationwide audience on ESPN, as will be the case next week at Minnesota.
So bring your ‘A' game, Iowa fans; the Hawks are going to need all 70,397 of you…well, minus a few Purdue fans. And if you see an Iowa fan selling tickets to a Purdue fan, be sure to report him to your nearest Per-Mar representative for a good scolding.
44-29-3: Purdue's advantage in the all-time series
18-16-2: Purdue's record against Iowa in Iowa City
20: straight wins by Purdue against Iowa between 1961-1980
50-52: Kirk Ferentz's record as a head coach; he is 38-31 at Iowa
8 of 11: Number of weeks Iowa has been ranked in at least one poll this year
99: Number of wins that Joe Tiller has as a head coach
38: career tackles for loss for Matt Roth, one away from third place all time
11th: Purdue's national ranking in scoring defense
19: Iowa's national ranking in scoring defense
9: # of scholarship players lost for the season due to injury for Iowa, by our count, or 10.59 percent of all scholarship players.
4a: # of running backs that are included in the previous total, not counting Marques Simmons, who will miss his third straight game with an ankle sprain.
4b: Iowa has lost a running back to injury in all four of its home games this year
23: home wins for Iowa in it's last 25 home games
37-2: Iowa's record when leading after three quarters under Kirk Ferentz
HN.COM PUBLISHER JON MILLER'S IOWA-PURDUE PREDICTION
The weather looks great, and both teams should not be affected by anything other than the havoc they wreak on one another or the errors they commit. You can't always say that for a home Iowa game in November.
No matter who the quarterback is for Purdue, Iowa is in for a tough game. Purdue's ball-control passing game can negate an aggressive defense and force teams into playing nickel and dime coverages. Their running game is just good enough to make teams pay for dropping that linebacker and bringing in another defensive back. That was certainly the case for Purdue in last year's game against Iowa in West Lafayette, where the Boilermakers ran for 154 yards.
We all know that Iowa's running game has left plenty to be desired this season, but they still have to try to run the football to keep Purdue's attacking defense honest.
It will be interesting to see how the Boilermakers attack Iowa's offense. Will they employ the Blitz-o-rama that most teams have used this year against the Hawks, or will they take note of Penn State's success against Drew Tate by not forcing the issue off the edges, keeping Tate in the pocket where he did not look very comfortable at Happy Valley?
Purdue's defense is probably not as good as Penn State's but they are good enough. Six points will not hold up against the sometimes PlayStation-like Purdue offense.
Most of my analytical instincts tell me to call this game for Purdue, but until someone actually beats Iowa in Kinnick Stadium, I still believe in Melrose Magic.
IOWA 23 – PURDUE 17
It's Ankney over Altoona in this one, as Ankeny's Kyle Schlicher kicks three field goals.
JON'S IN SEASON GAME BY GAME PREDICTIONS
Week One: Iowa 48, Kent State 10 (Iowa 39, Kent State 7, actual score)
Week Two: Iowa 24, Iowa State 6 (Iowa 17, Iowa State 10)
Week Three: Arizona State 23, Iowa 17 (ASU 44, Iowa 7)
Week Four: Michigan 26, Iowa 10 (Michigan 30, Iowa 17)
Week Five: Iowa 23, MSU 13 (Iowa 38, MSU 16)
Week Six: Iowa 23, Ohio State 19 (Iowa 33, OSU 7)
Week Seven: Penn State 17, Iowa 15 (Iowa 6, PSU 4)
Week Eight: Iowa 23, Illinois 9 (Iowa 23, Illinois 13)
Jon's Game Week predictions since the start of the 2001 season: 40-6 (86.95% accuracy) Losses: 2001: Iowa State & Michigan; 2002: USC; 2003: Michigan State & Ohio State, 2004: Penn State.
Listen to Jon Miller & Jim Zabel, the legendary voice of the Iowa Hawkeyes, after the game on ‘Sound Off', exclusively on 1040, WHO. The show will begin approximately an hour after the game ends and we will break down the Saturday games as well as take your phone calls for three hours If you live in Des Moines, tune into WHO-TV 13 on their 10PM newscast for Jon Miller's ‘Eye on the Hawks' segment, and watch ‘Sound Off' on the same channel Sunday nights after the newscast for more Hawkeye insight from Jon Miller. Visit www.kgan.com for Jon's weekly, ‘State of the Hawkeye Nation' column. And stay right here at HawkeyeNation.com to read all you could possibly want to read regarding your Iowa Hawkeyes
If you are in the Des Moines area, you can stop by Off Campus Apparel and Novelties next to the Merle Hay Mall and pick up a copy of Hawkeye Nation magazine. The November Issue also includes Scout.com's Annual Football & Basketball Recruiting Special, more than 100-pages worth. Copies will be available there just before kickoff this Saturday, and you can also pick up a free copy during Saturday's game at Pal Joey's on the SE corner of 63rd and Grand in Des Moines.