Nearly 100 passes were thrown in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, as the Hawkeyes and Boilermakers collided for a key Noevmber Big Ten match up.
With temperatures soaring in the 70-degree range by kickoff, and the elements not a factor, the Hawkeyes came out slinging in the first quarter, jumping out to a 17-0 first quarter lead. But the Boilermakers fought back in the second half, and the game was not decided until Ed Hinkel fell on an onside kick attempt by Purdue with less than 40 seconds to go, and Iowa held on to beat Purdue 23-21.
Iowa was helped by Purdue's sloppiness in special teams, as well as some special teams plays.
Iowa blocked two Purdue field goal attempts in the game, but late in the contest, Purdue returned the favor when the Hawkeyes could have salted the game away.
Kyle Schlicher, bothered by low trajectory on his kicks this season, had his 31-yard field goal attempt blocked with under two minutes remaining, and Iowa leading 23-14. The kick could have forced Purdue to have to score two touchdowns to win, but as it turned out, Purdue needed a touchdown and field goal to win.
Kirk Ferentz said in his post game interview on Learfield Sports that he regrets even trying that field goal, as if he had it over again, he would have run the ball and either gained a first down or forced Purdue to put together a long drive, down nine field goals with just one timeout.
The Boilers would score a touchdown with 25-seconds to go, but their onside kick failed.
Tate's favorite receiver on the day was TE Scott Chandler, who had four catches for 122 yards, including a key 3rd and 17 conversion late in the game on a 40-plus yard pick up when Iowa really needed to kill some clock.
One of the best tight end recruits in the nation, Chase Coffman from Peculiar, Missouri, was in attendance today, on his official visit to Iowa.
Clinton Solomon caught eight passes for 74, but his drop on a Tate scramble and throw in the endzone late in the football game did not come back to bite Iowa in the end.
Iowa did not crack the 50-yard rushing barrier on the day in 32 unofficial carries.
Iowa's defense was superb on the day, forcing three consecutive turnovers in the fourth quarter.
Purdue harassed the Iowa offense with amazing blitz pressure all day long, but Tate handled it like a seasoned veteran.
Iowa moves to 7-2 on the season, 5-1 in the Big Ten standings. A Big Ten Championship is still within Iowa's grasp, should they beat Minnesota next week and Wisconsin the following week, as well as Michigan losing one of their final two remaining games at home against Northwestern and then at Ohio State to close the season.
Iowa's win likely puts them in a position for a very good bowl game; perhaps no worse than the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.
Three of Iowa's four ‘competitors' for an attractive bowl bid lost today; Michigan State at home against Ohio State, Minnesota at Wisconsin, and of course, Purdue in Iowa City.
Northwestern beat Penn State 14-7, and they moved to 4-2 in the Big Ten. With a road game next week at Michigan then their season finale at home against Illinois, one would guess that a 5-3 Big Ten finish is the best the Wildcats could muster. It's unlikely that a bowl would select a 5-3 Northwestern team over a 5-3 Iowa team, should Iowa lose its final two games.
I think that deserves a second mention; Iowa can finish no worse than 5-3 in the Big Ten this season, and considering all of the injuries they have suffered in their offensive backfield, as well as losing perhaps their best offensive lineman in David Walker .