Albert Young was a workhorse for Iowa, carrying the ball 36 times for 164 yards. It was easily Young's finest game as a Hawkeye, and one of the most gritty running efforts we have seen by an Iowa back in memory.
Young would not be brought down on first contact all day long and turned several runs that looked like losses into gains, sometimes for first downs.
Clinton Solomon did his best Willis Reed impersonation, going down with what appeared to be a serious injury near the end of the first half. But he came back in the second half and did it all; he threw crushing blocks, made excellent catches and scored a touchdown on a wide receiver screen, similar to the play that he took to the house against Minnesota last year. He had a 78-yard touchdown in the first quarter on Iowa's first drive of the game. Purdue had scored easily on its first possession. Solomon had five possessions for 166 yards and two scores.
The offensive line held their own on this day, and on Solomon's aforementioned second touchdown, Ben Gates threw a crushing block and Mike Jones blocked Kyle Williams out of the play not once, but twice.
It was a ‘bend but don't break' effort by Iowa's defense on the day. They surrendered 445 yards, but they shut the Boilers out in the fourth quarter and really flexed their muscles in the end zone.
Iowa was hit with a few injuries early on, one of them being a likely season ending injury to Ed Hinkel who broke his arm.
Iowa fared much better on third down this week, holding Purdue to 3 of 12. Prior to this contest, Iowa had yielded 22 of 36 third down conversions in Big Ten play.
Iowa was flagged just twice on the day, and came into this game leading the league in fewest penalties per game.
Perhaps the biggest question on the day was this; why did Purdue abandon its running game?
Kory Sheets was effective in the first quarter, running the ball nine times for 57 yards, and average of 6.3 per carry. But he carried the ball just seven times the rest of the game. He had five carries for 48 yards on Purdue's first drive.
Iowa moves to 4-2 on the season, 2-1 in the Big Ten. Purdue dropped to 0-2 in the league, and is all but eliminated from Big Ten title contention.
That comes as a total shock to me, as I predicted Purdue to win the Big Ten title this year. They returned all 11 starters on defense, but have given up nearly 2,000 yards of offense in their last three games against Minnesota, Notre Dame and Iowa, all losses.
Today was about heart, coaching and belief in one another…and Iowa passed the test with straight ‘A's'.