Iowa's hopes fade with loss

Iowa's defense of their co-Big Ten championship went up in flames with a poor early showing at Purdue. Now the Hawkeyes are trying to forget that and focus on Minnesota, and we look at what is good with Iowa's program and what still needs work.

The Hawkeyes never gave up hope of defending their Big Ten co-championship. But those fading hopes were completely erased when they were dominated at Purdue.

Iowa went into Ross-Ade Stadium believing they had a great chance to beat the Boilermakers because they brought a tough defense and a healthy offense with them for the first time since early in the season. WR Maurice Brown, troubled by an ankle injury for much of the season, came back to catch eight passes for 126 yards.

It was not enough. Purdue proved to be much more effective in the early part of the game and rolled to a 27-0 lead. Iowa was able to come back with a couple of late touchdowns to make the score respectable, but the bottom line was a 27-14 defeat.

"We certainly didn't do enough to help ourselves, especially early in the game," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.

The Hawkeyes committed 10 penalties for 72 yards, including one that took away a touchdown in the first half that would have tied the score at 7. Even more shocking was a rare miss by Nate Kaeding on a 34-yard field goal try in the first half. It was his first miss after 11 consecutive made field goals this season.

Those mistakes could not be overcome against a team like the Boilermakers. Iowa still has a chance to go to a solid bowl game, but the Hawkeyes must find a way to defeat Minnesota and Wisconsin in their final two games of the season.

GAME BALL GOES TO: QB Nathan Chandler — He was repeatedly battered and bruised by the Purdue defense, but the big guy hung in the pocket, sometimes shrugging off would-be tacklers, and completed 16-of-29 passes for 203 yards. Chandler threw for one touchdown and also ran for another.

KEEP AN EYE ON: Backup RB Jermelle Lewis had his best game of the season. He has battled injury woes this season, but he came back to carry the ball seven times for 56 yards. He showed a little bit of the burst that Iowa fans grew used to seeing last year.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "The Big Ten hopes are kind of in the drain. Now it's playing to go to a better bowl." — Iowa DE Howard Hodges on the team's goals for the final two games of the season.

LOOKING GOOD: The Hawkeyes could have quit in this game after they fell behind 27-0. The breaks were going against them and they were on the road. However, Kirk Ferentz watched his team play for 60 minutes and Iowa cut the final margin to 13 points. That fighting spirit could bode well next week when the Hawkeyes play host to Minnesota in their home finale.

STILL NEEDS SOME WORK: The Hawkeyes made far too many mistakes. PK Nate Kaeding missed his first FG attempt of the year after making 11 in a row, and penalties prevented them from staying in the game in the first half. Iowa was flagged 10 times for 72 yards and one penalty wiped out a TD pass from Nathan Chandler to Maurice Brown.

INJURY IMPACT: WR Maurice Brown is fully recovered from the ankle injury that has bothered him all season.

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