Iowa falls to Purdue in 2020 season opener

Purdue wide receiver David Bell had a career day with three touchdown receptions.

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West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes running back Mekhi Sargent (10) runs the ball while Purdue Boilermakers try and tackle him in the first quarter at Ross-Ade Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. (Trevor Ruszkowski – USA TODAY)

Robert Read, Pregame Editor


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue scored the final 10 points of Saturday’s game against Iowa to defeat the Hawkeyes 24-20 in the season opener.

The Boilermakers trailed 20-14 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but a dominating game from wide receiver David Bell led Purdue to a victory in Week 1 of the Big Ten season.

A nine-yard pass from Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell to Bell midway through the first quarter opened the game’s scoring. Five minutes into the second quarter, Iowa responded as new starting quarterback Spencer Petras found the end zone on a sneak from one yard out.

With just under five minutes left in the first half, the Hawkeyes scored again. Mekhi Sargent capped an 11-play, 73-yard drive with a one-yard scoring run to put Iowa up 14-7.

Another O’Connell-to-Bell scoring strike tied the game at 14-14 with 1:40 remaining in the first half.

Purdue had another chance at scoring at the end of the first half, but Matt Hankins picked off a pass, which led to a Keith Duncan field goal. Iowa led 17-14 at halftime.

Duncan extended Iowa’s lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter, kicking a field goal to put the Hawkeyes up 20-14. Purdue hit a field goal of its own five only minutes later to bring the game to within three points.

Iowa running back Mekhi Sargent fumbled near the five minute mark and Purdue took over. A 12-play, 72-yard Purdue drive concluded with Bell’s third score of the day. Bell finished with 13 catches for 121 yards and three touchdowns on the day.

With 2:15 remaining, Purdue led 24-20.

Petras fired a 16-yard strike to tight end Sam LaPorta on the first play of  Iowa’s next drive. On the next four plays, the offense failed to move the ball and turned it over on downs. Purdue secured the victory after running out the clock.

Iowa faces off against Northwestern next week in Kinnick Stadium.

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