Week 1 halftime reactions: Iowa leads Purdue, 17-14

Spencer Petras is warming up and the ground game is working for the Hawkeyes. Now it’s all about stopping David Bell.



West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes running back Tyler Goodson (15) celebrates a run in the first quarter against the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross-Ade Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. (Trevor Ruszkowski – USA TODAY)

Robert Read and Austin Hanson

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Iowa leads Purdue 17-14 at halftime of the team’s season-opener. DI Pregame Editor Robert Read and Sports Editor Austin Hanson react to the first half of play.

Iowa pass defense has no answers for David Bell

Purdue’s top receiver Rondale Moore is out, but David Bell is giving the Hawkeyes a lot of problems.


Last season when Iowa beat Purdue at Kinnick Stadium, Bell, then a freshman, caught 13 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown. In the first half on Saturday, Bell has nine receptions for 85 yards and two scores. Whether it’s battling defenders and hauling in a contested grab, or working his way open on precisely-run routes, Bell has been a problem for the Iowa defense.

Purdue quarterback Aiden O’Connell has also, for the most part, looked sharp in the first half. He’s completed 17-of-26 passes for the Boilermakers, including the two scoring strikes to Bell. At the end of the half, Iowa cornerback Matt Hankins did secure an interception that led to Keith Duncan’s go-ahead field goal.

If Iowa can somewhat contain David Bell, it should control the second half. I’m sure Phil Parker is saying something similar in a much more intense way in Iowa’s locker room.

– Robert Read

Hawkeye rushing attack working in first half

The Iowa offense sputtered early against Purdue, but the Hawkeye running game has been a highlight for the team in the first half.

Iowa ran the ball 22 times in the first half for 108 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, and did so in a variety of ways. Running back Tyler Goodson leads the team with 46 rushing yards and has taken two direct snaps out of the Wild Cat formation. Goodson also leads Iowa with 59 yards on five receptions.

Ihmir Smith Marsette has been involved on the ground too. He has two carries for 18 yards, including 15 on a reverse that had scoring potential had Tyler Linderbaum secured his block down field.

Meanwhile, Ivory Kelly-Martin is averaging 9.3 yards per rush, and Mekhi Sargent scored his first touchdown of the season on a 1-yard touchdown. Quarterback Spencer Petras scored his first TD of the season on the ground as well with a QB sneak early in the second quarter.

One of the few negatives in the running game was Goodson fumbling in the first quarter after one of his offensive linemen, Cole Banwart, ran into him.

– Robert Read

Petras heats up heading to halftime

Spencer Petras’ first quarter as Iowa’s starting quarterback didn’t go quite as he had envisioned. The sophomore from San Rafael, California, got off to a shaky start, completing just two of his first eight passes. Petras didn’t complete a pass to any of his wide receivers until midway through the second quarter.

As the second quarter opened up, Petras didn’t look much better, missing a wide-open Shaun Beyer on 2nd and 10 from the Iowa 39.

However, as the clock began to run down in the first half, Petras heated up. He converted his next six pass attempts after missing Beyer.

After a Matt Hankins interception with 31 seconds to go in the half, Petras came up big for Iowa. He completed three-straight passes to set up a Keith Duncan field goal and give Iowa a 17-14 lead at halftime.

In total, Petras finished the half 14-21 for 174 yards and one rushing touchdown, completing 12 of his last 13 throws.

While Petras certainly benefited from Iowa’s impressive rushing performance in the first half, it was clear that the offense would go as he went. When Petras struggled early, Iowa’s offense couldn’t get on the board. When he heated up late, the Hawkeyes found their rhythm and scored some points.

As has been the expectation all offseason, the Hawkeyes will go as far as Spencer Petras can take them, he showed that in the first half. In the second half, Petras will have to prove that his poor play early was due to pregame jitters, and that he can play consistently going forward.

– Austin Hanson

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