Week 7 scouting notebook: No. 2 Iowa takes on Purdue

The Hawkeye secondary will attempt to contain Boilermaker wide receiver David Bell this Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.


The Daily Iowan

Purdue wide receiver David Bell scores a touchdown during the Iowa football game against Purdue at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Boilermakers 26-20.

Chloe Peterson, Assistant Sports Editor

The No. 2 Iowa football team will take on Big Ten West foe Purdue on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.

Iowa will be looking for its Big Ten-leading 13th consecutive win dating back to the 2020 season. Purdue has won three of the past four meetings against the Hawkeyes.

The Daily Iowan previews the matchup ahead of the 2:36 p.m. kickoff on Saturday. The game will be aired live on ABC.

Marquee Matchup 

No. 2 Iowa football will take on Purdue Saturday at Kinnick Stadium, almost a year after the Boilermakers handed the Hawkeyes its 2020 season-opening loss. 

Purdue wide receiver David Bell had a career game against the Hawkeyes last year, recording multiple season-highs in the first contest of the Boilermakers’ six-game slate. Bell registered 121 receiving yards on 13 receptions and three touchdowns on Oct. 24, 2020, en route to Purdue’s 24-20 victory over Iowa at Ross-Ade Stadium.

Now, the Hawkeyes are riding a 12-game win streak.

Iowa’s main task will be shutting down Bell and the Boilermakers’ pass game — even without starting senior cornerback Riley Moss.

Moss went down with an injury last week in the Hawkeyes’ 23-20 victory over Penn State. He is out this week, but the Hawkeyes are hoping to have him back on the field after next week’s bye week.

Senior cornerback Terry Roberts will plug into Moss’s role, and join Matt Hankins in the starting defensive backfield.

Bell leads Purdue in with 439 receiving yards (200 yards clear of Purdue’s second-leading receiver), despite playing in just four of the Boilermakers’ five games so far in 2021, 

The wide receiver entered concussion protocol following the Boilermakers’ loss to Notre Dame Sept. 18, and missed Purdue’s contest against Illinois Sept. 25. But Bell returned for Purdue’s Oct. 2 matchup against Minnesota, racking up 120 yards on six receptions.

A Hawkeye victory this Saturday will come down to how well Iowa’s secondary can contain Purdue’s explosive passing game.

RELATED: Hawkeye secondary a catalyst for Iowa football’s 12-game win streak

Getting to know the Boilermakers

The Daily Iowan spoke with Purdue Exponent Sports Editor Steven Randall to preview the Hawkeyes’ matchup with the Boilermakers.

The Daily Iowan: Purdue has two quarterbacks it has played so far this season, and Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said he’s not sure who’s going to start on Saturday. What can you say to the QB competition?

Randall:  I think it’s intense. I think it’s still intense from everything the coaches have been saying. Obviously, when you watch them [fifth-year senior Aidan O’Connell and junior Jack Plummer], they’re two different kinds of passers, and Purdue really has four quarterbacks that it’ put out all season — three with really, kind of, meaningful reps with Plummer, O’Connell and [senior Austin] Burton. I think it’ll be whoever has done the best recently, which I think they’re still maybe looking at O’Connell. I have no idea who the actual starter is this week, but it honestly could go either way. I think it probably depends on what scheme they’re looking at from Iowa, and just how confident they feel in either quarterback against that scheme.

DI: The Boilermakers also have a stout defense, similar to Iowa — what makes Purdue’s defense so great?

Randall: I think this season there’s been a big turnaround, just because of a change in philosophy from the new, kind of, trio of defensive coordinators there. They always talk about being more aggressive, blitzing, more heavy line play. And I think it’s showing on the field. The line is constantly pressuring opposing quarterbacks, mostly stuffing the run game, and the secondary’s been making a lot of tackles and kind of preventing deeper balls. There have been breaks in coverage and kind of slip ups later in games, but I think it’s just the more aggressive style of defensem combined with the talent Purdue has on the line and its secondary, that’s helping turn around the defensive looks compared to the previous two years.

DI: From what you’ve seen, how are the Boilermakers preparing for the current No. 2 team in the nation?

Randall: I think Purdue would say they’re preparing the way they would prepare for any other team… They know what to expect, obviously, because Ferentz has been there for 20 years now, they kind of know what he’s going to bring out in terms of scheme and players and the offensive philosophy, and the defensive philosophy especially. I think the big preparation Purdue’s making this week in general is with its redzone play. That’s what it’s going to need to be able to overcome the Iowa defense, or just Iowa in general, is being able to produce on offense and where it’s been stalling the last few weeks has been in the red zone. So, if it can start to convert that offensive momentum and overcome Iowa’s defense, I think it should be able to outscore the Hawkeyes. 

DI: What’s your prediction for this weekend’s game?

Randall: I’ve been going back and forth on that all day. For me, it can honestly go between like a 17-14, they kind of both shut each other down and don’t score a lot and ends up being a really close game like it was in the last few years, where it was like 24- 20 or 26-20, or the brakes could come off and one team gets to like 40 points on the other. It’s honestly equal in my mind right now but I think I’ll go with… I’ll be bullish. I’ll go for Purdue wins, 23-20. 

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