Iowa’s offense dries up in first loss of season

The Hawkeyes couldn’t put any points on the board in the second half against Purdue.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras winds up to pass during a football game between No. 2 Iowa and Purdue at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. The Boilermakers defeated the Hawkeyes 24-7. (Jerod Ringwald/The Daily Iowan)

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

At halftime of the Iowa-Purdue game on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium, the Hawkeyes had gained a total of 185 yards — 92 on the ground and 93 through the air. 

Although The Hawkeyes had only mustered seven points in the first 30 minutes of action, Kirk Ferentz’ team was on pace for nearly 400 yards of offense. That pace didn’t keep in No. 2 Iowa’s 24-7 loss to Purdue at Kinnick Stadium.

Iowa finished the game with 76 yards rushing, including seven rushes for negative 24 yards from quarterback Spencer Petras. Four of those attempts were sacks and three were quarterback sneaks. Iowa’s running backs Tyler Goodson and Ivory Kelly-Martin combined for 16 carries in the first half, and Goodson added just two more after halftime. Kelly-Martin didn’t get a single carry in the last two quarters. 

While the Purdue defense was stout on Saturday, the Boilermakers’ offense sustained long drives and controlled time of possession for the final 30 minutes. Couple that with a trailing the other team and it’s hard to establish much of anything on the ground.

“A lot of [our inability to run the ball in the second half] was just the situation, you know, us being down and stuff like that,” Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum said postgame. “ I felt like we had some decent runs in there, but also, you know, there was a lot of times where we started second and 14.”

In all, Iowa possessed the ball for a total of eight minutes in the second half, while Purdue scored twice. The Boilermakers also drove the ball 85 yards on 15 plays taking up 6:42 of the game clock only to fumble out of bounds in the end zone to give the Hawkeyes the ball at the 20 yard-line. 

Overall, Purdue converted on nine-of-16 third down attempts and two of the Boilermakers’ failed third downs occurred with less than five minutes remaining when Purdue was already up by 17. Some may call that garbage time.

Maybe the biggest third-down conversion of the afternoon came with 29 seconds remaining in the third quarter. On a third and 16 play, with Iowa still within striking distance, trailing 17-7, Purdue Quarterback Aidan O’Connell completed a 24 yard pass to David Bell to keep the drive alive.

RELATED: Purdue wide receiver David Bell burns Iowa’s secondary for third year in a row

Two plays later, Bell caught a 21-yard touchdown pass to increase the margin to 17 points. 

“We couldn’t really good pressure on the quarterback, start there,” Ferentz said postgame.  “And then when, when we did bring pressure, [O’Connell] did a pretty good job, for the most part, getting the ball off and finding somebody who’s open enough to convert the first downs. No matter what direction we leaned, they seemed to have an answer and that’s good football on their part.”

Because of the defenses struggles on third down, Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras was forced to throw the ball on nearly every play in the second half to try and conserve the clock and pick up chunk yardage. 

And Purdue made it hard on the second-year signal caller. 

“They play a lot more single-high [safety coverage] than we expected,” Petras said postgame. “They showed a lot more split-safty [coverage] than their statistics leading up to it. Credit to them. That was a good game plan they had and they played really hard.”

Petras finished the game with 195 yards passing on 17 of 32 passing and tossed a career-high four interceptions. Many of his passing yards came late in the fourth quarter with the game was practically decided. 

Iowa gained just six total yards in the third quarter on seven plays and tallied 80 yards in the fourth playing against a defense that could afford to give up some yardage up 17 points.

“We obviously weren’t cohesive enough offensively, we couldn’t keep pace.” Ferentz said. “Especially the second half, you know, just when you watch the clock winding down a little bit, that puts a little pressure on you.”

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