Purdue spoils Homecoming, hands No. 2 Iowa first loss of season in upset

The Hawkeyes head into their bye week with a 6-1 record.

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Jerod Ringwald

Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell throws a pass during a football game between Iowa and Purdue at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. (Jerod Ringwald/The Daily Iowan)

Robert Read, Pregame Editor


What a difference a week makes.

Seven days after winning a top-five matchup at Kinnick Stadium, No. 2 Iowa (6-1, 3-1) was upset by Purdue (4-2, 2-1), 24-7, at the very same venue. The Boilermakers have won four of their last five meetings with the Hawkeyes.

Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell threw for 360 yards and accounted for three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) against Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker’s vaunted secondary. O’Connell ran in for a six-yard touchdown on Purdue’s second offensive drive of the game. Iowa running back Ivory Kelly-Martin scored a three-yard rushing touchdown — his first since 2018 — later in the first quarter to even the score.

The Boilermakers outscored the Hawkeyes 17-0 over the final three quarters.

Iowa only managed 271 of total offense. Purdue wide receiver David Bell recorded 240 receiving yards by himself.

Hawkeye quarterback Spencer Petras threw four interceptions in the loss. Purdue forced two total turnovers all season heading into the game.

This is Iowa’s worst loss since 2017. It is also the first time Purdue beat a ranked team on the road since 2003.

Big picture

Iowa heads into its bye week with a 6-1 record (3-1 in the Big Ten). The Hawkeyes had won their previous 12 games before their loss to the Boilermakers.

Iowa remains atop the decision, but is now among three one-loss teams (as far as conference record) in the Big Ten West, joining Purdue and Minnesota.

This is the 13th win in Purdue football history against an AP top-two team.

Turning point

Trailing 17-7 with 1:57 remaining in the third quarter, Iowa seemed to have gotten the break it needed.

Purdue was going right down the field on a 15-play, 85-yard touchdown drive. O’Connell found wide receiver TJ Sheffield near the goal line, but Sheffield reached the ball out in an attempt to score and it came loose as it hit the pylon. The ball went out of bounds in the end zone. The play was initially ruled a touchdown, before it was overturned by review and called a touchback.

Instead of trailing 24-7, the Hawkeyes had the ball back with a chance to take the momentum. So much for that. Petras was sacked twice to start the next drive, and his third-down pass fell incomplete. Iowa punted and Purdue scored a touchdown to put the game away the next time it had the ball.

David Bell is a problem

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz called Bell potentially the wide receiver he’s seen at the college level earlier this week. Bell lived up to that praise.

Bell has shredded Iowa’s secondary in all three of his meetings against the Hawkeyes.

As a freshman in 2019, Bell frustrated the Kinnick Stadium crowd with 13 receptions for 197 yards and a touchdown in an Iowa win. Last season in West Lafayette, Bell caught 13 more passes for 121 more yards and three touchdowns — including the game-winner.

In his third game against Iowa, the junior caught 11 passes for 240 yards and a score.

Iowa was without starting cornerback Riley Moss — the national leader in interceptions (4) — against Purdue after his knee injury against Penn State. Matt Hankins, Iowa’s other starting cornerback, left the game and went to the locker room for a couple plays in the first half with an upper body injury. The fifth-year senior returned to the game. But it didn’t matter who was covering Bell on Saturday.

Up next

Iowa is on a bye next week. The Hawkeyes return to the field Oct. 30 in Madison, Wisconsin, against the Badgers. The game is scheduled to kick off at 11 a.m. The T.V. station the game will air on is still to be determined.

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