It’s a battle of teams from the West Division of the Big Ten on the gridiron in the Hawkeye State. The Purdue Boilermakers are on the road as they make the trip to face the #2 Iowa Hawkeyes Saturday afternoon. Purdue was off last week: they were upended 20-13 at home as a 1.5-point favorite by Minnesota in their most recent game on October 2. Iowa rallied to edge #4 Penn State 23-20 at home last Saturday, covering as a 2.5-point favorite. In the all-time series between the teams, the Boilermakers own a 49-39-3 advantage, including a 24-20 home victory as a three-point underdog in the most recent meeting October 24, 2020.
Purdue Boilermakers Seeking Road UpsetPurdue had won three of their first four games before getting knocked off at home by Minnesota in their previous game. The Boilermakers have had two weeks to prepare for this one after having a bye last week. They come into this game 3-2 overall and 1-1 in Big Ten play. Against Minnesota, Purdue trailed 7-3 after the opening quarter but took a 13-10 lead at the half on a field goal with 12 seconds to go before intermission. Unfortunately, the Boilermakers were scoreless in the second half to wind up with the defeat. Purdue held a 448-294 edge in total offense, racked up 28 first downs while allowing 12 and held a 33:28 to 26:32 advantage in time of possession yet still lost. They did commit the game’s two turnovers, which proved costly.
The Boilermakers are 10th in the nation in passing offense with 325.4 yards per game while they are 122nd in rushing offense with 89.4 yards per contest. Purdue stands 102nd in the FBS in scoring offense with an average of 23.6 points per game while ranking 8th in scoring defense by allowing 15.4 points per contest. Jack Plummer is 82 of 118 for 840 yards with seven touchdowns against no interceptions on the year. Aidan O’Connell is 66 of 100 for 743 yards with four touchdowns against five interceptions while Austin Burton is five of five for 44 yards. It’s been a three-headed committee on the ground with King Doerue (48 carries, 221 yards, TD), Dylan Downing (34 carries, 130 yards) and Zander Horvath (23 carries, 89 yards, TD) sharing the load. David Bell (team-high 27 catches, 439 yards, three TD), tight end Payne Durham (18 grabs, 209 yards, three TD), Milton Wright (18 catches, 217 yards, two TD) and Jackson Anthrop (20 receptions, 178 yards) are terrific options when Purdue goes to the air. Mitchell Finneran has hit all 13 extra-point attempts and nine of 10 field-goal tries with a long of 48 this season.
Iowa Hawkeyes Try to Remain UnbeatenIowa was in a war with #4 Penn State but managed to rally in the second half to upend the Nittany Lions and remain unbeaten on the year. The Hawkeyes improved to 6-0 on the season and 3-0 in the Big Ten entering this contest. Against Penn State, Iowa led 3-0 in the first quarter before giving up 17 unanswered points. The Hawkeyes cut the deficit to 17-10 at the half and trailed 20-10 midway through the third quarter before scoring the game’s final 13 points to earn the win. Iowa held a narrow 305-287 edge in total offense, controlled the clock by a 35:53 to 24:07 margin and forced four turnovers while committing only one. Each team had 18 first downs in the contest.
The Hawkeyes come into this contest 100th in the nation in passing offense (194.2 yards per game) and 99th in rushing offense (123.3 yards per game) this season. Iowa is a decent offensive team as they are 50th of the 130 teams in the FBS to take the field this season in scoring offense with 31.5 points a game but they are stellar defensively, ranking 4th in scoring defense by allowing only 13 points a contest. Spencer Petras is 102 of 168 passing for 1,138 yards with nine touchdowns and two picks. Tyler Goodson is the lead back in the Hawkeyes’ ground attack with 124 carries for 518 yards plus five scores. Ivory Kelly-Martin (37 carries, 168 yards) is the secondary back in the system for coach Kirk Ferentz. Tight end Sam LaPorta leads the team with 23 receptions for 271 yards plus two scores on the year. Nico Ragaini (15 grabs, 205 yards, TD) and Goodson (14 catches, 162 yards, TD) have each gone over the 150-yard mark receiving on the season. Caleb Shudak has hit all 22 extra-point attempts and 11 of 12 field goal tries with a long of 51 this season.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
This one is going to be a defensive war between a pair of teams that have been very solid on that side of the ball. Purdue has moved the ball well through the air but they haven’t been able to necessarily convert those drives into points, as evidenced by their ranking in scoring offense. They’ll have a tough time against an Iowa defense that is notoriously stingy against the pass. The Hawkeyes have picked off 80 passes since the start of the 2017 season, the most in the FBS in that span. That includes 14 sacks and a whopping 16 interceptions in their first six games this season. All told, Iowa has forced 20 turnovers in six games and own a +15 margin in the giveaway/takeaway department. Purdue has just two takeaways and is a -5 in that category. That, and playing on the road, is too much for the Boilermakers to handle. Give the points as the Hawkeyes soar to 7-0.
Full-Game Total Pick
Points will be at a premium coming into this game. Purdue has seen all five of their games end up falling short of the total this season with four of those falling short by double digits. The fifth game missed the total by eight points so they haven’t been overly close to the number. On the flip side, Iowa has seen the over hit in just two of their six games. While they went over in their wins over Maryland and Penn State, the Nittany Lions game just edged over the mark with 43 points against a 41.5-point total. Iowa has held 27 consecutive opponents under 25 points, the longest active streak among Power Five programs. Purdue gets nowhere near that number and this one ends up as a 27-10 type of game, leaving it short of the mark.