Boilers looking to keep their Bowl hopes alive against Iowa

Written by Garin Turner
The Purdue Boilermakers (4-6, 2-5 Big Ten-West) need to win their final two games to become bowl eligible for the first time in five years. They’ll travel to Iowa City to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes (6-4, 3-4 Big Ten-West) at 2:30 PM CST on the Big Ten Network. This is the last road game of the season for the Boilermakers who are looking for their first win in Iowa City since 2012. This will be the 88th meeting between the two schools with Purdue holding the lead 46-38-3.

The Hawkeyes might have a hard time putting points on the board as Purdue has the 19th ranked scoring defense in the country. The Boilermakers haven’t allowed an opponent to score more than two touchdowns in a game since Sept. 23 against the Michigan Wolverines. Purdue’s defense has held their last three opponents (then No. 25 Northwestern, Illinois, and Nebraska) to under 100 yards rushing.

Both teams are coming off of loses last week. Iowa lost on the road against a Wisconsin team who’s looking to make the College Football Playoffs 38-14. Meanwhile, the Boilermakers lost to Northwestern 23-13.

Elijah Sindelar willl start again for the second straight week after David Blough was injured in the game against the Illini. Sindelar will face a Hawkeye defense who’s not far behind Purdue stats wise. Iowa ranks 24th in scoring defense. Sindelar will have to limit his turnovers in this one. He’s thrown six interceptions on the year in which he spent a lot of it splitting reps with Blough.  Sindelar is 117-210 for 1,315 yards and nine touchdowns.

D.J. Knox has been the primary running back for the Boilermakers after Tario Fuller went down with an injury in week three against the Missouri Tigers. He is the leading rusher with 70 carries for 409 yards and a touchdown. The Boilermakers have made big strides in their rushing attack averaging 147.4 yards per game. That’s an improvement of 51.2 yards per game from last year.

The Hawkeyes will have their work cut out for them if Purdue manages to get into the red zone. The Boilermakers are 31-35 scoring this season including a 16-16 start before the streak was stopped in the second quarter against Minnesota back in week five.

When Purdue does go to the air, they’ll have to be on the lookout for Josh Jackson who leads the country with seven interceptions with 163 yards on returns. He also has 23 pass deflections which is also good for first in the country. Just in the last two weeks he has five interceptions. Jackson has earned BIG Defensive Player of the Week honors for the last two weeks.

On offense, the play of QB Nate Stanley has opened a lot of eyes. He had a breakout game two weeks ago against Ohio State. He’s second in the Big Ten with 22 touchdown passes. That’s also tied for 14th in the country. Stanley is the first Iowa QB to throw for 20-plus touchdowns in a season since James Vandenberg did it back in 2011 with 25.

Iowa hits the road next week to take on rival Nebraska in the last game of the regular season.
Purdue finishes their regular season at home against Indiana.

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