Status report: Desmond King undecided on future plans
A roundup of all phases of Iowa's 40-20, Big Ten West-clinching victory Saturday over Purdue:
Pass defense: King undecided on his future plans
Iowa junior cornerback Desmond King said he’s not sure what his future holds, but said Saturday that entering the NFL Draft is a consideration.
“I’m not sure where I’m at right now,” King said. “I’m still undecided. I’m not going to think about it until it’s time for me to really think about that. I’m focused on this season and my team.”
King nearly came up with a school-record ninth interception in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t bring it in near the Iowa sideline. He also had two other chances at picks.
“I’m pretty sure I could have done better on all three of them,” King said. “I just wasn’t focused enough on the ball. Little mistakes on my end. Next time, I’m for sure going to get those.”
A crushing tackle by Iowa safety Jordan Lomax knocked Purdue quarterback David Blough out of the game late in the first quarter. Lomax finished with a career-high 13 tackles.
Blough was replaced by Austin Appleby, the starter at the beginning of the season. Appleby completed 23 of 40 passes for 259 yards and a touchdown.
One of the biggest plays came in the third quarter, when Purdue had all the momentum. The Boilermakers had already cut a 20-0 deficit to 20-13. And then wide receiver DeAngelo Yancey, who had nine catches for 117 yards, dropped a sure touchdown on a second-and-10 play from the Iowa 34.
Rush defense: Jones finds holes, but Iowa holds serve
Purdue freshman Markell Jones gained 87 hard-earned yards in 24 carries. Iowa’s defensive front struggled all day to put pressure on the quarterback — defensive end Parker Hesse had the Hawkeyes’ lone sack. Jones was also able to find some creases and had a productive day, even though the Boilermakers attacked through the air more than the ground — 38 rushes, 46 passes.
Linebacker Josey Jewell was a major factor in the run defense, making 12 tackles. Linebacker Cole Fisher was close behind with 10.
Pass offense: Catch me if you can, cousin
Iowa’s cousin connection was front and center Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.
Clinging to a 20-13 third-quarter lead, C.J. Beathard threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to tight end George Kittle with a full blitz in the quarterback’s face. On the Hawkeyes’ next possession, Beathard found Henry Krieger Coble for a 22-yard touchdown pass. Kittle and Krieger Coble are cousins.
“He’s going out there, playing awesome and doing a lot of damage,” Krieger Coble said of Kittle. “I can’t say enough about how he’s playing.”
Krieger Coble had a good game, too. He finished with four catches for 76 yards. Kittle finished with two for 49. For the season, Krieger Coble has 27 catches for 338 yards. His last 13 catches have gone for first downs. Kittle has made 16 catches for 229 yards and five touchdowns, the most of any Iowa receiver.
Beathard completed six of his first seven pass attempts for 104 yards and a touchdown. He finished the game with 12 completions in 20 attempts for 213 yards and three touchdowns. That matched his career high for touchdown passes in a game. He also did it at Iowa State. On the season, Beathard has completed 175 of 287 passes for 2,257 yards and 13 touchdowns. He’s thrown just two interceptions.
Iowa has now scored at least 30 points in five consecutive Big Ten games, a school record.
Rush offense: Not hitting on all cylinders
This looked like a mismatch on paper. Iowa entered the game second in the Big Ten in rushing, at 211.7 yards a game. Purdue was last in rush defense, allowing 209.6 yards.
But after scoring touchdowns on its first three possessions of the game, Iowa’s running game ground to a halt. Entering the fourth quarter, Purdue had outgained the Hawkeyes on the ground, 124-90. The Boilermakers were last in rush offense at 128.9 yards. Iowa had been third in rush defense, allowing just 104.6 yards.
But Iowa rallied in the final period and finished with 174 yards to 137 for Purdue. The Hawkeyes’ total was capped off by Jordan Canzeri’s 42-yard touchdown run to complete the scoring. It was Iowa’s 15th play from scrimmage of 40 yards or more this season.
Canzeri finished with 95 yards in 13 carries. He now has a team-best 824 yards for the season. LeShun Daniels had two touchdown runs, giving him eight over the last four games. Iowa now has 33 rushing touchdowns this season.
Special teams: Extra points, extra pains
Marshall Koehn’s point-after kick was blocked after Iowa’s third touchdown of the game. He also missed a PAT after the touchdown pass to Krieger Coble in the fourth quarter.
“I was just trying to rush it a little bit,” Koehn said. “I knew they were bringing it. But this one was on me. It was bad operation on my part. I just came across the ball. I’ve got to try to move on to next week.”
Koehn has now missed five extra points, but just four field goals. The senior has made 13 field goals in 17 attempts, and 41 of 46 PATs.
Iowa also fell victim to a fake punt — a nifty double reverse that gained 27 yards and gave Purdue a first and 10 from the Hawkeye 35 with the score 27-13 in the third quarter. The Boilermakers eventually turned the ball over on downs. Purdue was five-for-eight in fourth-down conversions Saturday, compared to four- of-18 on third down.