Hawkeyes Gameday: 5 storylines for Iowa-Purdue

Rick Brown
LeShun Daniels has a hand in Iowa's 14 plays of 40 yards or more.

A balanced (big play) attack 

After putting up 29 points in the season’s second Big Ten game against Illinois, Iowa has now scored 30 points or more in four straight league contests for the first time in school history.

“To me, that’s a pretty significant accomplishment,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.

On top of that, Iowa’s offensive balance has been impressive — 2,117 yards rushing, 2,097 yards passing.

LeShun Daniels’ 51-yard touchdown run late in Saturday’s 40-35 victory against Minnesota was the team’s 14th scrimmage play of at least 40 yards this season. Iowa had 13 plays of 40-plus yards in 2012 and 2013 combined.

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Home cooking 

A victory over Purdue would give Iowa a 7-0 record at Kinnick Stadium. Between 2012 and 2014, the Hawkeyes won a total of 10 home games and lost 11.

Iowa was last undefeated season at home was in 2004, when it went 6-0. The 2003 team is the only one to finish 7-0. That 2003 team finished 10-3 and was eighth in the final Associated Press poll of the season. The 2004 team finished 10-2 and also ended up eighth in the final AP poll.

Iowa has been 6-1 at home four times under Ferentz — 2002, 2008, 2009 and 2011.

Success under center

Purdue has a treasured history at quarterback, including Len Dawson, Bob Griese, Mike Phipps, Mark Herrmann and Drew Brees and Iowa native Kyle Orton. Time will tell if David Blough joins that list.

A redshirt freshman from Carrollton, Texas, Blough was inserted as Purdue’s starter in the fourth game. Since then he has completed 166 of 288 passes for 1,565 yards, with 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Blough has completed at least 28 passes in three different games, the first Purdue quarterback to do that since Curtis Painter in 2007.

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Rush to judgment

Purdue gained just 83 yards on 30 carries during a 24-10 loss to Iowa last season at Ross-Ade Stadium.

Purdue is still struggling to gain traction on the ground. The Boilermakers are last in the league in rushing offense at 105.5 yards per game. But Purdue does have a promising future with freshman Markell Jones. He has rushed for 692 yards on 128 carries this season, and scored eight touchdowns.

Jones set a Purdue single-game freshman record with 157 yards against Michigan State. He broke the record of Mike Northington, who rushed for 146 yards against Iowa in 1973.

“He’s a good player,” Ferentz said. “We liked him in recruiting. I believe he was an early entry there last January, so he’s doing a really nice job for them (5.4 yards per carry).”

Upset buzz

Iowa enters this game ranked sixth in the Associated Press poll. The last time Purdue beat a ranked Hawkeye team was 2003. No. 16 Purdue defeated No. 10 Iowa 27-14 in West Lafayette, Ind. Purdue has a 3-11 record against Iowa teams that were ranked.

The Hawkeyes also enter Saturday’s game undefeated. The last time Purdue squared off against an undefeated team in November came in 2013, when Ohio State rolled to a 56-0 victory.