For a third time this season, a top-25 team traveled to West Lafayette to play football against the Purdue Boilermakers. And for a third time the visitors lost.
Number 19 Iowa was the latest to fall victim to this trend, though the Hawkeyes used a fourth quarter comeback to scare the home team before falling 38-36. The last time Purdue beat three ranked teams in one season was 2002.
After a bad loss last week to Michigan State, the Boilers bounced back in a big way. The offense was clicking again, with David Blough throwing for 333 yards and four touchdowns. Wide receiver Terry Wright had a big performance as well, catching 6 passes for 146 yards and tallying 3 scores, the longest of which on an 82-yard catch-and-run to open the second half.
Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley also played well, totaling 275 passing yards and one TD pass, but he was mostly a counter to a rushing attack that saw seven players record rushing yardage -- albeit only for a 3.2 yards per carry average.
The Iowa defense was able to create two turnovers which resulted in scores and took the lead with 12:30 left in the game, but failed to convert on a two-point conversion.
Faced with a fourth-and-two from the Hawkeye 30 after getting the ball back, the Boilermakers elected not to attempt a field goal, and were rewarded with a first down run by Blough. The home team ran the clock down to eight seconds before a 25-yard boot from Spencer Evans put Purdue back ahead. When a fumble on the ensuing kickoff was fumbled away by the Hawkeyes, Purdue had beaten its second ranked, Big Ten Conference opponent in three weeks.
"This was by no means a perfect game," Purdue Head Coach Jeff Brohm said afterward. "We made a lot of mistakes but we continued to play hard and be aggressive and that is what won us this game."
With this win the race for the Big Ten West division becomes even tighter as the Boilers jump back to second, trailing only Northwestern. They travel to Minnesota next week for their first shot at a coveted sixth win, which would gain the team bowl eligibility for the second straight season.