Iowa (3-1) at Purdue (2-2) (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Ross-Ade Stadium (62,500) — West Lafayette, Indiana.
Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: Iowa 2-1, Purdue 2-1. Away Record:
Iowa 1-0, Purdue 0-0. Neutral Record: Iowa 0-0, Purdue 0-1. Conference Record:
Iowa 0-0, Purdue 0-0. Series Record: Iowa leads, 46-35-3.

GAME NOTES: The Iowa Hawkeyes and Purdue Boilermakers will meet in a Big Ten
conference showdown on Saturday at Ross-Ade Stadium.

This is the league opener for Iowa, which is sporting a 3-1 record entering
the contest. The Hawkeyes were handed a devastating 20-17 loss to in-state
rival Iowa State two weeks ago, but they bounced back with a dramatic road
win over Pittsburgh (24-20). Triumphs over Northern Iowa (31-23) and Ball
State (17-13) started the campaign.

Purdue, which also is playing its first Big Ten game of the season, has split
its four games with wins over Western Michigan (43-34) and Southern Illinois
(35-13). The Boilermakers were not as lucky against Central Michigan (38-17)
and Notre Dame (30-14).

Iowa has the edge in the all-time series with Purdue, 46-35-3. The Hawkeyes
have dominated recently with wins in six of the last eight matchups, including
a 38-14 victory in West Lafayette a year ago.

Grinding is the best way to describe Iowa this season. The Hawkeyes have
gutted out victories with a narrow +3.0 scoring margin, while accumulating a
meager average of 360.5 yards of total offense per game. In the win over
Pittsburgh, the Hawkeyes had only 311 yards of total offense, while letting up
435 to the Panthers.

The win over the Panthers also came despite a change at quarterback. Starter
Jake Rudock missed the entire second half due to a hip injury. Sophomore C.J.
Beathard came in to replace him and performed admirably, completing 7-of-8
passes for 98 yards. Rudock is listed as questionable for this weekend’s
contest, meaning Beathard may be in for even more playing time.

Working in a new quarterback could mean increased work for Iowa’s stable of
backs. Mark Weisman (184 yards, four TDs) has been the primary option on
running plays, leading the team in carries (54), yards and touchdowns. Rudock
himself was a rushing threat, but Beathard has yet to show much flash in that
area.

Kevonte Martin-Manley (21 receptions, 158 yards) is the top receiving threat
for the Hawkeyes, but he is averaging only 7.5 yards per reception. Damon
Bullock (15 receptions, 92 yards), Tevaun Smith (14 receptions, 124 yards, TD)
and Jake Duzey (12 receptions, 71 yards, TD) are the only other players with
more than five catches, but none of them are averaging more than 10 yards per
reception.

What has allowed Iowa to find wins despite a rather ineffective offense is a
stellar defense. The Hawkeyes are allowing only 19 points and 349 yards per
game. They also have surrendered only three touchdowns in 11 red-zone
opportunities.

Drew Ott (22 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 3.0 sacks) lead the pass rush, while Louis
Trinca-Pasat and Quinton Alston (30 tackles, 3.0 TFL) have made their presence
known in the opposing backfield as well.

Playing into Iowa’s hands is the fact that Purdue isn’t exactly an offensive
powerhouse. The Boilermakers are scoring just 27.2 points per game, and they
rank ahead of only Northwestern and Minnesota among Big Ten teams in terms of
total offense (351 ypg).

Running backs Raheem Mostert and Akeem Hunt have shared the responsibilities
of running the ball. Mostert has been a bit more productive with 293 yards and
a touchdown on a team-high 67 carries. Hunt has been flashier, tallying 179
yards an a score on 31 attempts. However, both have scored fewer rushing
touchdowns than quarterback Danny Etling, who has three but only 30 yards
rushing.

Etling has not been able to be a consistent threat with his arm, averaging
only 184.8 yards through the air each week. In total, he has 739 yards on 57.4
percent passing. He also has six touchdowns against four interceptions.

Justin Sinz (12 receptions, 123 yards, TD) gets consistent work, but isn’t
much of a deep threat. Danny Anthrop (12 receptions, 204 yards, two TDs) has
filled that role, while Hunt (13 receptions, 76 yards) is a nice safety net
out of the backfield.

Purdue has at least remained competitive in much the same way Iowa has; by
playing well on defense. The Boilermakers may be letting up just under 29
points per game, but they are limiting foes to 379.2 yards per contest.

Landon Feichter (33 tackles, INT) and Sean Robinson (30 tackles, 3.0 TFL) have
been the most productive players when it comes to total tackles, while Ryan
Watson already has four sacks.

Iowa proved last weekend that it can win in a tough road environment with
Beathard calling the shots. While there may still be growing pains, especially
on the road against a conference foe, the Hawkeyes should be able to repeat
the result in this one.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Iowa 26, Purdue 20