After the Hawkeyes got smoked by Michigan State last week a lot of the “experts” wondered if Iowa would win another game.
They hadn’t won on the road all season and finished at Purdue and Nebraska.
“Not so fast my friends,” said the Hawks, and they rolled over Purdue Saturday, 31-21.
The usual suspects led the Hawks once again.
Marcus Coker had over 100 yards rushing, Marvin McNutt had over 150 yards receiving and James Vandenberg had over 250 yards passing.
The defense held Purdue to 2.8 yards average on the ground and the special teams had their moments, including a blocked punt and a recovered fumble on a kickoff.
This is a tough call, but I’m going to start with the man that keeps breaking Iowa records, Marvin McNutt.
Tim Dwight and Nile Kinnick might be the best all-around athletes to play for the Hawkeyes, but when it comes to receivers, you start with Marvin.
You realize that Marvin started out his redshirt freshman year as quarterback in 2008. He had one rushing attempt and completed 1-3 passes for 10 yards and one interception in the second game of the season against Florida International when he was still a quarterback.
Marvin switched to wide receiver in the seventh game against Indiana and caught his only pass of the season.
In 2009 Marvin had 34 catches for 674 yards and eight touchdowns. He also threw an incomplete pass on a reverse.
Marvin busted out for 53 catches, 861 yards and eight more scores in 2010. He also threw another incomplete pass on a reverse.
Saturday against Purdue, the 6-4, 215-pound senior had nine catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns.
For the season, Marvin has 74 catches, 1,240 yards and 12 touchdowns. The 12 touchdowns broke Maurice Brown’s record of 11.
Marvin couldn’t have caught all those passes if the offensive line didn’t block, Marcus Coker didn’t run well and James Vandenberg didn’t get him the ball.
James was solid, going 22-32 for 273 and three touchdown passes, and the Hawks dropped at least three passes.
“The whole receiving group did a great job today catching the ball in tough conditions,” said James.
C. J. Fiedorowicz caught three big catches with one going for a score.
“C.J. is really just growing into his role,” said James. “He made a bunch of big catches today. That touchdown and on a third down he did a great job of getting open. He’s really coming along and that’s something we definitely need.”
Let’s give Keenan Davis some credit for playing with pain in his ankle the last few games.
The former Cedar Rapids prep had seven catches for 63 yards. It’s hard to double team Marvin if Keenan is on the field.
Keenan has 41 catches for the year and has averaged 14.5 yards per catch with four touchdowns.
How about Marcus Coker? Marcus had his seventh 100-yard rushing day with 129 yards and a score. His season total of 1,297 yards is the sixth best in a single season at Iowa.
Another big stat was time of possession. The Hawks had the ball for 33:30, the Boilermakers 26:30. The defense was fresh in the fourth quarter when Purdue tried to come back.
You start out with nine tackles for a loss, including five sacks; throw in two interceptions, four fumble recoveries and you have a pretty decent afternoon.
Senior Mike Daniels led the way with two sacks, two tackles for a loss and led the team with eight tackles.
“He really looked like he had it going,” said Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz about Mike, who has fought off injuries. “He had a good week of practice and he felt pretty good on Monday, so that was a positive. When he gets a chance to practice he plays better, just like everyone else. He led the guys up front and Tyler did a good job at the linebacker position. Anthony Hitchens jumped in there when James Morris came out. A lot of guys doing a lot of things.”
Shaun Prater had a forced fumble, a sack and two pass breakups.
Purdue had only 282 total yards and the Iowa defense played 26:30 minutes of solid football.
Mike Meyers was 1-2 at field goals and Eric Guthrie had a tough day punting against the strong wind, averaging only 33.2 yards per kick.
Anthony Hitchens recovered his fumble on a Hawkeye kickoff and Kyle Steinbrecher blocked a Purdue punt in the second quarter.
Purdue came into the game as one of the top kickoff return teams in the Big Ten. The Hawks held them to a 19.4 yard average.
It wasn’t the prettiest game, but the Hawkeyes are 7-4, 4-3 in the Big Ten.
“It sure was good to get the win and being on the road makes it so much better,” said Captain Kirk. “We knew it would be a tough challenge. Purdue has been playing very well at home and they have been playing better the last two weeks. The credit goes to our players, they really fought hard. It wasn’t a pretty game but they really worked hard.”
Next up another road trip, this time to the newest member of the Big Ten, the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Iowa has played Nebraska 41 times and the Cornhuskers lead the series 26-12 with three ties.
I made it to Lincoln one time in 1980... Iowa lost 57-0. I don’t plan on going back.
Iowa did bounce back in 1981, winning 10-7 at Kinnick Stadium on its way to the first winning season in 20 years, plus a Rose Bowl birth. I was at that game also, and remember Andre Tippet and Mel Cole leading the defense while Reggie Roby averaged 55.4 yards per punt, which is still an Iowa single game record.
Reggie is now up in the heavens punting for the dream team. Maybe he can send the Hawks some divine inspiration.