By Brendan Stiles
To get you all ready for Saturday’s game between Iowa and Purdue, I put together a list of things you ought to know before these two face off at Kinnick Stadium.
At the end, I’ll provide what I think are three keys to an Iowa victory.
Iowa Hawkeyes (4-5, 2-3) vs. Purdue Boilermakers (3-6, 0-5)
Kinnick Stadium; Iowa City, Iowa
Nov. 10, 2012
11 a.m. Central
TV: BTN (Josh Lewin, Chris Martin, J Leman)
Radio: Hawkeye Radio Network (Gary Dolphin, Ed Podolak, Rob Brooks)
Brendan’s Three Keys to the Game:
1. Don’t surrender big plays
Defensively, Iowa has been carved apart the past three weeks because it has given up big plays both on the ground and through the air. Purdue has the speed at the skill positions where big plays could materialize. This is something the Hawkeyes have to avoid the Boilermaker offense from doing. This means they can’t afford to miss any open-field tackles, otherwise Purdue will have players off to the races. This same key could also be applied to kickoff and punt coverage as well because the Boilermakers have made plays this season in the return game.
2. Aggressive play-calling offensively
If there was ever a game for Iowa to open up the playbook offensively, it’s this weekend against Purdue. Teams like Michigan and Wisconsin had success against the Boilermaker defense because they gashed Purdue on the ground every which way. Regardless of whether or not Mark Weisman can play, Damon Bullock has emerged as a big-play threat and could be a real key to the Hawkeye offense on Saturday. That being said, Iowa should look to be aggressive in the passing game as well. If the Hawkeyes do this, they not only should be able to win, but this could give them some confidence to build off of going into those final two contests against Michigan and Nebraska.
3. Go for the knockout early
Purdue has lost five straight games and needs to win out just to reach bowl-eligibility. Given recent performances against Minnesota and Penn State, it’s fair to question whether the Boilermakers are even going to have the right psyche mentally for playing Saturday. Which is why Iowa needs to go for the knockout early. The longer the Hawkeyes let Purdue hang around, the more vulnerable they’re setting themselves up to be as the game progresses. Even though Iowa has lost three straight itself, the Hawkeyes are at home and have the intangibles in their favor Saturday. If they can build a big lead early like they did last weekend at Indiana, let’s just say the odds of them holding a lead this Saturday at home against a reeling squad are better than the circumstances last week.