Do not let the final score fool you. A mere 14-point victory of Iowa over Purdue was about as dominant as a 49-35 win can be. We know Darrell Hazell will spin it and try to make it a positive. He will probably say something like his team kept fighting and that they did some good things, but let’s be completely honest. Iowa went up 35-7 going into halftime and played the entire second half on Ferentz cruise control. They played a prevent defense for an entire half and even got a defensive score. Offensively they did nothing special, but used some clock and relied on the running game to keep it moving.
When Iowa needed a play, it got it. Purdue got the ball back down 42-28 with 2:18 left and the faintest of hopes riding on a score, onside recovery, score. The Hawkeyes had already inserted their backups and seemed annoyed that the starters had to come back in. Naturally, Desmond King had his first interception of the season and he returned it for a touchdown.
That was the day in a nutshell. King was voted the nation’s best defensive back last season. He has been mostly quiet this year because teams are avoiding him. After a bored second half Iowa needed to make one play, so King came in and made it.
Does this game really come as a surprise to anyone? As I wrote earlier this week, it was yet another “Prove it” game for Darrell Hazell. He failed miserably. Purdue knew it was facing a strong running team. The Hawkeyes leaned heavily on the run, and for most of the first half Purdue was completely and utterly disinterested in defending it. Hazell will use the excuse of two of our best players, Ja’Whaun Bentley and Jake Replogle, not playing, but our fans know the truth. You could see that the Boilers were completely ill-prepared for today from the first possession.
Iowa scored with ease on all three first quarter possessions. They converted their first seven third downs, also with ease. They had 184 first quarter yards to Purdue’s 19. The 21-0 lead at that point might as well have been 210-0.
Everything from that moment forward was moot. Purdue never got inside 14 points. It had only one turnover, but it was very, very late. Iowa just held Purdue at arm’s length the rest of the day and didn’t really care about yards or points given up because they knew if they needed to make a big drive they could. Even when Purdue scored before halftime to make it 28-7 with less than 2 minutes left, Iowa needed one play for Akrum Wadley to go 75 yards and get it back.
I guess we need to address “the timeout”, too. I honestly have no idea what was going on there. No one does. Facing 4th and 8 with the clock running and less than 5 seconds left Darrell Hazell called a timeout that was beyond inexplicable. This is from someone that saw Danny Hope bail Notre Dame out with a timeout in a strange situation. Did Purdue try for a hail mary out of the timeout? No. It took a knee.
There is no valid explanation for it and Hazell did not offer one. Instead, he had this to say
“I’m doing everything right to help these guys become better,” he said. “There’s no question that we’re moving forward. Obviously it doesn’t feel good right after this game. But we’re doing a lot of good things. We just have to keep pushing. That’s all.”
No question we’re moving forward.
After going 9-33 in 42 games.
After falling to 3-24 in Big Ten games.
After giving up more than 300 yards rushing for a third straight game.
After getting blown out for a fourth straight homecoming.
After looking completely unprepared in every phase of the game and giving up 49 points to an offense that struggled to score 14 points against Rutgers.
Hazell will spin positives and talk about David Blough’s 458 yard 5 TD day (which has to be the emptiest such day in the history of football, but he was again often running for his life). He’ll reference the 7 catch, 104 yard and a TD day from Cole Herdman as a positive sign.
It all means nothing. Iowa gave up the vast majority of that after they were already ahead 4 touchdowns and merely had to continue playing football because the rules of the game demanded they do it in order to keep the clock moving.
And this is where we come to the truly sad part. Here is what our university President had to say today before the game:
"On a relative basis, the number of football seats we sell has never been less important, financially"
That made it official: Those in charge at the highest levels simply do not care about Purdue football as long as the Big Ten welfare check keeps coming, and because of that Hazell will not only finish the season, there is a strong chance he will finish his contract.