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Iowa Hawkeyes earn high marks in key Big Ten West win over Purdue Boilermakers


The Iowa football team has resurrected its season with two consecutive one-sided victories.

The Hawkeyes picked up their fifth win of the season Saturday, easily handling Purdue 24-3 in a pivotal Big Ten West game at Lafayette, Ind.

Freshman running back Kaleb Johnson had a breakout performance with 200 rushing yards and Iowa's defense was dominant. The Hawkeyes look to be hitting their stride with three games left in the regular season.

Here are the grades for each unit in Saturday's game:

Offense: Back-to-back good performances inspire hope

Through the game's first two quarters, the unit was clicking, as Iowa accumulated 258 yards of offense. The Hawkeyes scored on three of their last four drives in the half, including two passing touchdowns from Spencer Petras.

More:Leistikow's thoughts off Iowa's 24-3 win at Purdue: Revenge tastes sweet

Johnson opened the second half with a 75-yard touchdown run. After that, Iowa's offense started to play a little more conservatively to milk the clock. It became clear that Purdue's only chance to come back would be to force turnovers, and Iowa did a good job of not coughing up the ball.

The Hawkeyes had just 118 yards of offense in the second half and punted on five of their seven drives.

Johnson put on a show, averaging 9.1 yards on 22 carries. He set a career-high in yards and carries.

Grade: B

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Spencer Petras outlines why Iowa's offense had success at Purdue
Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras completed 13 of 23 passes for 192 yards with two touchdowns in a 24-3 win vs. Purdue.
Chad Leistikow, Hawk Central

Defense: Sorry Purdue, but the train stops here

Purdue, boasting one of the most prolific offenses in the Big Ten, couldn't do much against Phil Parker's group. The Boilermakers are not the first team to struggle against Iowa's defense and probably won't be the last.

Iowa sacked Purdue quarterback Aidan O'Connell three times, and Kaevon Merriweather and Seth Benson recorded interceptions. Benson's INT was huge for the Hawkeyes, keeping points off the scoreboard after Purdue had entered the red zone.

Their red-zone woes continued after a third-down sack from defensive lineman Lukas Van Ness, which took Purdue from the 2-yard line back to the 15. The Boilerkamers had to settle for a field goal.

More:Recap: Iowa football defeats Purdue 24-3 behind Kaleb Johnson's big day

Purdue's Charlie Jones got his catches and yards, but few of his receptions did much damage.

Maybe the most telling stat of the day: Purdue was 2-of-16 on third down.

Grade: A

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Sam LaPorta sees 'snowball effect' of Iowa offense as winds howl
Iowa tight end Sam LaPorta had three catches for 71 yards and a touchdown in a 24-3 win at Purdue.
Chad Leistikow, Hawk Central

Special Teams: Tory Taylor puts on a clinic

Tory Taylor averaged 51.8 yards on his eight punts, including a booming 70-yarder. He did an excellent job of keeping the ball away from the dangerous Jones, who finished with zero punt return yards.

Kicker Drew Stevens split his field-goal attempts. He made his first attempt from 26 yards away but missed one from 44 yards out.

Grade: B+

Coaching: Hawkeyes' fast start allows the coaching staff to ride the hot hand

The Hawkeyes' coaching staff would have been hard-pressed to call a better game than they did Saturday.

They found a hot hand in Johnson and gave him the ball often. He ran wild and gave the offense a dimension that they have lacked for much of the season. Good work from offensive line George Barnett, too. His group was strong on Saturday.

Parker's defensive unit is always well-prepared, but it seemed that the Hawkeyes had a little extra incentive against Purdue. The Hawkeyes' sticky coverage made it difficult for Purdue to get big plays, which created third-and-long situations. That allowed the coaches to unleash their stellar pass rushers.

Grade: B+