No. 23 Iowa's sputtering offense finally broke through in the second half against visiting Purdue, lifting the Boilermakers to a 26-20 win in Iowa City on Saturday.
Mekhi Sargent rushed for 13 carries for 68 yards and a touchdown, and freshman Tyler Goodson added another rushing TD for Iowa.
After Purdue failed on an onside kick attempt, Sargent ran for a 14-yard touchdown run with 2:16 left to put Iowa up 26-13. Purdue cut Iowa's lead to 26-20 on a 1-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jack Plummer to tight end Payne Durham with 24 seconds left, but Iowa (5-2, 2-2 Big Ten) recovered a second Purdue onside kick to snap a two-game losing streak.
Freshman receiver David Bell had 13 catches for 197 yards and a touchdown for Purdue, but it wasn't enough for the Boilermakers (2-5, 1-3 Big Ten), who turned the ball over twice in Iowa territory. Plummer completed 30 of 50 passes for 327 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, while Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley completed 23 of 33 passes for 260 yards with one interception.
Iowa entered the game having just scored one touchdown in its past two games -- back-to-back losses to Michigan and Penn State. The Hawkeyes continued that trend in the first half, settling for three first-half field goals on three drives that stalled inside the 30-yard line. Iowa junior kicker Keith Duncan connected on field goals of 30, 44 and 42 yards, giving the Hawkeyes a 9-0 lead.
Purdue missed out on a potential scoring opportunity early in the second quarter when receiver Amad Anderson Jr. fumbled at Iowa's 9-yard line. But the Boilermakers were able to break through on the scoreboard later in the second quarter. Plummer led Purdue on a seven-play, 78-yard touchdown drive, capped by a 7-yard touchdown pass to Bell with 38 seconds left in the first half that cut Iowa's lead to 9-7 at halftime.
The Hawkeyes finally broke through for a touchdown in the third quarter, putting together a nine-play, 72-yard drive in the third quarter off a Plummer interception. Goodson capped the scoring with a 1-yard run to put Iowa up 16-7 with 7:26 left in the third quarter for Iowa's first touchdown in the red zone in its last six red zone possessions.
--Field Level Media