Iowa earns first spot in B1G Championship
Final: No. 5 Iowa 40, Purdue 20
Key play: George Kittle 35-yard touchdown catch
It was getting a little too close for comfort in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes were held in check by the Boilers in the second half and they only had a one-touchdown lead facing a key third down. For whatever reason, Purdue decided not to guard Kittle. As a result, he went completely untouched for a score on an easy throw-and-catch up the middle. In fitting Iowa fashion, it came on C.J. Beathard keeping it simple on third down. As a result, Iowa got the breathing room it needed.
Telling stat: Iowa converts 55 percent of third downs
Speaking of those key third downs, Iowa was pretty good when it needed to extend a drive. Beathard, as he always does, was able to convert with his legs. Jordan Canzeri was good in short yardage, too. That’s an impressive mark for any team, much less for one of of the nation’s best in that category. Purdue, on the other hand, was at 4-for-18 on the day. Needless to say, that’s a pretty telling difference.
–LeShun Daniels starts, Canzeri finishes
The Hawkeye tailback set the tone early with two touchdowns. That gave him his eighth touchdown in his last four games. Since he came back and got the starting job back, that’s all he’s done is get into the end zone. He wasn’t, however, anywhere near the workhorse he was last week in his 195-yard effort against Minnesota. Still, he converted key scores early. That opened the door for Canzeri to take over in the second half. His 42-yard touchdown score in the fourth quarter put the exclamation point on the victory just as Daniels’ long score did last week. As we’ve said before, it really doesn’t matter which back is running the show for the Hawkeyes.
–Jordan Lomax destroys David Blough, Appleby fills in admirable
It didn’t appear to be a good sign when the Purdue quarterback was destroyed on a scramble by Jordan Lomax. The redshirt freshman was sidelined for the rest of the day on the head-to-head contact. Instead, Austin Appleby came in and actually played pretty well. He completed his first nine passes and gave Purdue a chance in the second half. He gave the Boilers a chance because he didn’t turn the ball over, which was exactly what he was benched for in the beginning of the season. Credit the veteran for playing better ball control football.
What it means: Iowa is B1G West champs, regular-season finale will be awesome
For the first time ever, the Hawkeyes are going to the B1G Championship. Even better, they’re 11-0 with a chance to record their first undefeated regular season in school history. One more win and Iowa will have a chance to play for a College Football Playoff spot. What’s the only thing standing in the way of that? Oh, just Iowa’s border rival, Nebraska. The Huskers, meanwhile, are playing to keep their bowl hopes alive. This will be the most meaningful game in this rivalry in a long time. There will be no better way to enjoy a post-Thanksgiving day of football than watching these squads try to spoil each other’s seasons.