Saturday, 21 November 2015

Iowa pulls away late from Purdue football

 A familiar theme of Purdue's football season played out again Saturday.
The Boilermakers showed they're good enough to compete but not good enough to win.
Saturday's 40-20 loss to No. 6 Iowa was another road game where coach Darrell Hazell's team had its chances to break through, but didn't. They left more plays on the field, and the Hawkeyes took advantage and pulled away, clinching the Big Ten West division championship and staying alive for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Purdue was close again, but that's very little consolation at this stage of the season.
"We're overdue," said defensive tackle Jake Replogle, who registered two sacks and blocked a PAT. "We have the talent to do it, we have the coaches to do it. We need to make more plays and be consistent and do our job. The biggest thing is do our job and obviously we weren't able to get it done."
Backup quarterback Austin Appleby provided a spark, replacing David Blough, who left late in the first quarter after absorbing a hard hit by safety Jordan Lomax.
"I'm not sure how he is," Hazell said. "He took a pretty good shot."
Seeing his first action since Sept. 19 against Virginia Tech, Appleby completed 23 of 40 passes for 259 yards and one touchdown. He guided the Boilermakers to 13 consecutive points – a 1-yard TD run by Markell Jones and two Paul Griggs field goals in the red zone - on three straight possessions, cutting Iowa's lead to 20-13.
"I felt like I saw things really well," said Appleby, who hit his first nine passes. "I was really well-protected. There were very few times I was really rushed. They gave me a good pocket to stand in, and I was able to stay on rhythm. If I can stay on rhythm and keep moving forward and seeing things and working through the progression, I think as an offense and as a receiving corps, the guys get to their spots and I think I can hit them pretty well."
But once again, plays were there to be made.
Following last week's loss at Northwestern, Hazell showed his team 13 plays that could've made a difference to change the seven-point margin of defeat into a victory. Who knows how many Hazell will show Sunday, but here's three that loomed large.
Two involved receiver DeAngelo Yancey, who finished with nine catches for 117 yards. If he makes the first one, the second never happens. Yancey dropped Appleby's deep pass, negating a touchdown and denying Purdue from tying the score at 20-20 midway through the third quarter.
On the next play, Yancey dropped another apparent touchdown across the middle.
"The first one, it's a flat out drop. The second one was the same; I just had it cross myface but that happens all the time. Two drops in critical situations," Yancey said.
Yancey wants to be the No. 1 target, the receiver his teammates depend on.
"I want to be the guy in the receiving room and to be that you've got to make those plays," he said.
Still down 20-13, Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard found George Kittle open down the middle on a 35-yard TD after safety Brandon Roberts didn't stay with the tight end. Roberts was scheduled to blitz – along with other defenders – but was supposed to drop back if Kittle released off the line of scrimmage.
"The tight end, he faked a block for a while and I was supposed to stab after that and he actually released and I was just late getting to him," Roberts said.
The touchdown capped a 91-yard drive into the wind, giving the momentum back to the Hawkeyes, who are now 11-0.
"Purdue really grabbed momentum," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "It was like a 20-minute period there or a 25-minute period where they had us on our heels a little bit, but our guys fought back. That 90-yard drive into the wind was certainly, I think, a real big part of the game, and the defense forcing them to take field goals a couple times inside the 10."
Other plays were a factor, especially on the first three drives when the Hawkeyes sprinted to a 20-0 lead on their first 21 plays and were headed toward a blowout before a bundled-up crowd that braved six inches of snow at Kinnick Stadium.
"Those are the situations when you're playing a good football team that you have to be right on-point and obviously we didn't do that," Hazell said.
The only thing left for the Boilermakers is to try and ruin Indiana's chances of becoming bowl eligible. The Hoosiers beat Maryland, securing their fifth victory, and they need to beat Purdue at Ross-Ade Stadium to keep the Old Oaken Bucket and qualify for a bowl game.
The Boilermakers have one last chance to start making those plays they missed Saturday and at other times this season. If not, it will be another frustrating day to end another frustrating season.

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