IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz is a bit
perplexed at the success of his 20th-ranked Hawkeyes. He might want
to take a look at his defense.
Iowa forced five turnovers and blocked two field goals to rescue
a sputtering offense in the Hawkeyes' 23-21 victory over Purdue on
"I'm just not quite sure at this point how we're doing it,"
Ferentz said. "But we're finding a way to get it done and that's
really all that counts."
The Hawkeyes, hampered by a nonexistent rushing attack, built a
17-0 first-quarter lead before hanging on to win their 17th
straight at home, the fourth longest such streak in the nation.
Iowa's defense, ranked 10th nationally, sacked Brandon Kirsch
six times and held Purdue to just 52 yards rushing.
"We are not the prettiest car on the lot," said Ferentz.
Drew Tate, who entered the game as the Big Ten's leading passer,
threw two touchdown passes and Kyle Schlicher added three field
goals to hand Purdue (5-4, 2-4 Big Ten) its fourth straight loss.
The Hawkeyes (7-2, 5-1) built an early lead by capitalizing on
two early Boilermaker miscues -- a botched punt and a fumble.
Tate capped Iowa's impressive opening drive by rolling out and
tossing a 1-yard touchdown pass to Ed Hinkel in the back of the end
Minutes later, Iowa recovered a muffed punt deep in Purdue
territory, setting up Schlicher's 34-yard field goal.
On Purdue's next possession, Kirsch was sandwiched by two
Hawkeye defenders and fumbled. Iowa recovered the ball at the
The Hawkeyes scored seven plays later when Tate tossed a 2-yard
TD pass to tight end Tony Jackson as time ran out in the quarter
for a 17-point lead.
"We really made some rookie mistakes in the first quarter,"
said Purdue coach Joe Tiller. "We did some things that were
uncharacteristic and just kind of dug a hole for ourselves."
Purdue began crawling back in the second quarter when Kirsch
threw a 48-yard TD pass to Brian Hare.
Kirsch, starting in place of the injured Kyle Orton, was
25-of-42 for 280 yards and two touchdowns. But his two
interceptions in the fourth quarter scuttled Purdue's comeback.
"He did some very good things and some not so good things,"
said Tiller, still looking for his 100th victory. "Today, we just
played against an outstanding defense. I don't need to explain that
Orton, who grew up in Iowa and was knocked out of the game here
two years ago, said he was uncertain about his status next week.
In the first quarter, safety Marcus Paschal blocked Ben Jones'
32-yard field goal attempt. Then late in the third quarter, safety
Sean Considine slipped through the middle of the Purdue line and
deflected Jones' 27-yard try.
Tate was 24-of-45 for 270 yards, but lacking a rushing attack,
he struggled to find open receivers in the second half.
But with Iowa leading 20-14 late in the third quarter, Tate
engineered a 12-play, 94-yard scoring drive, the longest of the
season, that ended with a 21-yard field goal by Schlicher.
The key play of the drive came when Tate eluded Purdue's rush
and floated a 46-yard pass to tight end Scott Chandler, who had his
best day at Iowa with four catches for 122 yards.
"I left a couple plays out there today, and we as a team left a
couple plays out there," said Chandler, a sophomore. "We start
making those plays and we're going to be tough."
Iowa receiver Clinton Solomon added eight catches for 76 yards.
The Boilermakers cut a little deeper into Iowa's lead late in
the third quarter when Kirsch threw a 22-yard TD to Kyle Ingraham,
making it 17-14.
But the Hawkeyes' defense and special teams protected the lead.
Antwan Allen intercepted a pass on Purdue's next possession, and
linebacker George Lewis picked one off minutes later.
Purdue scored in the final minute when Kirsch threw a 10-yard TD
to Taylor Stubblefield, cutting Iowa's lead to 23-21.
But the Hawkeyes recovered the ensuing onside kick to hand
Purdue its fourth straight loss, Purdue's first four-game slide