WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Welcome to the Big Ten.
Purdue quarterback David Blough introduced Iowa freshmen cornerbacks Riley Moss and Julius Brents to what it’s like to deal with a big-time, big-play passing attack Saturday.
The Hawkeye rookies received an indoctrination of sorts in the Hawkeyes’ 38-36 loss to the Boilermakers, targeted and tested from start to finish by the Purdue senior.
"Those guys gave it everything they had," strong safety Amani Hooker said. "They’ve been competing and learning and getting better. It was a tough day for all of us out there."
Blough piled up 333 pass yards against the Hawkeyes, 70 yards more than an Iowa opponent had thrown for this season.
He peppered the Iowa defense with passes short and long, completing 23 of the 32 balls including a season-high four touchdown passes.
Blough’s work included passes of 82, 57, 41 and 36 yards, and he didn’t waste any time declaring his intentions.
He connected on 5-of-7 passes in Purdue’s first drive of the game, a nine-play march that concluded with a 36-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Zico after he slipped past Brents on an inside post route for the first of the Boilermakers’ points.
A 57-yard pass to tight end Brycen Hopkins set up a 1-yard Markell Jones touchdown run on the Boilermakers’ second drive, preceding touchdown passes of 41 and 82 yards that were part of a 146-yard, three-score receiving day for Terry Wright.
"Purdue has good players. (Wright) played a good game and their quarterback does a good job of getting the ball to their receivers," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "The 82-yard play at the start of the second half was disappointing, it was like déjà vu and the start of the third quarter at Kinnick last year.
"But, I thought Riley competed and Julius did the same thing. They’ve worked hard. This was what, their fifth game out there, and they’ll learn from this. That’s the way it has to work."
Free safety Jake Gervase, the only senior in the Hawkeye secondary, took responsibility for not having Moss and Brents ready for what Purdue threw at them Saturday.
"When we don’t have success, it’s a group thing," Gervase said. "It’s my job as a senior to have those guys ready to get done what we need to get done on the back end. That’s part of my responsibility, to get those guys ready to go out and play."
The Hawkeyes did force two turnovers, with Hooker and Gervase each recording an interception.
"Coming in, we knew they had a good quarterback. It’s up to us to make the plays to not let him have the kind of day he had," Hooker said.