Purdue’s hot-handed quarterback, flipping the script on turnovers and more are all part of today’s Hawkeye 10@10.
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Here is today’s Hawkeye 10@10:
1. Among the biggest challenges Iowa players find themselves dealing with after a loss is keeping younger Hawkeyes moving forward.
The key to that is in doing it quickly.
“The first 24, 28 hours, a lot of duds are down, but when Monday practice hits, you just have to bring the same intensity you brought last week, even more coming off losses,’’ Iowa cornerback Michael Ojemudia said. “You bring the younger guys along because energy is contagious. If you bring that energy, other guys feed off of you.’’
2. Purdue quarterback Jack Plummer completed 33-of-41 passes for 420 yards last week against Maryland, an 80.5 percent completion rate that ranks as the best in Boilermakers’ history for any quarterback attempting more than 40 passes.
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound redshirt freshman considers it an effort to build on.
“The offensive line did a great job of giving me the time I needed last week and the receivers, they were making plays, making the contested catches. Those guys made it easy for me,’’ Plummer said.
Plummer’s completion percentage topped the previous 40-plus attempt best of Curtis Painter, who completed 77.6 percent of his 49 attempts in a 2007 game against Eastern Illinois.
3. After turning opponents over just once in the last two games and turning the ball over six times itself, Iowa is working to regain the edge in turnover margin.
Coach Kirk Ferentz said during his Learfield Sports radio show on Wednesday night that the Hawkeyes need to take care of the ball themselves and help themselves by creating takeaways if they hope to get back in the win column.
“It’s not everything, but it’s pretty close to everything,’’ Ferentz said. “Our good teams have been able to win the turnover thing and that is important.’’
4. While Iowa has turned the ball over six times in its last two games, Hawkeye opponents have given Iowa just one takeaway in those two games.
That has positioned the Hawkeyes eighth in the Big Ten in turnover margin heading into Saturday’s 11 a.m. game against Purdue.
“The bottom line is it’s usually a matter of good preparation, good reaction on the field, playing well and sometimes being aggressive,’’ Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Credit our opponents on that one. They’ve done a good job of securing the ball, a better job than we have.’’
Iowa has gained seven takeaways through its first six games, 11th among Big Ten teams, and has lost seven turnovers, the fourth-fewest total in the league.
5. Purdue coach Jeff Brohm sees a quick start as a necessity for the Boilermakers in Saturday’s 11 a.m. game at Iowa.
“If we can find a way to score early, put some points on the board, it only helps,’’ Brohm said. “Anything you can do to put Iowa in a position to play a little different brand of football than they like, the better off you are. If you let them play their game, it becomes a very tough challenge.’’
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6. Don’t be surprised if Purdue mixes and matches punters this week.
Freshman Brooks Cormier has been the Boilermakers starter this season, but sophomore Zac Collins brought a rugby-style approach to that segment of the game last week.
Coach Jeff Brohm said windy conditions factored into that decision, but he expects both Cormier and Collins to see time as the season continues.
Cormier has averaged 41.5 yards on 22 punts this season while Collins has averaged 38.6 on 13.
7. Coach Kirk Ferentz said the objective now isn’t any different that the objective was several weeks ago for the Iowa football team – steady improvement.
“I told our team (Tuesday) morning, our good teams, the one common denominator, they improved every week. As the season goes on, we get better,’’ Ferentz said. “We’ve been 2-2 before and had great seasons. There’s still a lot out there to be playing for, but it’s not going to happen if we don’t improve.’’
8. King Doerue is expected to make his fourth straight start at running back for a Purdue offense which has struggled on the ground this season.
A 5-foot-10, 210-pound freshman from Amarillo, Texas, Doerue is the only Boilermaker who has rushed for more than 100 yards this season.
He has averaged 3.4 yards on 67 carries through Purdue’s 2-4 start, averaging 37.7 yards per game while gaining 226 yards.
Zander Horvath, a sophomore, is second on the team in rushing with 92 yards on the year and 18.4 per game.
As a team, Purdue averages a Big Ten-worst 63.5 yards per game on the ground.
By comparison, even with its struggles the past two weeks Iowa is averaging 156.8 rushing yards per game with Mekhi Sargent, Toren Young and Tyler Goodson all averaging between 42-55 yards per game.
9. The consistency in Nate Stanley’s game impresses Purdue coach Jeff Brohm.
“He’s got great experience, great patience,’’ Brohm said. “Early on this season, he was playing outstanding football. They’ve run into a couple of tough contests, playing Penn State and Michigan, two great defenses that are going to make it tough on anyone.’’
Stanley currently ranks seventh in the Big Ten in pass efficiency with a 134.3 rating and his second in the Big Ten in passing yards per game at 251.8, trailing only Penn State’s Sean Clifford.
10. Homecoming activities ramp up at Iowa beginning tonight.
The annual Iowa Shout event and coronation of homecoming royalty are scheduled to take place on the Pentacrest.
The Shout event is scheduled to run from 6-9 p.m.