Five Stars of the Game: Iowa Vs Purdue

By Jeremy Karll on November 20, 2017 at 12:00 pm
The safety dance was one of the only moments of football happiness for Iowa on Saturday.

© David Scrivner-USA TODAY Sports

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For a second straight week, Iowa's offense looked inept. There weren't many positives from Iowa's first loss to Purdue since 2012, but these five players found ways to stand out.

Akrum Wadley

The offense had another putrid performance on Saturday, but Akrum Wadley at least had a better game, albeit still gaining only 3.5 yards per carry. Wadley ran the ball 22 times for 78 yards and a touchdown, the 31st of his career -- only Mark Weisman has more in the Kirk Ferentz era. Despite the sub-par yards per carry mark, Wadley isn't to blame that much. Brian Ferentz continued to call plays which didn't get Wadley into open space and the offensive line struggled. As a result, Iowa's offense struggled for a second straight week. It wasn't Wadley's best game, but he deserves the praise after Senior Day because unlike what Matt Millen thinks, Iowa doesn't have an Akrum Wadley every year.

Josey Jewell

It's fitting that on Senior Day, Josey Jewell had his best game in a while. It seemed like he was always around the ball as he finished with a team-high 13 tackles, three tackles for loss, three passes defended and two sacks. He also made the highlight of the game for Iowa:

Jewell now ranks fifth in tackles in school history, passing Chad Greenway. He has two games to record 17 tackles to catch Brad Quast for fourth all-time, which seems very likely considering he has seven double-digit tackle games this season.

Josh Jackson

Four tackles and one pass defended are sub-par numbers for Josh Jackson, mainly due to Jeff Brohm refusing to test him. Jackson's interception-streak ended this week, but his mere presence showed how valuable he is to this defense. To start the second half, Purdue ran six of its first seven plays to the opposite side of the field, targeting Manny Rugamba, Michael Ojemudia and Matt Hankins. And to say Purdue had success would be an understatement. It's a tactic that Wisconsin and Ohio State probably should have tried and something other teams probably will in the future. While it takes away half of the field, it also puts Iowa's struggling defensive backs in a tough and high-pressure situation.

Nathan Bazata

Nathan Bazata also had a productive senior day, recording three tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and a sack. His sack was arguably the biggest defensive play of the game for the Hawkeyes, too. With Iowa struggling to score early in the second quarter, Bazata got to Elijah Sindelar for a safety, giving Iowa some momentum. It was Iowa's first safety since its win over Michigan last season and one of the highlights of Bazata's season. 

Nate Stanley, Punter

Hampered by drops, inaccurate throws and shaky offensive line play, Nate Stanley didn't shine at quarterback on Saturday. That said, his lone punt went 31 yards, pinning Purdue at its own three-yard line and leading to Bazata's safety. Iowa had C.J. Beathard pooch punt often last season, and it might be its best option this year. Stanley has punted twice in the past two weeks for 31 and 47-yards, while Colten Rastetter averaged just 29.7 yards per punt against Purdue. Sure, it was windy, but less than 30 yards per punt is still less than desirable. Besides, at this point, not much can be worse than a 19-yard punt.

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