WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – It took 10 games into the season, but Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz finally let the kids out.
Sophomore Jordan Canzeri rushed for 165 yards and a touchdown, and the Hawkeyes got major contributions for several more underclassmen in a 38-14 blowout victory over Purdue on Saturday.
Iowa (6-4, 3-3) also got a pair of touchdown passes from sophomore quarterback Jake Rudock. One of those was to sophomore tight end Jake Duzey. Even redshirt freshman quarterback C.J. Beathard got into the act, scrambling 5 yards for a touchdown late in the game to cap the scoring for Iowa.
Ferentz and Iowa have come under criticism lately for failing to hold leads in the second half. A lot of that was attributed to a winded defense because of a lack of depth behind the upper class starters. Ferentz has made it clear he places a premium on junior and senior leadership. But he may be changing his mind soon if Canzeri and his younger teammates continue to make plays and help win games.
Canzeri, who came in with just 173 yards on the season, nearly doubled that in one game. He continually gashed the Boliermakers for big gains, averaging 8.3 yards a carry. Mostly behind left tackle Brandon Scherff, the Hawkeyes rushed for 318 yards and had 509 yards of total offense, both season highs. Damon Bullock ran well too, gaining 85 yards on 10 carries.
But it was Canzeri who supplied the spark and helped make the Hawkeyes bowl-eligible. After a 88-yard drive put the ball on the 2, Canzeri scored the game’s first touchdown. Canzeri finished the half with 75 yards on 10 carries.
Rudock, in his first season as a starter, took it from there. Purdue tied it at 7, but Rudock ended the first-half scoring with a perfect strike to Kevonte Martin-Manley from 22 yards out. Rudock played well and made some key throws. He finished with 191 yards passing and two touchdowns.
Canzeri couldn’t be stopped in the second half as well. He rushed for 90 yards in the half and was instrumental in moving the Hawkeyes into scoring position time and again. Mark Weisman’s 4-yard touchdown run in the third quarter gave Iowa a commanding 24-7 lead. From there, Duzey and Beathard finished it off with touchdowns for the Hawkeyes.
Danny Etling was 15 of 28 passes for 145 yards for Purdue (1-8, 0-5). The Boilermakers have scored 31 points in five Big Ten games. Austin Appleby and Kurt Freytag each had touchdown receptions for Purdue.