Spencer Evans made a 25-yard field goal with 8 seconds left Saturday, giving Purdue a 38-36 upset over No. 19 Iowa and putting the Boilermakers back in the Big Ten’s West Division title hunt.
David Blough threw three touchdown passes to Terry Wright and topped the 300-yard mark for the fifth time this season.
The Boilermakers (5-4, 4-2 Big Ten) have won five of their last six and beat their third ranked team this season — the first time they’ve achieved that feat since 2003 — to move within one game of division leader Northwestern.
The Hawkeyes (6-3, 3-3) lost their second straight road game despite Nate Stanley’s big day. The junior quarterback threw for 275 yards with one TD and ran for another but the conference’s No. 2 scoring defense allowed a season-high point total.
And when the Hawkeyes needed one last stop, Blough drove Purdue 43 yards to set up Evans for the winning kick.
Blough was in complete control most of the game, going 23 of 32 with two interceptions while hooking up with Wright six times for 146 yards. Wright became the first Purdue receiver with three TD catches in one game since Gary Bush in 2012.
It didn’t take Blough long to set the tone. He led the Boilermakers to scores on their first two drives, dropping in a beautiful 36-yard TD pass to Isaac Zico before Markell Jones scored on a 1-yard run.
Iowa got a 2-yard TD run from Ivory Kelly-Martin and a 34-yard field goal from Miguel Recinos to make it 14-10 early in the second quarter.
But Wright got behind Riley Moss and made a perfect adjustment to haul in a 41-yard TD, Purdue led 21-10.
Stanley’s 1-yard plunge closed out the first-half scoring, making it 21-17.
Blough started the second half with a bang, finding Wright for an 82-yard TD pass on Purdue’s first offensive play, then hooked up with Wright again on a 3-yard scoring play to make it 35-23 late in the third quarter.
Iowa got within 35-30 on Mekhi Sargent’s 1-yard TD run early in the fourth and eventually took a 36-35 lead when Sargent scored on a 1-yard run following Blough’s second interception of the day before the Hawkeyes’ defense broke down.
Iowa: After watching their playoff aspirations vanish with last week’s loss at Penn State, the Hawkeyes’ Big Ten title hopes now likely faded away, too.
Purdue: The Boilermakers are 3-1 against ranked teams this season and one win away from becoming bowl eligible. But now there’s more at stake with two winnable road games and a home date against Wisconsin left on the schedule.
Iowa: Probably will fall out of the Top 25 after losing in back-to-back weeks by a total of eight points.
Purdue: Another win over a Top 25 foe should turn some heads but won’t make a strong enough case to get the Boilermakers back into the Top 25.
Iowa: Hosts division-leading Northwestern next weekend.
Purdue: Visits Minnesota next Saturday.
Source: The Associated Press