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ROCK BOTTOM?

Hawk Talk
Hawkeye defensive back Jake Gervase runs to congratulate defensive lineman Nathan Bazata (99) after scoring a safety against Purdue during Iowa’s 24-15 loss to the Boilermakers Nov. 18 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. (photo by Terry Intveld)

Purdue clubs Iowa, 24-15

By Don Lund
Sports Writer
Just when you think it can’t get any worse than the 38-15 beat down against Wisconsin the week before…
Purdue is no loaf of bread, but they are not Ohio State, either.
Dropped passes, no pass protection, poor punting and the inability to cover puts the Hawkeyes at 6-5 with one game left.
It’s a sad way to send out the seniors, starting with Josey Jewell.
Josey was a three-year starter, leads the Big Ten in tackles and is the only three-year permanent captain ever under Kirk Ferentz.
Josey led the way with 13 tackles.
That’s the eighth time this year Josey has had 10 or more tackles.
He also had two sacks and three pass breakups against Purdue.
For the season, Josey has 115 tackles, 4.5 sacks, one interception and is one of the best leaders to play for the Hawkeyes.
Josey’s two running mates, Ben Niemann and Bo Bower, also had great games at Kinnick Stadium throughout their careers.
Bo, who was a walk-on, had seven tackles and one pass breakup against the Boilermakers. He’s second on the team in tackles with 78, has one sack and one fumble recovery.
Ben had eight tackles Saturday and is third on the team with 71 tackles, including six for a loss.
All three are going to be tough to replace next year because of their leadership on and off the field.
Nathan Bazata played his last game at Kinnick.
The former all-state player from Nebraska had a sack against Purdue.
Nathan was Academic All-Big Ten three years in a row.
Miles Taylor is the other senior starter on defense.
Miles has 45 tackles, which is fifth most on the team, and has 30 starts.
On offense, Iowa said goodbye on senior day to Akrum Wadley, Matt VandeBerg, Sean Welsh and James Butler.
Akrum had 78 yards against Purdue but only averaged 3.5 per carry with a touchdown run in the second quarter.
For the season, Akrum has 862 yards (4.1 per carry) rushing and six scores. He also caught 25 passes, three for touchdowns.
Akrum is one of the most exciting running backs Iowa has had since Fred Russell or even Tavian Banks. I got excited every time Akrum got into the open field as he usually made magic happen.
Sean Welsh had challenges on and off the field as he had 47 career starts going into the Purdue game. He was All-Big Ten last year, but struggled with depression.
I thought it was very admirable of Sean to come out in public with his depression, maybe helping others who suffered with the same challenge.
James Butler only played one season for the Hawks but was a solid backup to Akrum. James had 38 yards on seven carries against Purdue. For the season, he has 326 yards (4.6 per carry).
Drake Kulick will not impress you with stats but the 6-1, 240-pound fullback from Muscatine was a blue collar worker that played hard every game.
Two seniors that didn’t play Saturday but probably had the biggest impact for the season are Ike Boettger and Boone Myers.
Both are fifth-year seniors, both were listed as starters at tackle and both missed most of the season with injuries.
Boone, who was a walk-on, had 22 starts going into the season.
Ike had 18 starts and was named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten last season.
You can’t tell me that if those two played this season that Iowa wouldn’t be better.
They were replaced by two freshmen that had never played a down before the season.
I truly believe Alaric Jackson, a redshirt freshman, and Tristan Wirfs will be great before they finish their careers, but right now they are still rookies.
Nate Stanley was sacked six times Saturday against the Purdue and it wasn’t all Alaric and Tristan’s fault, but the last two weeks, the pressure on Nate was intense.
Another stat that sticks out is the punting game.
I know I’ve been tough on Iowa’s punters, but to average 29.7 yards on seven punts will not cut it in the Big Ten.
Three of Colten Rastetter’s first four punts went 19, 21 and 24 yards. That gave the Boilermakers a short field to play on and puts more pressure on the Iowa defense.
I really don’t know what else to say about this loss.
Next up is the trip to Nebraska.
Iowa is favored by 4-1/2 ; they were favored by 8-1/2 against Purdue.
Let’s hope Vegas isn’t wrong two weeks in a row.
Outside of the football game, it was a good weekend to be a Hawkeye.
The wrestlers dominated their matches Friday plus the men and women are still undefeated.
I have to give some credit to my homeboys Terry Intveld and Brian Fleck.
They were the “next man in” subbing for me by taking pictures at the last three home football games.
Great job guys!