WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue's postseason margin for error now is paper thin.
After Northwestern defeated the Boilermakers 23-13 over the weekend, Purdue is 4-6 (2-5 Big Ten) and must win Saturday at Iowa and at home Nov. 25 against Indiana to qualify for a bowl game for the first time since 2012.
While the linebacker-led defense has played well all season, the offense has struggled to develop any kind of consistency. Quarterback Elijah Sindelar completed 37 of 60 passes for 376 yards and two touchdowns against Northwestern -- receiver Jared Sparks caught 11 passes for 130 yards -- but the running game finished with 22 carries for 40 yards, led by D.J. Knox's six carries for 22 yards.
Known for his high-powered offense at Western Kentucky, first-year coach Jeff Brohm has been frustrated by the lack of offensive output.
"On offense, it has been a struggle to find ways to move the ball," Brohm said Monday. "I do think our guys are playing hard. Our runners are running hard, and our linemen are giving us as good of an effort as they can. We have to continue to improve there."
In the regular season's final two games, Brohm wants his offense to start faster, build a lead and have more balance. He liked the success his passing game had in the final 30 minutes against the Wildcats.
After what Iowa did to Ohio State two weeks ago, the Hawkeyes have Brohm's full and undivided attention.
"This is a team that if you don't come ready to play, it can be a very long day," Brohm said. "We have to be sure that we are up to the challenge. (Defensive back) Josh Johnson is an excellent player. But anything can happen. If we find a way to win it, it changes the whole season. Our backs truly are against the wall. If we want to advance to the postseason, we have to win."
NOTES: Brohm said LB T.J. McCollum, who made 10 tackles Saturday after missing several games with a knee injury, came away from the game feeling well. … RB Tario Fuller, who has been sidelined with an ankle injury since the Sept. 15 victory at Missouri, will have surgery next week.