IOWA CITY, Iowa -- In the past two weeks, Iowa had one of the best wins in school history and one of its more humbling losses under coach Kirk Ferentz.
The Hawkeyes will look to get back to what worked so well against Ohio State -- and avoid doing what didn't at Wisconsin -- in Saturday's home finale against Purdue.
Iowa (6-4, 3-4 Big Ten) saw its run in the Top 25 last just a week following a 38-14 loss to the Badgers in which it gained just 66 yards, its fewest in 19 seasons under Ferentz. That dismal performance came just a week after the Hawkeyes scored 55 points in a rout of the Buckeyes that likely knocked their East Division rivals out of the playoff hunt.
"We certainly showed really good potential in all three phases a couple weeks ago in Kinnick (Stadium), and then it wasn't quite the same this past Saturday," Ferentz said. "The big thing we need to do is get over the tape, look through that, see what adjustments we can make, what kind of improvement we can make."
Iowa has won four straight against the Boilermakers, who are not the pushover they've been in recent years.
Though Purdue (4-6, 2-5) has lost four of its last five games, those defeats came by just 21 combined points. The Boilermakers have made a marked improvement defensively under first-year coach Jeff Brohm, ranking 19th nationally at 19.3 points allowed per game.
Here are some of the keys to consider as the Hawkeyes and Boilermakers meet for the 88th time in a series that dates to 1910:
After throwing five touchdown passes against Ohio State, Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley had his worst game as a Hawkeye. He threw for just 41 yards against the Badgers on 8-of-24 passing and Iowa's offense went scoreless. The only points the Hawkeyes scored came on two interception returns by star cornerback Josh Jackson.
WHERE ARE THE POINTS?
Brohm is known as an offensive guru after his Western Kentucky teams averaged 44.6 points a game in three seasons. But the Boilermakers have largely struggled under Brohm, scoring 13 points orfewer four times in seven Big Ten games.
"We've got a long ways to go, and people can see that when they watch. We've got to handle it the right way, and understand that there's plenty of work to be done by all," Brohm said following last week's 23-13 loss at Northwestern. Scoring might be even more difficult Saturday, with wind gusts up to 40 mph expected.
Saturday's game will be the last at home for Iowa's seniors, an impressive class led by linebacker Josey Jewell, running back Akrum Wadley, guard Sean Welch and wide receiver Matt VandeBerg. Those players were the core of a program that is 26-11 over the past three seasons.
The Boilermakers, who need to win their last two games to become bowl eligible, rank fourth in the Big Ten in scoring defense -- nearly a point ahead of Iowa. Purdue has held eight of its 10 opponents to 25 points orfewer and has allowed only 12 passing TDs.
HE SAID IT
"You look at them offensively, defensively and special teams-wise, you have to prepare for a lot of things. They're very diverse. You're not sure what you're going to get your week." -- Ferentz said of Purdue.