With wins over three ranked squads – Indiana, Iowa State and Penn State – Iowa had earned its No. 2 ranking on paper. But many college football fans, including many Hawkeyes fans, wondered if the team was really the second-best squad in the country.
It turns out they were right to wonder. Iowa laid an egg against Purdue on Saturday, falling 24-7 in a game that wasn’t even as close as the score indicated. Boilermakers quarterback Aidan O’Connell threw for 375 yards and two touchdowns, while wideout David Bell caught 11 balls for 240 yards with a touchdown. Iowa, meanwhile, racked up just 251 yards of offense total.
ESPN’s Heather Dinich, in the aftermath, summed up how many felt about the Hawkeyes going into the contest – that at some point, their pedestrian offense was going to catch up with them. It happened Saturday.
She insinuated that it wasn’t that big of an upset, despite the fact that the No. 2 team in the country lost to an unranked opponent.
If Iowa loses, it doesn’t feel as big as an upset as the Hawkeyes’ No. 2 ranking indicates it is. Iowa’s offense or lack thereof would cost it a game at some point. Didn’t think it would happen at home, today, but still. This isn’t stunning. Rankings SHOULD be fluid now.
— Heather Dinich (@CFBHeather) October 16, 2021
Dinich’s comment about rankings being fluid has to do with the fact that we aren’t that far into the season – she’s suggesting there’s still a lot to learn about each team, so rankings are expected to change dramatically week-to-week.
Quarterback Spencer Petras finished just 17-of-32 for 195 yards with four interceptions, and the Hawkeyes only rushed for 76 yards on 30 carries as a unit. That isn’t going to get it done against too many Big Ten teams.
The loss will likely make it nearly impossible for Iowa to be a true College Football Playoff contender now as well. The Hawkeyes would have to win out and then defeat the Big Ten East opponent in impressive fashion in the league’s title game. That’s a tall task.
Iowa’s loss likely means either Cincinnati or Oklahoma will move up to No. 2 on Sunday in the AP Poll.
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