Iowa Hawkeyes 2022 schedule breakdown: Purdue

·4 min read

Hopefully, Iowa enjoyed a nice easy win over Northwestern because the pressure is back on. The honeymoon is over, here comes the Big Ten West division gauntlet.

While their midseason clashes against Michigan and Ohio State will show just where Iowa stacks up nationally, the Hawkeyes’ season really depends on the final four games of the season. Iowa faces four straight extremely tough divisional rivals as they push for a spot in the Big Ten championship.

Iowa fans will want to forget all about Purdue. Just when it looked like the Hawkeyes were legitimate national contenders last year, Iowa ranked No. 2 in the country and coming off of a massive win over Penn State, everything came crashing down against Purdue. The offense couldn’t do anything against the Boilermakers, losing 24-7.

Purdue is an interesting team in 2022. They played spoiler in 2021, knocking off both Iowa and Michigan State. They just weren’t consistent enough, though, dropping some key games against Ohio State and Wisconsin. Their offense emerged as one of the best in the nation over their last six games, averaging 37.1 points per game during that stretch. Can Purdue keep that hot streak rolling into 2022?

Aidan O'Connell, quarterback

AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Aidan O’Connell was a revelation for the Boilermakers last season, especially in the home stretch. Finally given a chance to start, O’Connell was one of the best passers in the Big Ten. He was as efficient as they come, completing over 71% of his passes. He threw for 28 touchdowns as well. Just watching him, he’s clearly a step up from the average Big Ten quarterback.

King Doerue, running back

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A lot was made about the loss of fullback Zander Horvath this offseason. Drafted in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL draft by the Los Angeles Chargers, Horvath was a valuable addition to the Purdue run game. In the midst of their fullback leaving, it seems everyone has forgotten that the Boilermakers’ leading rusher last year is still on the roster. King Doerue rushed for 533 yards and two touchdowns in 2021.

An Iowa transfer at wide out?

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

In just a single offseason wide receiver went from a position of great strength for Purdue, to a gaping hole in the offense. Everyone knew that star pass catcher David Bell would be moving on to the next level, but nobody expected his heir apparent Milton Wright to be deemed academically ineligible. With Wright looking for another team, Purdue is looking for another wide receiver to step into a bigger role.

Senior Broc Thompson is a candidate to earn the No. 1 wide receiver spot in West Lafayette, Ind. The Marshall transfer averaged 15.2 yards per reception last year, reaching the end zone four times. The Boilermakers will also look to two Iowa transfers Tyrone Tracy and Charlie Jones to make an immediate impact.

Jalen Graham, linebacker/safety

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

George Karlaftis was a massive departure for the Boilermakers this offseason. Purdue is losing their biggest defensive star in recent years. Linebacker and safety hybrid Jalen Graham has received some draft buzz, though, and could be the new face of the Purdue defense.

Graham started out as a safety but has moved closer and closer to the line of scrimmage. His game is molded more like a hybrid of a modern-day NFL linebacker. He showed plenty of athleticism last year, especially for his size, and is a breakout candidate on the Boilermakers’ defense.

Mitchell Fineran, kicker

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Yes! Kickers are people, too! Fineran hit the ground running upon his transfer to Purdue from FCS school Samford, quickly establishing himself amongst the Big Ten’s elite placekickers. He finished fourth in the conference in field goal percentage, tying Iowa Hawkeye Caleb Shudak for the most field goals made with 24. In Iowa’s hopes to shut down the Purdue offense, become very familiar with Fineran’s name.

Iowa 2022 schedule breakdown series

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