IOWA CITY, Iowa — Mekhi Sargent ran for a 14-yard score with 2:16 left and 23rd-ranked Iowa held off Purdue 26-20 on Saturday, snapping a two-game losing streak.
Tyler Goodson scored his first career touchdown from a yard out and Keith Duncan kicked four field goals for the Hawkeyes (5-2, 2-2 Big Ten), who also broke a two-game skid against the Boilermakers (2-5, 1-3).
Purdue made the Hawkeyes earn this one, though.
The Boilermakers cut it to 19-13 on J.D. Dellinger’s 36-yard field goal with 2:59 left. But Purdue was assessed a personal foul after squibbing the ensuing kickoff to midfield, and runs of 21 and 14 yards by Sargent gave the Hawkeyes the cushion they’d been looking for all day.
Jack Plummer’s 1-yard TD pass to Payne Durham with 24 seconds left made it 26-20. But Iowa secured the onside kick.
David Bell caught 13 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown for Purdue, which ran for just 33 yards.
Duncan hit field goals of 30, 44, 42 and 38 yards on a wet afternoon in Iowa City. He’s now 17 of 19 on the season.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes’ defense is one of the best in school history. Iowa’s offense is another story. The Hawkeyes’ attack is alarmingly inconsistent, and it’s keeping Iowa from reaching its full potential. It could get even worse, as receiver Brandon Smith was carried off by his teammates in the fourth quarter with what appeared to be a right leg injury. Smith headed to the locker room on crutches after catching nine balls for 106 yards.
Purdue: The Boilermakers might have pulled off the upset if not for two first-half turnovers deep in Iowa territory. Purdue likely won’t make a bowl in 2019, but the prospect of star Rondale Moore and Bell playing together should frighten Big Ten West defensive coordinators. Plummer wasn’t bad either, finishing 30 of 50 for 327 yards.
Iowa might struggle to maintain its place in Sunday’s Top 25.
Iowa visits Northwestern on Oct. 26. The Wildcats were drubbed by No. 4 Ohio State 52-3 on Friday.
Purdue hosts Illinois on Oct. 26.