West Lafayette, Ind. – If Akrum Wadley and LeShun Daniels keep running like they did on Saturday, the Iowa football team still could become the force that many expected it to be.
Wadley and Daniels ran for 170 and 156 yards, respectively while leading Iowa to a 49-35 victory over Purdue at Ross-Ade Stadium. The Hawkeyes rushed for 269 yards in the first half and finished with 365 yards in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score suggested.
The 365 rushing yards matches the second most under veteran coach Kirk Ferentz.
It also was the first time Iowa has had two running backs rush for over 100 yards in the same game since Shonn Greene and Jewel Hampton did it against Indiana in 2008.
Wadley and Daniels also had career-long rushes of 75 and 67 yards, respectively, with Wadley’s going for a touchdown late in the second quarter to put Iowa up 35-7 at halftime.
Purdue had no answer for Wadley’s elusiveness or Daniels’ power.
"Obviously I’m more power," said the 225-pound Daniels. "I’m definitely more of a downhill type of guy. He’s more shifty, you know, outside runs, but obviously, we can do both parts and that’s something that we take pride in. I like to hit big runs and Akrum likes to get tough yards as well so that’s just something we have to continue to build on the rest of the season."
Wadley talked after the game about the possibility of he and Daniels both surpassing 1,000 yards rushing for the season. Daniels leads the team with 595 rushing yards, while Wadley has 586 yards with five regular-season game still left to play.
"That’s the goal," Wadley said. "If we keep running the ball and our line keeps doing what they’re doing, it’s definitely possible. This whole season at the beginning of the season all we could talk about was both of us rushing for at least 100 yards apiece.
"I believe this was the first game where I had 100 and he had 100, so we’re both proud of each other. We just have to keep it up."
Ferentz pointed to Iowa’s success in the running game as a sign that everybody on the offense is contributing.
"A lot of good things that we saw out there, probably the biggest thing I would mention is our rushing attack," Ferentz said. "Needless to say, it was a little better than it’s been. It’s really pleasing anytime you can get two guys to go over 100 yards, it’s a good sign. And right along with that, that means a lot of people are helping."
Injurt report: Senior right tackle Cole Croston did not make the trip to Purdue becasue of ankle injury, snapping his streak of 16 consecutive starts. Junior guard Ike Boettger stepped in at right tackle for Croston, while sophomore guard Keegan Render replaced Boettger at left guard. The start was Render’s first at left guard.
Senior tight end George Kittle left the game early in the second quarter with what Ferentz described as a foot sprain.
Kittle did not return to the game. He stood on the sideline in the second half wearing a walking boot on his right foot.
Junior left tackle Boone Myers also limped off the field during the second half with an apparent leg injury. Ferentz described the status of both players as day-to-day.
Road warriors: Iowa set a school record by winning its ninth consecutive road game on Saturday.
Eight of the victories have come against Big Ten opponents.
"Credit has to go to the players," Ferentz said. "Our guys do a good job when they get on the bus and leave the building. They do a good job on getting focused and getting it done. It is a business-like atmosphere and we encourage them that they are going to all different types of environments and the game is still played on the field.
"You have to be focused on what you want to get accomplished. We have good leadership, great maturity and focus and doing a good job of embracing those thoughts."
Points aplenty: The 49 points are the most Iowa has scored in a game at Purdue. The 84 total points are the most in 87 meetings between the two schools. The 49 points are the most by Iowa in a Big Ten game since scoring 52 against Minnesota in 2005. It also is the highest point total on the road since defeating Northwestern 59-16 in 2001.
Moving up the list: Senior quarterback C.J. Beathard threw for 140 yards against Purdue, passing Jake Rudock for eighth in career passing yards. Beathard also improved to 9-0 in road games, 12-1 in Big Ten regular-season games and 18-4 as Iowa’s starting quarterback.
King in the castle: Desmond King’s fourth-quarter interception was his first of the season and 12th of his career, tying Brett Greenwood and Steve Wilson for sixth all-time at Iowa. It also was King’s third interception that he returned for a touchdown in his career.
Iowa now has at least one interception return for a touchdown in each of the last nine seasons and 14 of the last 16.
"It was nice to get in the endzone," King said. "It was the first interception of the year and touchdown as well."
Fant-astic catch: Freshman tight end Noah Fant’s 5-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter was the first of his career. Fant is also the first freshman to catch a touchdown pass for Iowa It is the first since Jordan Canzeri’s 9-yard reception at the 2011 Insight Bowl.
Red hot in the redzone: Iowa was 4-for-4 in the redzone on Saturday, with each resulting in a touchdown. The Hawkeyes are 23-of-24 in the red zone this season, including 19 touchdowns, which is the best in the Big Ten.
Streak over: Purdue finished with 504 yards on Saturday. That ended a streak of 47 consecutive games in which Iowa held an opponent to fewer that 500 yards. That had been the longest active streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision.