Big Ten Football Picks: Iowa Hawkeyes at Purdue Boilermakers

C.J. Beathard-iowa-2015Iowa-Purdue
Spread: IOWA -12
M/L: IOWA -450, PUR +360
Total: 50.5

Betting odds c/o 5dimes

The Iowa Hawkeyes improved to 4-2 last week with a 14-7 win at Minnesota. Iowa had fallen Week 5 to Northwestern, and it will travel to face Purdue as 12-point favorites in college football action Saturday afternoon. The game will air at Noon (EST) on ESPN2, and the over/under is set at 50.5 by college football oddsmakers at 5dimes.

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CJ Beathard struggled in last week’s win. He threw 17 of 31 but had just 142 yards and two interceptions with no TD passes. Akrum Wadley rushed for 107 yards on 14 carries with the lone TD, and he had a long run of 54-yards on the game. Iowa held Minnesota to 268 total yards while managing 321 itself. Iowa ranks just No. 78 in the nation in scoring with 27.8 points per game while ranking No. 101 in passing yards (189.0 per) and No. 94 in rushing yards (149.2 per).

The Hawkeyes defense has been very good, though, holding opponents to 16.5 points per game and ranking No. 13 in the nation.

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Beathard has thrown 91 of 151 on the season now (60.3 percent) with a 7.20 yard per attempt average. He has nine TD passes and four interceptions with a passer rating of 135.1. His top targets Matt VandeBerg, George Kittle and Riley McCarron all have more than 200 yards on the season and account for seven of the team’s nine receiving TDs. V

andeBerg is a 6’1” senior wide receiver who caught for 703 yards last season on 65 catches, but he has three TDs already this year and he had four all of 2015.

The Hawkeyes certainly have the talent to up the passing game and achieve more yardage, and it begins with VandeBerg. He had 129 yards on seven catches in the 42-3 win over Iowa State in Week 2, but he has not played the last two weeks because he is battling a foot injury and is still out for an undisclosed period of time.

The Hawkeyes need their No. 1 receiver back in the fold because outside of him there are really three only other solid options (Kittle, McCarron and Jerminic Smith – 175 yards on 12 catches). In the backfield Wadley has rushed for 416 yards and LeShun Daniels Jr. has rushed for 439 yards with averages of 6.4 and 5.1 yards per attempt, respectively. The Hawkeyes average 4.3 yards per carry—and Beathard is not really even a threat moving the football.

Daniels and Wadley have combined for 11 TD rushes on the season, and Iowa should be able to move the chains against a soft Purdue team this week.

Purdue is 3-2 on the season after a 34-31 victory over Illinois in Week 6. The Boilermakers won in overtime on a 28-yard field goal from freshman kicker J.D. Dillinger. Quarterback David Bloug threw 22 of 35 for 220 yards with a TD, but he did have two interceptions and the Boilermakers did significantly more damage on the ground with 231 yards rushing and three rushing TDs.

Brian Lankford-Johnson had 127 yards on 18 carries with a TD and a long run of 32-yards, and Richie Worship had 60 yards on 13 carries. Lankford-Johnson is battling a shoulder injury, but he is expected to play this week.

The Boilermakers averaged 5.6 yards per attempt on 41 carries in the game.

At wide receiver, Domonique Young had 59 yards on six catches and Malik Kimbrough had 51 yards on three catches with a TD. The Boilermakers averaged 9.9 yards per reception on its 23 catches. Defensively, Navon Mosley had a big game with 13 tackles, eight solo, but Purdue did not record any sacks and had just one tackle for loss (assisted Andy James Garcia and Danny Ezechukwu).

The Boilermakers have to assert themselves and put more pressure on defensively because Iowa has the backs to really make Purdue pay. Kimbrough did a good job on his three punt returns, averaging 21 yards per attempt while Lankford-Johnson also returned two for 43 yards. Dellinger was perfect on the day going 2 of 2 on FGA and 4 of 4 on PATs, and punter Joe Schopper averaged 42 yards per punt on four attempts.

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