IOWA CITY — It wasn’t the biting wind.

It was the cold slap in the face of reality that Purdue delivered Saturday afternoon that stung the Iowa football team the most.

“We’re better than this. We have to be,’’ linebacker Ben Niemann said after the Boilermakers humbled the Hawkeyes 24-15 in Iowa’s home finale at Kinnick Stadium.

“We talk all the time about coming out and starting strong, starting the game fast, starting the third quarter fast, and that didn’t happen in either half. We weren’t at our best and it cost us.’’

The Boilermakers used a pair of quick-strike scoring drives to open the third quarter and take a 21-9 lead that proved to be too much for a lethargic Hawkeye offense to overcome.

Anthony Mahoungou, a senior receiver from Paris, France, scored on pass plays of 42 and 16 yards within a span of 2 minutes, 4 seconds and just over three minutes into the second half, the Hawkeyes’ 9-7 halftime lead had been turned upside down.

With a north wind gusting around 35 miles per hour at its back, Purdue isolated on Iowa’s left cornerback and let Mahoungou go to work.

He took out three of them — making plays over the top of Manny Rugamba, Michael Ojemudia and Matt Hankins before the Hawkeyes finally shifted Josh Jackson to opposite side of the field to deal with him.

“At cornerback, you’ve got to have a short memory, just move on to the next play,’’ Jackson said. “It was tough. That receiver was good and he got some momentum going for them that we needed to stop.’’

By then, the damage had been done.

Mahoungou beat Rugamba three times on a three-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 42-yard score that pushed Purdue in front 14-9 less than a minute into the third quarter.

After a three-and-out by the Iowa offense and a 21-yard punt into the wind set the Boilermakers up at midfield, Mahoungou slipped past Ojemudia for a 35-yard gain that brought Hankins in, only to get beat on a 16-yard touchdown pass that extended the Purdue lead to 21-9.

“They weren’t any magical calls. We gave our quarterback some time and we were able to protect long enough to execute,’’ Boilermakers coach Jeff Brohm said. “We needed him to get the ball out quick and allow us to take advantage of what we thought was a good match-up for us.’’

Quarterback Elijah Sindelar collected 135 of his 229 passing yards in the third quarter, with five of his six completions in the quarter helping send Mahoungou to a seven-catch, 135-yard game.

“Our receivers ran crisp routes and I gave them a chance to make great plays on the ball,’’ said Sindelar, who completed 22 of 37 passes. “As an offense, we showed some growth today and we weren’t going to be denied.’’

All three of Sindelar’s touchdown passes and the two scores Iowa managed came with the wind, but the Boilermakers’ defense managed to make a menace of itself all afternoon.

Purdue sacked Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley six times, part of a collection of 10 tackles for a loss which led to a second straight stagnant performance by the Hawkeye offense.

Iowa totaled 258 yards and became the fourth straight opponent the Boilermakers have held below 100 yards rushing, finishing with 82 yards on a day when Stanley completed just 16 of 33 passes.

“We didn’t protect. We didn’t run it well. We didn’t throw it. We didn’t catch it. It was a long day where nothing seemed to go our way,’’ Hawkeye guard Sean Welsh said. “It was tough, something we have to move past.’’

Coach Kirk Ferentz labeled the performance frustrating in all three phases of the game, filled with too many physical and mental errors for the Hawkeyes (6-5, 3-5 Big Ten) to have a chance for success.

“Purdue is an improved football team – I said that on Tuesday – and they showed it,’’ Ferentz said. “They played well and we weren’t up to that challenge.’’

Nathan Bazata scored Iowa’s first points, sacking Sindelar for a safety with 10:44 left in the first half to cut into a 7-0 Purdue lead.

Akrum Wadley, who led Iowa with 78 yards on 22 carries, scored on a two-yard plunge midway through the second quarter, but the Hawkeyes didn’t find their way into the end zone again until the fourth quarter after Purdue had opened a 24-9 lead.

By the time Noah Fant scored on a six-yard pass play with 3:55 to go, an interception by Stanley and a fumbled punt return by Matt VandeBerg realistically thwarted any Iowa rally hopes.

“It was a tough day all the way around,’’ Bazata said. “Just couldn’t get anything going. That’s the frustrating thing. We didn’t make the plays we needed to make on defense, on offense or special teams. That’s not a good combination.’’

Purdue 25, Iowa 15

Purdue 7 0 14 3 — 24

Iowa 0 9 0 6 — 15

First quarter

Pur—Knox 5 pass from Sindelar (Dellinger kick), 8:01. (Drive: 16 plays, 67 yards, 5:54).

Second quarter

Iowa—Safety, 10:44.

Iowa—Wadley 2 run (Recinos kick), 6:07. (Drive: 9 plays, 50 yards, 4:37).

Third quarter

Pur—Mahoungou 42 pass from Sindelar (Sp .Evans kick), 14:03. (Drive: 3 plays, 75 yards, :57).

Pur—Mahoungou 16 pass from Sindelar (Dellinger kick), 11:59. (Drive: 3 plays, 50 yards, 1:06).

Fourth quarter

Pur—FG Dellinger 27, 3:55. (Drive: 5 plays, 6 yards, 2:07).

Iowa—Fant 6 pass from Stanley (pass failed), 1:04. (Drive: 11 plays, 45 yards, 2:51).

Att.—60,554.

TEAM STATISTICS

Pur. Iowa

First downs 20 17

Rushes-yards 29-65 38-82

Passing yards 229 176

Comp-att-int 22-37-0 16-33-1

Return yards 0 67

Punts-avg. 6-32.33 7-29.85

Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1

Penalties-yards 3-30 6-56

Time of possession 26:17 33:43

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing

PURDUE — M. Jones 14-74, Sparks 2-7, Lankford-Johnson 1-3, Knox 4-3, Anthrop 1-2, Sindelar 7-minus 24.

IOWA — Wadley 22-78, Butler 7-38, Smith-Marsette 1-4, Stanley 8-minus 38.

Passing

PURDUE — Sindelar 22-37-0, 229 yards.

IOWA — Stanley 16-33-1, 176 yards.

Receiving

PURDUE — Mahoungou 7-135, Burgess 3-22, Hopkins 3-21, Anthrop 2-18, Wright 2-13, Knox 2-6, Herdman 1-6, Phillips 1-5, M. Jones 1-3.

IOWA — Easley 5-60, Hockenson 3-33, Smith-Marsette 2-29, VandeBerg 2-24, Fant 2-17, Wadley 1-11, Butler 1-2.

Tackles (solo-ast-total)

PURDUE — Thieneman 8-4-12, Bentley 5-3-8, Hunte 5-2-7, Okonye 5-0-5, Miles 4-0-4, Bailey 4-0-4, Robinson 3-1-4, McCollum 2-2-4, Ezechukwu 1-3-4, Larkin 0-4-4, Mosley 3-0-3, Wilson 2-0-2, Smiley 1-0-1, Jallow 1-0-1, Barnes 0-1-1, Little 0-1-1, Neal 0-1-1.

IOWA — Jewell 5-8-13, B. Niemann 4-4-8, Bower 3-4-7, Gervase 3-4-7, Taylor 4-1-5, Jackson 3-1-4, Rugamba 3-0-3, Hankins 1-2-3, Bazata 12-2-3, Epenesa 2-0-2, Hesse 0-2-2, Ojemudia 1-0-1, Reiff 0-1-1, M. Nelson 0-1-1, Lattimore 0-1-1, Brincks 0-1-1.

Tackles for loss

PURDUE — Miles 4-17, McCollum 1.5-10, Okonye 1-4, Bailey 1-5, Robinson 1-5, Wilson 1-9, Thieneman 0.5-1.

IOWA — Jewell 3-21, Bazata 1.5-3, Gervase 1-3, Epenesa 1-6, B. Niemann 0.5-1.

Sacks

PURDUE — Miles 2-15, Bailey 1-5, Robinson 1-5, McCollum 1-10, Wilson 1-9.

IOWA — Jewell 2-20, Bazata 1-3, Epenesa 1-6.

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