Mahoungou. You can probably get away with saying that in Hawkeyes territory, but you really shouldn’t. Because what he did to Iowa last year was obscene.

As I said last year, that was the most “scratch where it itches” halftime adjustment I’ve seen in a long time:

Anthony Mahoungou was targeted six times in the first seven plays of the third quarter and ended up with five completions for 118 yards, two touchdowns, one defensive pass interference call and a score flipped from 9-7 Iowa to 21-9 Purdue within three minutes. And that was that.

Mahoungou is gone, but now the Hawkeyes have Rondale Moore to deal with and that hangover from a loss they had so many chances to win, punctuated by what a fan called “a sledgehammer to the gut” and many others “wished they hadn’t seen” but almost 80,000 watched anyway… this @HawkeyeHQ tweet:

Spoiler alert: The field judge flinches after appearing to see Kirk Ferentz out on the field, but does not call a timeout.

Chasing it with a road game against the team that pulled an Iowa against Ohio State a couple of weeks ago might not be the best medicine.

With that Penn State L comes a loss of national spotlight. Bye ESPN. (And bye, AP? Surely there’s a writethru coming for that oversight of No. 19 Iowa in Ralph D. Russo’s Top 25 picks.)

Let’s get to the clairvoyant:

Celebrity prediction
The Hawkeyes’ all-time leader in receptions returns for a second season of picks.
Kevonte Martin-Manley: Iowa 42, Purdue 14

Featured predictions

Steve Batterson: Iowa 31, Purdue 28
Two teams with no shortage of things to play for, expect Iowa and Purdue to bounce back from road losses last week with a high-energy performance at Ross-Ade Stadium. Expect the Hawkeyes to have some success slinging the ball against the Boilermakers pass defense. Expect both teams to put a few points on the board. Expect the leg of Miguel Recinos to ultimately be the difference as Iowa lives to see another week in the Big Ten West Division race.

Hawkeye Headquarters
Adam Rossow: Purdue 27, Iowa 23
Dan Vasko: Iowa 21, Purdue 15

National predictions
Bill Connelly: Purdue 27, Iowa 26

Athlon Sports
Steven Lassan: Iowa
Mitch Light: Iowa 24, Purdue 20
Mark Ross: Purdue

Bleacher Report
David Kenyon: Purdue 24, Iowa 19

CBS Sports
Dennis Dodd: Purdue 
Jerry Palm: Purdue
Tom Fornelli: Iowa
Chip Patterson: Purdue
Barton Simmons: Iowa
Barrett Sallee: Iowa
Ben Kercheval: Iowa

The Athletic
Stewart Mandel: Iowa 34, Purdue 27
Bruce Feldman: Iowa 23, Purdue 21

Sports Illustrated
Andy Staples: Iowa
Ross Dellenger: Iowa
Joan Niesen: Purdue
Laken Litman: Purdue
Eric Single: Iowa
Molly Geary: Iowa
Scooby Axson: Purdue 
Max Meyer: Purdue

Hawkeye State predictions
The Athletic
Scott Dochterman: Iowa 38, Purdue 24

The Gazette
Marc Morehouse: Iowa 34, Purdue 24

Hawk Central
Chad Leistikow: Purdue 28, Iowa 24

Go Iowa Awesome
Mark Hasty: Purdue 34, Iowa 23

All Hawkeyes
Pat Harty: Iowa 27, Purdue 24

Black Heart Gold Pants 
Max Brekke: Purdue 21, Iowa 17
Jordan Hansen: Purdue 28, Iowa 14
Hello Jerry: Iowa 27, Purdue 26
Matt Cabel: Purdue 34, Iowa 33
BoilerHawk: Iowa 22, Purdue 20
Benjamin Ross: Iowa 24, Purdue 17
Doug Saye: Iowa 35, Purdue 21
JPinIC: Iowa 38, Purdue 27
Trez: Iowa 24, Purdue 23
Matt Reisener: Iowa 28, Purdue 27

#IowaSim18 simulation 
Cody Hills: Iowa 41, Purdue 28

Irrelevant prediction
And finally, the totally irrelevant prediction based on playing EA Sports’ NCAA Football 2004 on a PS2, as is the tradition since 2015.
Ryan Jaster: Purdue 34, Hawkeyes 31, 2OT. Honestly, this summary (and two Twitter video previews!) are too much for a game this tragic. Yet, here we are:

Iowa opens with a methodical drive into the red zone that ends horribly with an interception returned 84 yards for a touchdown. The next drive ends on an interception, too, and the third results in a missed field goal. The very next play, a ball thrown into triple coverage is tipped into another Purdue receiver’s hands for a 58-yard TD. A third interception ends what should have been Iowa’s last drive of the half, but bad clock management by the Boilermakers leaves enough time for the Hawkeyes to complete two long passes and take a 14-7 deficit into the locker room.

Purdue comes out firing and connects on a 59-yard touchdown pass to start the third quarter, while the Hawkeyes end it with a 2-yard plunge to pull within one TD again. It stays that way until an Iowa receiver tips a pass to himself for a 65-yard touchdown to tie the game with 1:41 left. A 3-and-out and a shanked punt gives Iowa the ball back 20 seconds later at the Purdue 47. Iowa grinds down the field and the clock, but fumbles at the 20 with 25 seconds left while setting up field goal position on 3rd down, essentially sending the game to overtime.

Purdue promptly throws a 25-yard pass to start, and Iowa answers with the opposite approach, rushing 5 times for its 25 yards and a touchdown. The rushing attack fails as the Hawkeyes start the second OT, forcing a 39-yard field goal. And Purdue immediately connects on another 25-yard pass on the first play to end it in stunning fashion.


Prognosis: It’s simple: Win and stay in. A Big Ten West title is unlikely but possible for the victor. And if it’s as close as some of the experts above are predicting, Iowa is going to have to show it can finish. No one predicted Purdue to win last year — they did — and almost half have this year. So the Boilermakers have to feel good about their program a year later when they evaluate where Iowa is. Less than a week ago, the Hawkeyes had “a special season” going and a 12-0 lead at Penn State after two safeties and fake field goal TD. (Hot take: Maybe 12-0 starts are a bad omen for Iowa football.) Now some have lost faith… and some pain is predicted.  

For more Hawkeye coverage, follow @AdamJRossow and @HawkeyeHQ on Twitter and Facebook — and Hawkeye Headquarters on all season. We’re the only Quad-Cities station to follow Iowa at home and on the road, so travel with us to Purdue and Illinois to finish off the season.