Purdue is Cheez-It Bowl National Team of the Week

DALLAS (FWAA) – Behind a career day for wide receiver David Bell and a staunch defense that forced six turnovers, the Purdue Boilermakers went into Kinnick Stadium and knocked off the No. 2 Iowa Hawkeyes 24-7 to earn the Cheez-It Bowl National Team of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Oct. 16, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.

This is the third time for Purdue (4-2) to earn this honor from the FWAA and first since 2018, when on the same weekend of the season (Oct. 20) the Boilermakers beat then-No. 2 Ohio State, 49-20. All Division I FBS and FCS schools are eligible to be selected.

Similar to that 2018 upset, Purdue never trailed and used a stout defensive effort to pull off the upset on the road. The Boilermakers intercepted four passes and held Iowa to 271 total yards, only 76 on the ground. The defense harassed the Hawkeyes with 10 tackles-for-loss and four sacks.

Meanwhile, Purdue quarterback Aidan O'Connell hit 30-of-40 passes for 378 yards and two touchdowns, ran for a score for the first time in his career, and set up Bell for a career day. Bell finished with 11 catches for a career-best 240 yards, the second-best receiving day in Purdue history that included a Boilermakers' season-long 60-yard reception. Bell now has 14 career games with at least 100 receiving yards, tied for the most in program history.

Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm kept Iowa guessing throughout, including using three different quarterbacks on a first-and-goal series in the first quarter. O'Connell played the bulk of the time but both second-string Jack Plummer and Austin Burton contributed beyond that first series.

"I didn't know if it was going to work or not," Brohm said. "But we wanted to have some creativity and let our guys go out and play and throw some punches."

Purdue has won two in a row over Iowa and four of the last five in the series and is 3-2 at Kinnick Stadium since 2012. The Boilermakers host Wisconsin at 3 p.m. ET Saturday on the Big Ten Network. They have won three of their last four against the Badgers.

This is the 20th season the FWAA will select a national team of the week. Each honored team will receive a custom Cheez-It "care package" along with a hand-crafted game ball made in America by Dallas-based Big Game USA, the nation's leading manufacturer of custom footballs.

The other National Team of the Week nominees for the weekend of Oct. 16 are:

  • Oklahoma State (6-0): Tanner Brown's fourth field goal of the game gave the Cowboys their first lead and Spencer Sanders' scrambling 10-yard touchdown run with 2:18 to play capped a 32-24 victory over No. 25 Texas on Saturday to keep the No. 12 Cowboys undefeated. Jason Taylor II's 85-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter kept the Cowboys in the game as OSU came back from 17-3 and 24-13 deficits in Austin. 
  • ULM (3-3): The Warhawks won on Calum Sutherland's 53-yard field goal with 1:44 left, but it was a 28-point third quarter that surged ULM to its third win over the season, beating Liberty 31-28 at Malone Stadium. ULM, 32-point underdogs, got three interceptions while quarterback Chandler Rogers was 9-for-9 for 91 yards in the pivotal quarter.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.

About the Cheez-It Bowl
The Cheez-It Bowl takes place on Wednesday, Dec. 29 at 5:15 p.m. ET in Orlando, Fla. The postseason contest is hosted by Florida Citrus Sports, a Central Florida-based nonprofit, and annually features top teams from the Atlantic Coast and Big 12 Conferences. Cheez-It®, the best-selling cracker brand in the United States, signed on as the game's title sponsor in 2020 as part of its season-long support of college football. Last bowl season, No. 21 Oklahoma State beat No. 18 Miami 37-34 in front of an audience of Cheez-It "Wheel Live Fans." This year's Cheez-It Bowl will be the 32nd edition of the game and its 21st in Orlando.