Through the first four games, Iowa has twice rallied for fourth-quarter victories after trailing by 10 points during the second half. Purdue has scored only a total of 14 second-half points in its last three games.
Darrell Hazell, in his second year as Purdue's coach, went 0-8 in the conference last season. Last year, his team lost 38-14 to Iowa at West Lafayette.
Now, with both schools opening their Big Ten seasons Saturday, he's intent on seeing some life on offense in the second half. To that end, he scripted Tuesday's practice to include a halftime session during which players met with their position coaches and then resumed scrimmaging.
''There absolutely is a knack for that,'' Hazell said, referring to strong second halves. ''You take a veteran team with a veteran coaching staff, they have been through those things so many times, so they don't panic.
''Even late in games when they are down by a lot, they continue to run the football, because that is what they do best. That says a lot about the Iowa staff and who they are.''
''We have to execute better coming out of the locker room,'' Hazell said. ''That is what it comes down to. It's nothing more than guys making those plays that we need to have made. In the Notre Dame game we made a couple of first downs in the third quarter and then stubbed our toe.''
Running back Raheem Mostert believes improved focus may be the answer.
''Our minds can't be somewhere else,'' he said. ''We are going to come out this week and finish. From this point on, it is time to execute.''
Quarterback Danny Etling says the problem can be fixed.
''The second-half thing is not a lack of enthusiasm,'' Etling said. ''It's not a lack of will to do it. We are playing with great energy. It's just doing our jobs the way we are supposed to do it. It's the mental endurance of it all, too. You can get fatigued. We have to keep pushing ourselves to do better.''
Offensive coordinator John Shoop says there is only one way to be more productive in the final two quarters.
''We have to practice it,'' Shoop said. ''We have to practice the mindset of starting, stopping and restarting. It's not mental errors. I think we have to play with a great deal of intensity.''
And not turn the ball over against an Iowa team that thrives on time of possession with long, run-oriented drives.
''It's about being precise with possessions,'' Hazell said. ''We have to be very efficient. The big thing for this football game is that we can't turn it over. If you don't turn it over, you will be in the game at the end. We have to be smart and make good decisions.''
Some things to watch:
ETLING'S ANKLE FINE
After having his left ankle stepped on by a teammate late in last Saturday's victory against Southern Illinois, Etling woke up Sunday in pain with some swelling.
But after spending lots of time in the training room Sunday and Monday, Etling was at 100 percent for Tuesday's practice. He will start for the fifth consecutive time.
''I definitely was worried about it on Sunday, but the training job did such a good job of getting me ready. I feel completely fine again.''
TWO IOWA QBs?
''I am not sure what they are going to do at quarterback,'' Hazell said. ''They played them both at Pittsburgh, and they both looked very similar. They throw it kind of the same and make the same decisions.
''We will prepare for one because they are very similar. It's not like you are preparing for a running guy and just a drop-back guy.''
HUNT WILL START
Senior Akeem Hunt has rushed for 179 yards in four games- second to Mostert''s 293- and has 13 receptions. He will start ahead of Mostert. Redshirt freshman running back Keyante Green also is expected to see more time after rushing for 71 yards against Southern Illinois. Hazell wants Hunt to run more.
''He needs a few more touches,'' the coach said. ''The touches that he has had, he has been very productive. He had one fumble against Notre Dame that hurt. But other than that, he really has run hard.''