November 20, 2014

The Eternal Season - 11/20/14 - Sedge's 2014 Hawkeye Football Game Notes - Week 13: Badgers @ Hawkeyes

Sedge's Hawkeye Football Game Notes - 2014 Edition
Iowa’s Record: 7-3, 4-2 Big Ten, 3-1 B1G West 
Iowa’s Rankings:
USA Today: 7 votes
College Football Playoff:

August 30th v. Northern Iowa, WIN 31-23
September 6th v. Ball State, WIN 17-13
September 13th v. Iowa State, Loss 20-17
September 20th @ Pittsburg, WIN 24-20
September 27th @ •Purdue, WIN 24-10
October 11th v. Indiana, WIN 45-29
October 18th @ Maryland, Loss 38-31
November 1st v. •Northwestern, WIN 48-7
November 8th, @ •Minnesota, Loss 51-14
November 15th @ •Illinois, WIN 30-14
November 22nd v. •Wisconsin, 3:36 pm, ABC/ESPN2 (regional, check your local listings)
November 28th v. •Nebraska (Black Friday), 12:00 pm, ABC

•Big Ten West Division Game

*Times Eastern

Scouting next opponent:
Rodents @ Huskers, 12:00 pm, ESPN

Wondering which BTN channel we are on? Click, enter, find.
November 22nd, 2014.  Iowa v. #16 Wisconsin Badgers, 8-2, 5-1 Big Ten, 3-1 B1G West
Previous Meetings: 87, Badgers lead, 43-42-2
Last Meeting: 2013, Badgers 28, Hawkeys 9 

Current Line: Iowa +10

Turnover Margin: -2,  B1G #8, FBS #74

Current Week 2 Deep:

Hawkeye Stat Pack - 2014
Total   399.6  Pass 236.3 Rush 163.3  Scoring 28.1
B1G    #6             #5               #7                    #7
FBS    #64           #57             #63                  #72
Total   324.6  Pass 176.8  Rush 147.8    Scoring 22.5
B1G    #6              #2                #6                   #6
FBS    #18            #8                #46                 #30 
The New Big Ten:
West                             East
Iowa                              Michigan
Nebraska                      Michigan State
Minnesota                     Ohio State
Wisconsin                     Penn State
Illinois                            Indiana
Northwestern                Maryland
Purdue                          Rutgers

Big Ten West Standings:
Wisconsin   8-2, 5-1 B1G, 3-1 B1G West
Nebraska           8-2, 4-2 B1G, 3-1 B1G West
Iowa                  7-3, 4-2 B1G, 3-1 B1G West
Minnesota   7-3, 4-2 B1G, 3-1 B1G West
Northwestern   4-6, 2-4 B1G, 1-3 B1G West
Illinois           4-6, 1-5 B1G, 1-4 B1G West
Purdue           3-7, 1-5 B1G, 1-4 B1G West

Week 12 Recap: Fighting Illini

Well as comfortable as the game would end up, the Hawkeyes sure made us sweat a bit getting there.  With our customary start with the ball, the Hawkeye offense went 6 yards, then 18, 20, 23, and Iowa has a 1st and goal from the Illini 8. Mark would get 5 yards on 1st down, but then with three more attempts from the 3, he could not get in.  Illinois held, and started from their 1 yard line.

From there, the Illini would get one 1st down, but then a penalty set them back to a 1st and 16, and the Iowa defense nailed Illinois trying a jet sweep, and that killed the drive.  Their punt was pretty good, but the gunner slammed into Vandeberg who had signaled fair catch, and that gave Iowa the ball at the Illinois 36.

But Iowa went 3 and out, and in the exchange, the Illini got the ball back at their 7 after the Hawkeye punt.

This is the drive that started with a holding call, and two plays later, the Illini failed to get the snap off, and that was a delay of game, so they faced a 3rd and 14 from their 3 yard line.  Iowa brought the pressure immediately, so Lunt just flipped the ball toward the far side flat, but as the camera panned that way, there were no Illini in the area.  And as the ball came down, an Iowa defender put his hands above his head in the safety formation.

The officials huddled up, then the referee pulled his flag from his belt and dropped it on the ground, and that was intentional grounding on Lunt, and it occurred in the end zone, and that is a safety, and the Hawkeyes had a 2-0 lead at 4:55 of the 1st quarter.

Iowa got the ball back of course, but after Mark ran for 9 and then 7 yards, Jake and Mark get mixed up on the next play, and the ball hit the turf, and Jake could not dive back on top of it.  Illinois ball at the Iowa 34.

It took just two plays, and Illinois had the lead on a 31 yard touchdown pass that beat King - though he was right there with the coverage, it was just a perfect pass to the back shoulder, and he could not stop it.  Illinois had the 7-2 lead at the 2:29 mark of the 1st quarter.

Iowa’s next drive would end the 1st, but it would die at the Illinois 47, and they had the ball back at their 15 at the 14:08 point of the 2nd.

But the Iowa defense quickly forced Illinois into a 3 and out, and the Hawks had the ball back at their 33 after the punt.

From here - Jake attacked.

He started in the base Iowa formation - Mark alone behind him, and a solo wideout on each side.  Jake kicks his foot, the far side wideout sprints back behind the line, Jake snaps it, turns, holds out to Mark but then he pulls it down, turns, and he fires it deep down the near sideline - as it comes down Duzey reaches up to snag it, but then he bobbles it, almost loses it, but no, it’s caught at the Illinois 30, and he gets it down to the 22 before he goes down, 44 yards, and Iowa is right outside the red zone!!!

Iowa is in the same formation, but Jake has to take a timeout as the play clock winds down.  Iowa had a 1st and 10 from the Illini 22, clock at 12:42 of the 2nd.

After the break, Jake has a tight end in the H back slot on the near side - he fakes the ball to Mark, turns, has pressure coming but he stands in there, and then fires a rope to the near sideline, caught, Duzey again, 12 more yards, and Iowa has a 1st and goal from the Illini 10!!!

Iowa to the power I - a solo wideout up top.  Jake snaps it, turns for Mark, but then he keeps it and rolls back toward the near side - he finally pulls it down and takes off, and he gets it down to the 4 before he is forced out of bounds.  2nd and goal from the 4.

Iowa again to the power I - Jake changes the play once he gets under center.  He turns, hands it to Mark, he heads right up the middle, he gets hit at about the 2, but he spins as he goes down, and as he is landing on an Illini defender, he stretches out the ball across the line, TOUCHDOWN IOWA!!!  

No, after he breaks the plain, the ball gets knocked out of his hands, and it rolls toward the near hash, and Duzey falls on it.  The booth says it should be reviewed, the camera angle from the end zone line clearly shows the ball breaking the plain - and the Big Ten officials blow it.

It’s still Iowa ball, but now back at the 2 yard line, and the Hawks show the POWER I - no wideouts in the game.  Jake snaps it, turns for Mark, no, pulls it down, rolls toward the far side, and then he fires it for the end zone, caught, Hamilton, TOUCHDOWN IOWA, and it was 9-7 after the extra point.

For Ray Hamilton, the senior tight end, that was his first Hawkeye touchdown.  Buried as he was behind Iowa tight ends now in the NFL, he is finally getting his chance.  

Illinois would go 3 and out, thanks again to another penalty, and Iowa had the ball back at the Iowa 31.

Iowa starts in the I formation with a wideout on each side.  Jake snaps it, fakes the handoff, turns, looks deep, then he fires it deep down the far sideline, as the camera pans it looks like it is too far, but KMM reaches forward and dives, and he gets his hands on it and goes to the ground!  39 yards, and an Iowa 1st down at the Illinois 30!!!

Jordan gets the ball now (welcome back), and gets 4 yards heading up the middle.  2nd and 6.

Jordan one more time, this gets about 3, 3rd and 3.

Now Mark gets the ball, and instead of plowing straight ahead, he tries the stretch play to the far side, and the Illini string it out and drop him after just 1.  4th and 2.

The Hawks are at the Illini 22, and they leave the offense out there.

Jake has the I formation behind him, but he snaps the ball, drops back, and then floats the ball to the near side, it’s caught, Plewa, but he falls to the ground after he makes the catch, and he ends up about 12 inches short of the yellow line.  

As the booth points out, had he kept his feet, he not only had the 1st down, but he may have been able to run away from the linebacker and take it all the way.

So that is the 2nd time the Iowa offense has failed on 4th down within the red zone.  

This Illinois drive would get as far as the Iowa 31, but on that 1st down, Lunt didn’t see Ott coming, and he gets drilled, and on the play, Illinois is flagged for a chop block, but Iowa declines it to bring up 2nd and 17.

Iowa would kill the drive from here, and Illinois had to punt the ball, where VandeBerg made the fair catch at the Iowa 12.  There was just 1:27 left in the 2nd quarter.

Iowa starts with a handoff to Damon, he tries the far side and gets the corner turned, 12 yards, Iowa 1st down at the 24!

From the gun, Jake throws the jailbreak screen to Powell, caught, he fights his way through the traffic for 6 yards.  2nd and 4.

With the clock still running, Jake snaps the ball, and fires it near side, Smith reaches up, gets his fingers on it, but he can’t pull it down.  3rd and 4, the clock stops at 42 seconds.  

From the gun again, Jake snaps it, looks far side, but then feels the pressure, so he pulls it down, and takes off!  He has space right in front and he gets 20 yards before sort of half diving, half being tackled, and that is in Iowa 1st down right at midfield!

The clock starts once the chains are reset, Jake snaps the ball, drops back, has pressure, but it’s the screen, Bullock, caught, he gets 7 yards before he is forced out.  2nd and 3, the clock stops at 18 seconds of the 2nd quarter.

From the gun again, Jake drops back, and then fires it right down the near hash, Smith goes to the ground and hauls it in, 15 yards, and a Hawkeye 1st down at the Illini 28!

But once again the clock starts as the chains are set, Jake snaps it, looks far side, but then comes back near side and just throws it away, and the clock stops with 4 seconds left.

Iowa brings out the field goal team as the booth mentions that Jake had Duzey all alone in the middle of the field and it would have been a touchdown had he found him.

Koehn lines it up, it’s from the near hash and from 46 yards out - it has plenty of distance, but it drifts to the right and hits the far (right) upright  at about 80% of the height, and it bounces away, no good.  Iowa leads at the half 9-7, and Hawkeye fans are thinking it should be more like 23-7.

Once the halftime ends and we see the 1st half stats, those thoughts are only reinforced.  Iowa, 294 yards - Illinois just 108.  Rush yards - Hawks 138, Illini 25.  Pass, Jake 156, Lunt 83.  Penalties, Iowa, zip, Illinois 6 for 54.  The Hawks should have a much more comfortable lead.

Koehn gives no return on the 2nd half kickoff. Illini ball at their 25.

As is always the case in a close game, the first possession of the 2nd half is extremely critical.

The Illini start with a screen pass on 1st down, and at first it looks like it has room, but then Mabin flies and and drills him, he only gets about 2 feet for his efforts.  2nd and 9.

On 2nd down, Lunt tries for his guy on the near sideline, but the pass is too far in front of him and no good.  3rd and 9.

Illinois has Lunt in the gun and two wideouts on each side, but they take too long to get the play set, and must burn a timeout as the play clock hits 0.  

After the break, the Illini have three wideouts on the far side, one on the near.  Lunt snaps the ball, looks, then he floats it toward the far sideline - as it comes down, King looks like HE is the receiver, he has inside position, and the receiver has to play defense on him to prevent the interception.  He does, and the pass falls to the turf, but the Illini have gone 3 and out in the critical 1st drive of the 2nd half - good job Hawkeye defense!

The punt lands at the 25, where VandeBerg makes the catch, and he starts for the far side and looks like he could have space - but he gets tripped up to only pick up 4 yards, an Iowa 1st down at our 28.

The Hawks start with the jet sweep to Parker, he tries to take it to the near sideline, but he gets strung out to only get 1 yard.  But the replay clearly showed, if he had cut the ball upfield once clearing the mass on the line, he would have been gone.

On 2nd down, Mark gets the ball, and he tries the far side, he gets popped at the line to pick up 3.  3rd and 6 from just across the 31.

Jake goes to the gun with Damon to his right.  He snaps the ball, surveys, then fires the ball down the far hash into about triple coverage, Smith reaches up, grabs it, bobbles it, then secures it as he gets hit, caught!  10 yards, an Iowa 1st down at the 42!

From the I formation, Jake fires it deep down the far hash, targeting Smith who has a step, but the pass is too long.  2nd and 10.

Jake goes under center with Mark behind him, he gets the ball, tries the far side, and turns the corner and takes off!  He finally gets shoved out of bounds, but not before he has the ball at the Illini 30!  1st down Hawkeyes!!!

From the I formation, Mark gets the ball again, he tries the left side this time, and gets about 4.  2nd and 6.

Mark gets the ball again, gets about 2 yards, 3rd and 4.

Jake is changing the play at the line, and he seems to snap the ball before he is fully under center, it hits the turf and Jake has to dive on it, it actually gains about 3 feet, so that is 4th and 3.  

From the 23 - that would be a 40 yard field goal - Iowa leaves the offense on the field again.

Jake is in the gun with Damon to his left, two wideouts on the high side, and one on the low.  Jake snaps it, then quickly fires it near side, Smith is right on the yellow stripe, but the defender gets his hand in there to knock it away, no good.  The 3rd time Iowa has failed on 4th down, all of them clearly inside field goal range.

Illinois starts the drive with Lunt looking downfield, but then he takes the dump off to Dudek, and Lomax flies in and drills him, and that loses 4 yards!  2nd and 14!

But then Lunt hits a wideout on a crossing pattern underneath the Iowa zone, and that gets about 12 yards.  3rd and 2.

Illinois actually puts in their wildcat QB, he keeps the ball on the read/option, and he gets about 4 yards for an Illinois 1st down.

But 3 plays later, the Illini drive dies at their 37, and the punt lands at the Iowa 27, where VandeBerg picks up 2 on the return, Iowa ball at their 29, clock at 7:26 of the 3rd.

Iowa starts with Jordan at tailback, he gets two carries, and 3 yards on each, to bring up a 3rd and 4.

Jake goes to the gun, Damon to his right.  Two wideouts low, one high.  He snaps it, drops back, looks, then fires it to KMM over the middle, the crossing route, he’s all alone, caught, the corner turned, 17 yards and an Iowa 1st down at the Illinois 48!

Jake now hands it to Mark, he heads to the far side, picks his way, and gets 7 before he goes down. 2nd and 3.

Mark gets it again, and then plows right up the middle, 7 more yards, 1st down Iowa at the Illini 34!

Jake now fakes the ball to Mark and rolls to the far side, he pumps it but then pulls it down and kind of tap dances his way down the far sideline, that’s good for 8 yards, 2nd and 2!

Iowa back to the I formation.  Jordan gets the ball, he goes straight ahead, hops through the line, then takes off!  He finally gets dragged down but he picks up 15 yards, that is an Iowa 1st down at the Illinois 11!

Jake has the I formation behind him, and KMM on the far side, he snaps it, and quickly floats the ball to the end zone, KMM reaches up to grab it, and the defender, who never turns his head, plows into KMM, and he can’t make the catch.  Surely there must be a flag.  But there is not.  

Jake now hands it to Mark, he goes right into the line, and picks up about 5.   3rd and 5 from the Illinois 6.

Jake under center, Damon alone behind him - two wideouts high, one low.  Jake changes the play.  He finally snaps it, steps back, looks right quickly, but then comes back and fires a rope to the near side, caught, Hamilton, at about the 2, there are two Illini defenders there, but he splits them and falls into the end zone, TOUCHDOWN IOWA!!!  

The play is reviewed, and it’s upheld, and the Hawks had a 16-7 lead after the extra point.  

Koehn, no return.  Illini ball, from the 25.  

But the Iowa defense consolidates the break, and after allowing Illinois to run for 8 yards on 1st down, they only allow about 2 more feet, and the Illini must punt, the 3 and out after the score, Iowa ball at their 34 after the punt rolls out of bounds.

The Iowa offense takes the field with 1:49 left in the 3rd quarter.  

Jake fakes the handoff and goes into the deep drop, he has all day and is looking downfield, but he does not like what he sees so he pulls it down, but then the pressure arrives and he can’t escape, and goes down right at the line of scrimmage.  But there is a flag on the play.  The booth thinks it’s holding, but nope, a personal foul on Illinois, hands to the face, that is a 15 yard penalty, an Iowa 1st down at the 49!

Once under center, Jake barks out a change to the play.  He hands it to Mark, he starts left but then cuts it back middle, and gets about 5 for his efforts.  2nd and 5.

Mark gets it again, tries the right side, but gets swallowed up.  1 yard, 3rd and 4.

From the gun, Jake snaps it, looks, then fires it down the far hash, Smith leaps, snags it, gets hit, and goes down, but that is at the Illinois 23, 21 yards, 1st down Iowa!!!

That brings the 3rd quarter to a close.  Hawk fans hoping that the 4th will not take minutes off of our lives.

The 4th starts with Jordan in at tailback, he gets the ball, heads far side, and at the line, he bounces it out to the far sideline and turns the corner, 14 yards, Iowa 1st and goal from the illini 9!!!

Mark gets the ball and tries the middle, it goes for 3 yards, 2nd and goal from the 6.

Jake under center, Mark behind him, two wideouts on the near side, and two tight ends lined up on the line on the near side.  Jake snaps it, fakes the handoff and rolls to the far side, he turns upfield and points out who he wants blocked, and surges forward across the 5, and he falls across the goal line, TOUCHDOWN IOWA!!!  And Koehn makes it 23-7, like it should have been at halftime, but we will take it!!!!

The Illini would get one 1st down, but then the Hawkeye defense killed the drive, and Iowa would have the ball back at their 14 with 11:55 left in the 4th quarter.

Jake was done, so C.J. took command of the offense.

This was a 7 play, 86 yard drive, the key being a 53 yard pass to Duzey, and 3 plays later, Sunshine would drop a perfect pass into Powell, who dove to catch it, and that was another Hawkeye touchdown, and that made it 30-7, and the Hawks could finally begin to focus on the next task at hand.

The Iowa offense would rack up 587 yards - 304! on the ground, and 283 in the air.  The Hawks would convert 10 of 15 3rd downs - 66%, excellent, but of course the 4th downs - not so much.  They cost us 13 points by my count.

The Iowa defense would only give up 235 yards to the Illini team that had their starting quarterback back.  A great effort after the meltdown the week before.

And when it was done, the Hawkeyes could celebrate for a while - and then their focus turned to this Saturday.

Week 13 Preview: Badgers

Where the Best Rivalry in Division 1 returns.  Football, 43-42-2, mens hoops, 80-79.  

Hello again, Badgers.

Wisconsin is 8-2 and 5-1 in the Big Ten, while matching Iowa at 3-1 in the division, under 2nd year coach Gary Anderson.  Like the Hawks, you could say their losses have been rather perplexing.

The Badgers opened the season facing the Bayou Bangles at the Houston Texans home stadium.  The Badgers had a 24-7 lead on LSU as the 4th quarter began, but in what would begin as a rather dismal non-con for the Big Ten, the Badger defense let LSU score three 4th quarter touchdowns to stun Wisconsin 28-24.

In that game, Gordon had 16 carries for 140 yards with 1 td.  

But it was the Badger quarterback, McEvoy, #5, who was just 8 for 24 for 50 yards, with 2 interceptions.  The second pick gave LSU the short field that led to the go ahead, and winning score.

Of course, LSU has slumped to 7-4, and 3-4 in the SEC, and just last Saturday, lost to Arkansas 17-zip.  The Razorbacks, with the coach with the Tiger Hawk tattoo, had lost their last 17 SEC games.

In week 2, the Badgers were back in Camp Randall to welcome in Western Illinois.  This was not much of a problem win wise, as the Badgers rolled to a comfortable 37-3 win.  But the stats are quite interesting.

Gordon had 17 carries for just 38 yards, and the team got just 167, as WIU sold out to stop the rushing attack.  McEvoy was better in this one, completing 23 of 28 for 283, with three tds, and one interception.  A dual threat quarterback, he also ran 9 times for 55 yards.  

The next week Bowling Green came to Madison, and this time, the Badger rushing attack found its groove.  

Wisconsin rushed for a modern Big Ten record 644 yards - Gordon 253 on just 13 carries, with 5 rushing tds, and the quarterback McEvoy had 158 yards on 11 carries.  The game ended 68-17, little mention of the 112 yards passing, with 1 td, and 1 interception.  

South Florida then came to Madison, and this game was a snooze inducing 3-3 at the half.  But the Badger offense woke up, and they scored 17 points in the 3rd, to pull away to a 27-10 win.  

Here Gordon had 181 yards, but on 32 carries, with 1 rushing td.  

That left the Badgers at 3-1 in the non conference games, and they then travelled to Chicago to open the Big Ten slate against the Mildcats.  

This was a cool, rainy day, and it showed on the field of play.  Here, the Badger QB we knew, Stave, played, but he was just 8 for 19 passing, with 1 td, but 3 interceptions - and all three of them by the same Northwestern player, Igwebuike.  

McEvoy was just 4 of 10, as combined the Badgers QBs threw for just 138 yards to go with Gordon’s (then) career high 259 yards, on 27 carries.  But it was not enough, as the Mildcats stunned the Badgers 20-17.  

Shocked as the Badgers were, they had Illinois roll into town the next week. 

You saw how the Illini rush defense did against Iowa.  The Badgers ran for 401 in the game, as Gordon had 175 of those on 27 carries, with 4 more tds.  Stave got the start in this one, and he was 7 of 14 for 73 yards, as the Badgers turned a 14-7 end of 1st quarter deficit into 24 straight points to end the 3rd, and they hung on to win the game 38-28.

After that, Maryland made the trip to Madison.

And wished probably, that they had not.

The Badgers jumped out to a 24-0 lead at halftime, and coasted to a 52-7 win.  

Gordon, 22 carries for 122 yards, with 3 touchdowns.  Stave 9 of 15 for 155, with 2 tds.  

The Badgers then travelled to our neck of the woods to take on Rutgers.

Rutgers, finding the Big Ten a bit more challenging then perhaps they thought, had no chance, as the Badgers won it 37-0.

Gordon was actually not the top rusher for the Badgers in this one, that was the ‘backup’, Clement, #6, had 14 carries for 131 yards, with 2 tds, compared to Gordon’s 121 yards on 19 carries, with 2 more tds of his own.

Stave played most of the game, and he was just 7 of 16 for 81 yards, but obviously, he was not really needed in this one.

Then the Badgers then went on the road to Purdue - Our Rival.

This one, never really close, the Badgers were up 24-6 at half, and rolled to a 34-16 final.  

Gordon, 25 carries for 205, with 1 td.  Stave, better, 19 for 29 for 219, with 2 tds, and 1 interception.

And then last week - the showdown between Gordon for the Badgers, and Abdullah for the Huskers.  The game, in Madison.  Oh, and it was snowing for most of the game.

Well, Gordon had two fumbles in the 1st quarter, as the Huskers jumped out to a 17-3 lead at the 14:12 mark of the 2nd - and then, they forgot how to play defense.

The Badgers scored the next 49 points, as Gordon umm, atoned for his mistakes by carrying the ball 25 times - for an NCAA Division 1 record 408 yards.  

By that point (the end of the 3rd) it was 52-17 Badgers, so Gordon did not even play in the 4th quarter.

The backups for each team scored once in the 4th to make the final 59-24, as the Badgers took the Huskers to the woodshed - again.

The Badgers had 627 total yards in that game, compared to 180 for the Huskers.  

So that is how the Badgers got to 8-2, 5-1, 3-1.  

Stave, the junior, is now 57 for 104, for 688 yards - the 54% completion rate is not good for a returning QB.

He is the pocket passer - the only running is for his life.

McEvoy, however, is 65 for 112, with 709 yards, and 5 tds, but 6 interceptions.  He, the dual threat, he has been as high as the 158 rushing in the Bowling Green game.  Against Nebraska he had 6 carries for 56 yards.

So Stave will hand the ball off - to date, Gordon, 223 carries, 1909 yards, 8.6 per touch, with 23 tds.

The backup, Clement, 119 carries for 742 yards - 6.2 per clip - with 8 rushing tds.

Gordon has caught 11 passes so far, Clement 10, so they are not really part of the passing game per say.  The rushing is enough.

So really the story all along has been the excellent running game with a substandard passing game.  

The Badgers graduated half of their defense from a year ago, so that was a big question mark going into the season.

Question, no more.  244 yards per game against, #1 in the Big Ten - and the NCAA in total defense.
Rush defense, just short of 97 per game, #2 Big Ten, #5 nationally.

Passing yards allowed, 147.3, #1 Big Ten #3 overall.

Now, lets see if the Badger defense has faced a passing attack with the assortment of wideouts and tight ends that Iowa has - combined with the 3 or 4 headed rushing attack that can bring brute strength or flashes of lightening.  

When it comes to the special teams - it seems that Iowa has the advantage.  

In net punting, just over 32 yards per kick, and they give up over 12 yards per return on average.  The 32 net is #121 in the country (out of 125), and the return yards allowed is #115th.  VandeBerg will now be back there on punt returns now that McCarron is hurt - and VandeBerg has good to great speed in the open field.  Maybe here is where the game can turn.

You may recall that Gordon, who was born and raised in Cheeseland, originally committed to Iowa. But then he ended up going with the home state school.

And Iowa fans really let him know that in Kinnick last year.  The Iowa defense held him to 68 yards, but it was of little note as White went for about 140.  Gordon did say after the game that the Iowa fans kind of got under his skin a bit.  

Now he comes in as the Heisman Trophy front runner - and the Iowa fans will be waiting. A 2:36 local kickoff will give them plenty of time to find their voice.  

If Wisconsin had a more than average passing game (their average has them at #117 in the country) I would think Iowa had little to no chance in this game.  But because they don’t, I think the Hawkeye defense can go man coverage with Mabin and King on the outside, and let the safeties cheat up to provide support in the running game. 

Likewise, I think Iowa can get the running game started, and Jake will look to use play action from the start to go down field.  Clearly, the Hawkeyes must win the time of possession in this game - the more we have the ball, the less the Badger offense has it.

And we must score touchdowns if we are in the red zone.  If we attempt more than one field goal - I think we are doomed.

Often in these classic rivalry games, what has happened before can have little bearing on what happens in this game.  

And because this one is in Kinnick, so it shall be.

Iowa scores special teams and defensive touchdowns (a pick-six), as the Iowa defense holds the Badger rushing attack to 57% of their average.  The Iowa running backs top 200, as Jake throws for 275 with tds to Duzey, Smith, and KMM.  Final Hawkeyes 38, Badgers 27.


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