By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — No. 8 Wisconsin stifled the 25th-ranked University of Iowa football team, handing the Hawkeyes a 38-14 defeat Saturday afternoon at Camp Randall Stadium.
Iowa’s defense forced four turnovers, including two pick-six interceptions from junior Josh Jackson, but the Badger defense was stout. Wisconsin limited Iowa to 20 yards in the first half and just 66 yards for the game and the Hawkeyes had five first downs and were 0-for-13 on third downs.
“That was the best Wisconsin has played defense this year,” said Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz. “They were all over from the start. They played with great intensity. We didn’t do anything to help ourselves with the drops and lack of execution.
“We couldn’t get any rhythm going offensively.”
The Hawkeye rushing attack had 25 yards on 26 attempts, and sophomore Nate Stanley finished 8-of-24 for 41 yards and was intercepted once. Iowa also lost two fumbles.
Wisconsin’s offense controlled the ball for more than 38 minutes, piling up 382 yards, including 247 on the ground. Freshman running back Jonathan Taylor had 157 yards on 29 attempts.
Senior linebackers Josey Jewell and Bo Bower both had double-digit tackle games. Jewell had a game-high 12 stops, including seven solo tackles, while Bower had 11, including eight solo and two tackles for loss.
Iowa trailed 17-14 midway through the third quarter when the Hawkeyes took over at their own 20. Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley completed a 6-yard pass to T.J. Hockenson before James Butler rushed for four yards for the Hawkeyes’ second first down of the game.
On third-and-10 from the 30, Iowa center James Daniels had an errant snap with Stanley in the shotgun. The ball ping-ponged around and slipped through the backside, where Wisconsin’s Leon Jacobs snatched the ball and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown, extending the Badger lead to 24-14.
“Nate clearly wasn’t ready for it, so it was some miscommunication,” said Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz. “When that happened, that made it a little tougher.”
WHEN IT WAS OVER
It was a 10-point game when Iowa’s offense attempted to get something started. Following a pair of Hawkeye first downs, Stanley targeted tight end Noah Fant on a crossing route on second-and-6 at midfield. Stanley tried floating a pass over T.J. Edwards, but the Badger linebacker tipped the ball and corralled it for an interception, giving Wisconsin possession its own 41. The Badgers then churned out an eight-play, 59-yard scoring drive, which culminated with an 8-yard touchdown run by Bradrick Shaw to stretch the margin to 31-14.
Junior Josh Jackson was the Hawkeye star on a tough day in Madison. The cornerback had two interceptions — his fifth in two contests — and he tied a school record, returning both picks for touchdowns. Jackson also had three tackles, a pass break-up, and a forced fumble in the game.
- Intercepted Wisconsin’s fourth play of the game and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown, his first career pick-six.
- Added a second pick-six in the third quarter (52 yards). He is the first Hawkeye to have two interceptions returned for a touchdown in the same game since B.J. Lowery (35, 13) did it in 2013. Iowa returned two interceptions for touchdowns against North Texas in 2015 (Jewell 34, Bower 88). Jackson is the first Hawkeye to do it in a Big Ten game.
- Forced a fumble in the second quarter. It was the first forced fumble of his career.
- The interceptions were Jackson’s sixth and seventh of the season, tying for fourth among the program’s single-season leaders. The single-season record is eight (Desmond King, Lou King, Nile Kinnick).
QUOTING COACH FERENTZ
“We were sitting there at halftime, and we hadn’t done anything at all, but we were in the game. When Josh got the second interception, it’s anybody’s game at that point. The defense tried to keep us into it, but when you’re not moving the ball, those guys were on the field way too long and that makes a big difference. That fourth quarter the tide turned.”
“We’ll learn from this one. It was a painful lesson, and the key is to get back up on our feet and come back next Saturday and figure out a way to get a victory.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
- For a second consecutive week, Iowa’s defense gave the Hawkeyes the early lead. On third-and-13 from its own 36, Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook under threw receiver A.J. Taylor. Iowa junior Josh Jackson intercepted the pass and returned it 43 yards for the touchdown, giving the Hawkeyes a 7-0 lead.
- The Badgers started at their own 20 on the next possession before going on a 14-play, 75-yard drive that ate more than seven minutes off the clock. Wisconsin had first and goal at the 2, but Iowa’s defense held, limiting the Badgers to a 23-yard Rafael Gaglianone field goal.
- Iowa’s defense had two more first-half takeaways, a Jake Gervase first quarter interception on a deep ball attempt to Danny Davis. Jackson also forced a second-quarter fumble on Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor. Manny Rugamba recovered, giving Iowa possession at the Badger 49.
- The Hawkeye offense had just one first-half first down and was out-gained 204-20. Iowa had -2 yards in the second quarter.
- Wisconsin took a 10-7 lead on a 25-yard end around touchdown run by Kendric Pryor with 8:55 left in the second quarter. The Badger defense set up their final score of the first half after winning the field position battle.
- Iowa punted from its end zone before Nick Nelson had a 25-yard return to the Iowa 26. Hornibrook stretched the lead to 10 points when Pryor made a leaping 12-yard touchdown catch over Rugamba to make the score 17-7.
- Wisconsin out-scored Iowa, 20-7, in the second half. Jackson had his second interception, taking a tipped pass 52 yards for a touchdown. The Badgers scored the final 21 points, scoring on a fumble return for a touchdown from Leon Jacobs, an 8-yard touchdown run from Bradrick Shaw, and a 5-yard touchdown reception from A.J. Taylor.
The Hawkeyes host Purdue on Saturday, Nov. 18. A kickoff time has not yet been announced.