MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin forced three turnovers and held the ninth-ranked University of Iowa football team to 156 yards of total offense in a 27-7 victory Saturday afternoon at Camp Randall Stadium.
The loss drops the Hawkeyes’ record to 6-2 overall and 3-2 in Big Ten play.
The Badgers forced all three turnovers in the first half – scoring 10 points off the miscues — and took a 20-0 lead into the locker room.
Wisconsin’s defense limited Iowa to 12 yards in the first quarter, 17 in the first half and 156 for the game. Along with the forcing the three fumbles, the Badgers had six sacks and 10 tackles for loss in the contest.
“If there was one missed assignment, one poor fundamentals or bad throw or whatever and the play was dead (today),” said junior Spencer Petras. “(Wisconsin’s) Jack Sandborn and Leo Chanel are two of the most physical linebackers in the conference. They’re physical and tough, we fought, but it didn’t go our way today.”
Petras completed 9-of-19 attempts for 93 yards, while sophomore Alex Padilla was 3-for-6 for 39 yards in two fourth-quarter possessions. Junior Sam LaPorta and senior Nico Ragaini led the team with three receptions for 44 and 35 yards, respectively.
The Hawkeyes rushing attack had 24 yards; junior Tyler Goodson had 27 yards on 13 attempts.
Wisconsin finished with 270 yards of total offense with 166 coming on the ground. Braelon Allen had 104 yards on 20 attempts and quarterback Graham Mertz had two rushing touchdowns. Mertz was also 11-of-22 for 104 yards in the passing game with one touchdown.
Senior Jack Koerner had a team-high 11 tackles, including nine solo stops, and junior Jack Campbell had nine tackles (seven solo).
“There is no panic, we have been here before,” said Petras. “We started last season 0-2. The biggest thing is to push it forward and push it through when you get knocked down like this.
“There is no quit on this team, these coaches, these players. We’re going to do what we can to review film and see what we can do to be better.”
QUOTING COACH FERENTZ
“I want to start out congratulating coach Chryst and the Badgers. They are a tough, veteran team. They played well today and we couldn’t match their tempo. We didn’t play well enough to win the game.
“I am sure our fans are frustrated right now and they want the best for our football team. We appreciate that and we have work to do and work to continue to do and that’s what we have been doing.
“The biggest thing that I have shared with our team is our season isn’t over. We will lick our wounds here and go back to work on that. We struggled offensively today, that was obvious against a veteran, aggressive football team. When that goes on, you turn the ball over and can’t protect the way we need to, it’s going to be tough to expect to win. That was a big factor.
“I saw a lot of good individual efforts out there, alot of good responses to tough situations, I was pleased about that. We couldn’t make the plays you have to make against a team playing at a high level right now. The biggest thing is what is at the root of it and all I know is we have to keep working. That’s the biggest thing we’ll do and I’ll encourage our guys to keep doing it. That’s how you get better in football and about anything you do.
“As I shared with the team, we’re 6-2 and compared to a couple of weeks ago, that’s certainly not where we want to be. But in football and in seasons you’re going to face adversity. It’s about how you’re going to handle these things and sticking to what you believe in.
“Losing has always been tough, it’s all about staying together and trying to find solutions. I am sure we’ll get plenty of suggestions about what the solutions are, most of them are on tape, but it’s about finding solutions and that’s what we’ve been doing and will continue to do that. We’ll play it out and see where it all ends up. Right now it’s a tough day for our football team and a good day for Wisconsin and we’re going to move forward.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
- On its second possession, Wisconsin drove 65 yards over eight plays to take a 7-0 lead. Mertz completed a 16-yard pass to Danny Davis III to move into Iowa territory and he connected with Chimere Dike for 22 yards to the 13. After back-to-back rushes moved the Badgers to the 4, the Hawkeyes sold out on third-and-1 and Mertz made them pay, hitting Jake Ferguson for a 4-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone with 3:08 left in first quarter.
- After forcing its third straight three-and-out, Wisconsin started at its own 44 before driving 45 yards – all on rushes — to push its lead to 10-0. Allen jumpstarted the drive with a 28-yard run to the Iowa 28 before moving the ball to the 13. Iowa bottled up Allen for a 1-yard loss on third-and-2, forcing Wisconsin to settle on Collin Larsh’s 29-yard field goal.
- The Badgers forced the game’s first turnover on the ensuing possession. On third-and-17, Nick Herbig stripped Petras and Keeanu recovered at the 8. Wisconsin moved the ball to the 1, setting up a fourth-and-goal, but the Hawkeyes stopped John Chenal in the jumbo package at the goal line for a turnover on downs.
- With its back at the goal line, Wisconsin forced its second turnover when Ivory Kelly-Martin fumbled an exchange and the Badgers’ Noah Burks recovered at the 1. Mertz’s quarterback sneak on the first offensive play pushed the lead to 17-0 with 7:40 left in the first half.
- Iowa committed its third turnover, setting up the Badgers’ second field goal. After forcing a Wisconsin punt, Max Cooper muffed the catch and the Badgers recovered at the Iowa 18. Iowa’s defense held, forcing a three-and out and Larsh connected on a 32-yard field goal to push the lead to 20-0.
- The Hawkeyes used a short field to break through on the scoreboard midway through the third quarter. Senior Charlie Jones’ 17-yard punt return gave Iowa field position at the Wisconsin 40. Goodson used a 12-yard burst on the second play and a reverse to Keagan Johnson moved the Hawkeyes to the 2. Two plays later, Petras scored on a quarterback sneak to make the score 20-7 with 8:21 to play.
- Iowa’s defense forced a quick three-and-out and the Hawkeyes picked up two first downs, moving into Badger territory. The fortunes quickly changed when Wisconsin stopped Iowa on consecutive fullback dives on third and fourth down for a turnover on downs.
- The Badgers followed with an 11-play, 60-yard scoring drive that pushed the lead to 27-7. Allen started the drive with a 15-yard burst and Mertz had a 14-yard completion on third down to the Iowa 26. A pass interference penalty gave Wisconsin a first-and-goal at the 2 and two rushes later, Mertz scored on a sneak from 1-yard out with 12:54 left.
- Jermari Harris made his first career start and had a career-high seven tackles.
- Goodson’s 12-yard rush in the third quarter pushed him over 2,000 career rushing yards. Goodson has 2,013 career rushing yards, 15th all-time in program history. He is the 16th player in program history to rush for 2,000 yards in a career.
- Petras’s 23-yard completion to WR Nico Ragaini in the fourth quarter pushed him over 3,000 career passing yards. He has 3,020 career passing yards, 14th all-time in program history. He is the 14th player in program history to pass for 3,000 or more career yards.
- Jack Plumb made his first start of the season.
- Wisconsin snapped Iowa’s streak of six consecutive wins in rivalry trophy games. The Hawkeyes are 23-5 in their last 28 trophy games (includes bowl games) and 20-5 in their last 25 rivalry trophy games (Iowa State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin).
- Wisconsin scored 27 points, snapping Iowa’s streak of 29 straight games without surrendering 25 points, the longest streak in the nation among Power 5 teams. Iowa was 23-6 during the streak.
The Hawkeyes return to action Nov. 6 at Northwestern. Kickoff for that game has not been announced.