On Saturday, October 3, 2015, the Iowa Hawkeyes traveled to Madison, Wisconsin to take on the Wisconsin Badgers as they continue to go undefeated. As ESPN recaps the game, they tell us about the strength of Iowa’s defense that allowed them to overcome the 19th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers.
It took a great defensive effort by Desmond King and the Iowa defense to beat a ranked opponent for the first time in 10 games.
It was the first time Iowa (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) won without scoring in the second half since beating Minnesota, 21-16, on Nov. 10, 2007.
“Once our offense couldn’t get anything done, we knew the game was going to be on our defense,” said King, the Iowa cornerback who had two interceptions and has five on the season. “Our goal was to keep them at a minimum scoring.”
Stave also lost two fumbles, including midway through the fourth quarter on Iowa’s 1-yard line. The Wisconsin quarterback tripped and lost the ball while attempting to hand off to freshman Taiwan Deal. Iowa’s Faith Ekakitie recovered.
“It was a big relief right there,” King said. “I’m so happy that it happened. Things work in mysterious ways and we got our advantage out there and it happened.”
Wisconsin (3-2, 0-1) had its 10-game winning streak at Camp Randall Stadium snapped, and lost for only the eighth time in its last 79 home games dating to 2004.
The Badgers started their final drive on their 47 and drove to the Iowa 16, but Stave’s fourth-down pass to Troy Fumagalli fell incomplete with 36 seconds to go.
Wisconsin typically has a stronger running game than Iowa, but the Hawkeyes out-rushed the Badgers, who played without injured starter Corey Clement.
Canzeri’s strong play made up for a mediocre performance by Beathard, who was 9 of 21 for 77 yards with one interception and one fumble lost.
“Jordan is a team guy who works extremely hard and is clearly playing his best football,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “What a great time for that. Every yard out there today came really hard.”
In the past 11 meetings between the teams, Iowa is 5-2 when it doesn’t allow a Wisconsin runner to gain at least 100 yards, and 1/3 with it does allow a 100-yard rusher.
It wasn’t close Saturday with Deal gaining 59 yards on 15 attempts and starting halfback Dare Ogunbowale with 11 carries for only 28 yards. Wisconsin managed 86 rushing yards and was 4 of 13 on third-down conversions.
The Badgers averaged 188 yards rushing in its first four games.
“They played a super game,” Ferentz said of his defense. “Wasn’t always pretty and it wasn’t always clean, but that’s really how the football game was.”
Despite the turnovers, Wisconsin only trailed 10-6 midway through the fourth quarter when Wisconsin’s Joe Schobert stripped Beathard and recovered the fumble at the Iowa 27. The Badgers drove to the Iowa 1 and tried to run Deal, at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, up the middle.
But Stave tripped and dropped the ball while falling. Deal tried to dive onto the ball, but Iowa recovered to end Wisconsin’s best chance to score in the fourth quarter.
“We’ve got to protect the football in all areas and we obviously didn’t do that today,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said. “It had a huge part in the result of this game, obviously.”
“We didn’t play as clean as we wanted to but the defense stepped up and did a great job and we showed the fight that this team has right now,” Beathard said.
The Hawkeyes scored all of their points in the second quarter after a pair of Stave turnovers.
Before allowing Iowa’s TD, the Badgers had played 115 minutes, 2 seconds without allowing a touchdown dating to the season-opening loss to Alabama.
Wisconsin scored its only points on a pair of 46-yard field goals by Rafael Gaglianone in the first and third quarters.