Week 11 Iowa Hawkeyes opponent preview: Breaking down the Wisconsin Badgers’ offense

Week 11 for the Iowa Hawkeyes sees a very familiar foe entering Kinnick Stadium this time around. With a 2:30 p.m. CT kickoff, the Hawkeyes are welcoming in the Wisconsin Badgers in a Big Ten West matchup.

Each of the teams is currently carrying an overall record of 5-4 and a 3-3 conference record. Just a handful of weeks ago this matchup looked like it could be a doozy for all of the wrong reasons, but it has garnered some more excitement.

With the Illinois Fighting Illini losing to Michigan State last week, the Hawkeyes and Badgers find themselves, somehow, just one game out of first place in the Big Ten West. With the mess that the Big Ten West is, and could continue to become, this matchup has conference implications riding on it.

If either of these teams can win out and the Illini slip up again, then the Hawkeyes or Badgers would have a serious chance to capture the West. It starts this week.

The Hawkeyes’ defense held Purdue to just three points last weekend and will need another stout effort as they look to slow down the Badgers.

Wisconsin 2022 Statistics

Tork Mason / USA TODAY NETWORK

On the season, Wisconsin is averaging right around 30 points per game, which puts them at 41st in the country. They average 380 yards per game on offense, which is the bottom half of the country at 70th-best.

On offense, Wisconsin wants to run the ball. They run for 183 yards per game, five yards per carry, and hand it off over 60% of the time. They only throw for 203 yards per game at a completion rate of 60.7%. The Hawkeyes gain a sizable advantage should Wisconsin be forced into passing downs.

Braelon Allen, RB

Mark Hoffman / USA TODAY NETWORK

Braelon Allen is the Wisconsin offense. The sophomore back is just buying time at Wisconsin until he makes his jump to the NFL. They go as he goes.

On the year he already has amassed 1,010 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns with a 5.8 yards per carry average. He has just 10 receptions so he isn’t overly imposing in the passing attack but Iowa’s linebackers and defensive front have a heavy task in slowing down Allen.

Graham Mertz, QB

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Graham Mertz has been the rollercoaster ride that no Wisconsin fan wanted to take. For an offense predicated on the run game and not turning it over, Mertz has seemed determine to defy that at times. He has 10 fumbles in his career.

He has completed just 60.2% of his passes on the year and thrown six interceptions to 17 touchdowns. Averaging only 190 yards per game through the air, Iowa would love to make Mertz take on the challenge of winning the game versus just managing it.

 

Joe Tippman, C

MARK HOFFMAN / MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL / USA TODAY NETWORK

It wouldn’t be Wisconsin without a stud offensive lineman. That is what Joe Tippman is at the heart of the Badgers’ line. He is a fourth-year player at Wisconsin and brings a ton of experience to a line that is always solid.

Tippman will be another Badgers offensive lineman that gets a shot in the NFL. His biggest attribute now is being able to help command the line and work in tandem with Mertz in blitz protection against an elite Hawkeyes pass rush.

Chimere Dike, WR

Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin / USA TODAY NETWORK

In the passing game, Chimere Dike is the go-to guy for Mertz and the Badgers. He is the Badgers’ leading receiver with 35 receptions, 555 yards, and six touchdowns.

Iowa slowed down Purdue’s passing attack to a screeching halt last weekend and if Wisconsin is forced to air it out, Dike is the No. 1 target that the Hawkeyes’ secondary has to stop.

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Story originally appeared on Hawkeyes Wire