Wisconsin just keeps chugging along.
A week after Iowa trounced Ohio State 55-24 in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes marched into Camp Randall Stadium and could manage only 66 yards of offense against the No. 8 Badgers.
In Wisconsin’s resounding 38-14 win, Iowa did not score a single point offensively. The only Iowa points came courtesy of its defense, specifically star cornerback Josh Jackson, who returned two Alex Hornibrook interceptions for touchdowns.
Other than that, it was all Wisconsin.
As those interceptions would suggest, Wisconsin didn’t play the cleanest offensive game — but it wouldn’t matter. The Badgers were that good defensively. Iowa mustered only four first downs and did not convert on third down a single time, finishing the afternoon a miserable 0-for-13.
Jackson’s first interception came on Wisconsin’s first drive and gave Iowa a 7-0 lead. Wisconsin responded with a field goal on its next drive and went ahead for good with back-to-back scores by freshman wideout Kendric Pryor in the second quarter.
First, Pryor took an end around 25 yards for a touchdown midway through the second. And just before halftime, after Iowa’s sixth punt in six possessions, Hornibrook lobbed one up to Pryor in the end zone for a 12-yard score to put the Badgers up 17-7 at half.
With the way UW’s defense was playing, a 10-point lead was commanding — until Hornibrook made another mistake. This pass was tipped and ended up in Jackson’s arms again. This interception, his fifth in two weeks, was returned 52 yards for a touchdown, cutting the UW lead to 17-14.
With the way Wisconsin’s defense was playing, the game was much closer than it should have been. So the defense made a play with help from the inept Iowa offense.
Iowa QB Nathan Stanley was in the shotgun and was directing traffic in front of him, trying to identify the coming blitz. As he did so, the ball was snapped by the center, bounced off Stanley’s midsection and was picked up by Wisconsin’s Leon Jacobs. Jacobs somehow emerged from the scrum with the ball without being ruled down. He then scampered 21 yards for a touchdown, making it 24-14.
That was all Wisconsin would need. From there, the Badgers pounded the ball on the ground with star freshman running back Jonathan Taylor, who finished the game with 157 yards on 29 carries. The Wisconsin offense was set up with good field position by two more Iowa turnovers. One was this spectacular interception by Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Edwards.
It was the third of four turnovers UW would force on the afternoon in the eventual 38-14 win.
With the win, Wisconsin improved to 10-0 and wrapped up the Big Ten West, clinching a trip to the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis where the Badgers will likely meet Ohio State. More importantly, Wisconsin took another step toward a possible College Football Playoff berth.
Two teams stand in the way of a perfect regular season for UW: Michigan and Minnesota.
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