Losing their perfect Big Ten record on Saturday, the Iowa Hawkeyes (5-2, 2-1) fell down 31-30 against the Wisconsin Badgers (7-0, 3-1).
In a game that went back and forth eight times in scoring, in the end Wisconsin was the last team standing.
The Badgers were able to convert twice on fourth down with the first coming from a fake punt from its own 26 and the second with five yards to go from Iowa’s 34. Wisconsin scored on an eight-yard run by Montee Ball at the 1:06 mark in the fourth quarter, leaping ahead 31-30. The game was essentially over at this point.
Many will say Iowa lost the game due to poor time management by burning its last timeout.
With 61 seconds left and attempting one final score, Iowa marched up the field from three pass completions by Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi. On fourth and one on Wisconsin’s 39, with 14 seconds left to play, Iowa called a timeout. They subsequently ran a quarterback sneak, got the needed yard and then used their last timeout.
Was this a bad call by Iowa’s coach Kirk Ferentz?
Iowa looked lost after the play and while Stanzi went into the shotgun formation, it was too late. He tossed it to running back Adam Robinson, who was tackled by the Badgers as time expired.
I believe the Hawkeyes lost the game in the second quarter when they missed a 31-yard field goal attempt. I felt the failed three points, along with their extra point blocked in the first quarter on the team’s first touchdown, would bite them in the end. Obviously, it was not a good day for the team’s kicker, Mike Meyer.
Iowa also had six penalties for 41 yards. This did not help the team either. Or, maybe Iowa is finally feeling the absence of its defensive coordinator, Norm Parker.
Wisconsin quarterback Scott Tolzien threw for 205 yards and one touchdown. Iowa’s Stanzi had 258 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions and zero turnovers.
Flying solo after his fellow running back James White went down, Wisconsin running back John Clay had 91 yards, 24 carries and two touchdowns for the Badgers. Wisconsin’s wide receiver Nick Toon did not play and the team’s tight end Lance Kendricks went down during Saturday’s game.
Looking at Iowa’s offense, the team’s sole running back, Robinson, carried the ball 23 times for 114 yards and a score and wide receiver Marvin McNutt had seven passes for 70 yards and a touchdown.
On the defensive front, strong safety Tyler Sash led Iowa with 13 tackles.
This loss may sting more than the Arizona one for Hawkeye Nation. There’s more to yesterday’s loss, but the wound is still a little fresh to keep writing about it for now.
There’s still a glimmer of hope for the team: Iowa could get on a five-game winning streak, see one more loss by Wisconsin and in the end, share part of the Big Ten conference title with a trip to the Rose Bowl.
Yes, I know a lot of stars would have to align.
Next week, Iowa will host the undefeated Michigan State Spartans (8-0, 4-0). The team looked vulnerable against Northwestern on Saturday and after this week’s loss, Iowa will be looking for a big win on Saturday. The game is at 2:30 p.m. CT.
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Written by Debbie Baratz