The Wisconsin Badgers have lost for the eighth time at home since 2004 (71-8) after falling to the Iowa Hawkeyes 10-6 in a defensive battle at Camp Randall Stadium.

Click here to view our photos from Saturday’s game vs. Iowa.

When two teams are so evenly matched like the Badgers and Hawkeyes, turnovers are usually the difference. They were today, as Joel Stave threw two interceptions and fumbled the ball twice, including a fumble when he tripped on his offensive lineman’s feet at the Iowa 1 yard-line that would have put the Badgers up in the fourth quarter.

“I got my foot stepped on. That’s something you can’t let happen down in that area [of the field]…When I’m going down, I guess I should just tuck it.” ~ Joel Stave on the fumble on the one yard line.

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Stave will hope to put this one in the rearview mirror.

Despite that turnover on the Iowa 1, the Badgers were able to get the ball back from Iowa using their remaining three timeouts. Outside linebacker Joe Schobert, who played out of his mind, sacked Iowa’s quarterback C.J. Beathard to force fourth down. On the ensuing punt, Sojourn Shelton, returning punts for the injured (concussion) Alex Erickson, returned the punt inside Iowa territory. Unfortunately, there was a block in the back that brought the ball back to the Wisconsin 47. Still, there was time.

The Badgers took the ball inside the Iowa red zone in the last possession of the game. But, on 4th and 2, Stave was unable to find tight end Troy Fumagalli as the Badgers lost with less than a minute remaining in the Big Ten showdown. Stave had to look for Fumagalli and Reggie Love among others down the stretch as Erickson left the game and Austin Traylor was taken out of the game on the previous drive with an undisclosed injury (although he was wearing a sling).

“It’s not ideal,” Stave said, on losing Erickson and Traylor.

When I asked Stave what positives he could take away from the game, he emphasized how well the defense played. Moving forward, Stave remarked, “We have to look at the film and make sure we are correcting what we weren’t able to execute today.”

Despite the result, it’s hard to take anything away from Schobert’s performance. He finished with 8 tackles, with 3.5 tackles for loss with 3.0 sacks. On one of the sacks, he forced a fumble and recovered it while all of the players went diving for an invisible football. His explosiveness and closing ability kept the Badgers in the game against Iowa.

The defense as a whole played very well, only giving 221 total yards. The Badgers shut down the dual-threat Beathard, holding him to 9/21 for 77 yards and a touchdown and only allowing him to run for 31 yards on 9 carries. They had trouble stopping starting running back Jordan Canzeri, who rushed for 128 yards on 26 carries (4.8 yards per carry), and wide receiver Matt VandeBerg, who had six receptions for 61 yards, catching two-thirds of Beathard’s completions.

Head coach Paul Chryst told the media after the game that Schobert made a big statement in the locker room about moving forward from this game. Schobert expanded on what he said: “Just reminded them like last year, obviously first Big Ten opener didn’t go the way we wanted to…Everything we want to achieve..is still in our reach.”

Other Notes

  • Gaglianone: 60% from field goal range on the season. Kicker Rafael Gaglianone, notably a solid kicker last season, made his first field goal attempt, missed the second, and made the third. He is 6/10 on the season. Gaglianone said after the game, “Just having a tough time playing with the wind. It’s been a different year, just kind of bouncing back and forth…It was a little bit harder out there but I have to put that behind me and just focus on next week now.”
  • True freshman Sagapolu starts at nose guard. There was talk before the game that true freshman Olive Sagapolu would get some playing time today, and the rumors were true.
  • The Badgers finally give up a touchdown after 215 minutes and 3 seconds of touchdown-free football after Joel Stave threw a bad interception right into the hands of Iowa’s best cornerback Desmond King. Iowa was able to capitalize on a one-yard touchdown pass to George Kittle.
  • Redshirt freshman Jacob Maxwell makes first career start at right tackle. Maxwell told the media after the game that he found out Tuesday he would be starting. He also noted he’s not sure what happened to Hayden Biegel, who started at right tackle the first four games. Maxwell said of the Big Ten challenge, “There’s no better time to gain experience.”
  • Taiwan Deal told us that he and Dare Ogunbowale talked to Corey Clement before the game via text message, but he emphasized that it’s up to he and Ogunbowale to lead this team in his absence. Deal also said he is feeling more and more comfortable and confident in the backfield with more experience. “As every week goes by…my confidence, I can feel it building,” Deal told me. 

The Badgers head to Lincoln to play the Nebraska Cornhuskers a week from today, October 10, at 2:30 PM CT.


Images courtesy of Sconnie Sports Talk’s Ari Brown.

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