IOWA CITY- In a highly anticipated matchup, the Wisconsin Badgers battled adversity, came back, and defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium, 28-17.
After the game, Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst had good things to say about his team. “I’m incredibly proud of our guys,” Chryst exclaimed at the podium. “This is a really good, talented Iowa team.”
Wisconsin started the game against Iowa as many figured they would, with a ground and pound rushing attack. This included a heavy dose of Jonathan Taylor, as well as several instances of the jumbo package, with lineman Logan Bruss and Jason Erdmann in the game as blocking tight ends, essentially creating a seven-linemen package. The Badgers had a few positive plays early, but were then forced to punt it away around midfield.
Iowa got the ball and drove all the way down into Wisconsin’s 10 yard line, and then decided to go for it on fourth and one from the five yard line. It was a close call, but Chris Orr and the Badgers’ defense forced a big stop, giving the ball back to Wisconsin at their own five-yard line.
On a perfectly called drive, the Badgers drove 95 yards in 11 plays to score the first touchdown of the game at the 14:30 mark of the second quarter. Jake Ferguson caught a six-yard pass for the score, but the highlight of the drive was a 33-yard fullback wheel route to Alec Ingold on a third down, culminating in Ingold stiff-arming the helmet off of the Iowa defender. Per usual, Taylor was also a workhorse on the drive.
Each team traded punts, and then Iowa put up a great drive of their own, although poor secondary play by the Badgers aided the Hawkeyes as well. Quarterback Nate Stanley connected with TJ Hockenson on a broken play, and then found a wide open Noah Fant for a 20-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7 apiece.
After another Badgers’ punt, Wisconsin’s special teams forced a fumble, and D’Cota Dixon recovered it after an inexplicable call, initially ruling the runner down. Even with the forced turnover, the Badgers again could not score on the drive, and the two Big Ten rivals went into the half tied at 7.
The third quarter had just about everything, mixed into just 15 minutes of gameplay. First, Iowa took the lead, scoring a field goal after the Badgers allowed another huge play to Noah Hockenson on a tight end seam route straight down the field.
Once the Badgers got the ball, they punted, but immediately got the ball back after Iowa had a pitiful special teams gaffe, running into the ball on the punt and allowing Wisconsin to take over within the Hawkeyes’ 10 yard line. After three plays, Hornibrook picked up his second touchdown pass, this time to Danny Davis on a beautiful back shoulder pass to give the Badgers the lead, 14-10.
The Hawkeyes took over, this time leaning on their run game as well as Stanley’s playmaking ability, to drive down the field and score again, as Fant picked up his second touchdown. It was 17-14 headed into the final quarter, with the home team in the lead.
Trailing with five minutes to go, Hornibrook led the team down the field 88 yards to take the lead 21-17, after a laser touchdown to AJ Taylor with under a minute left to go. Taylor and Hornibrook continue to have great chemistry, and Ferguson and Jonathan Taylor came up big as well.
TJ Edwards then got an interception, and the Badgers scored another touchdown off of a fullback reverse to complete the win in Iowa, 28-17, in an Big Ten primetime thriller.
Wisconsin improves to 3-1 on the season, and 1-0 in the Big Ten.