If there is one thing that each player said when looking to Iowa-Wisconsin, they continually referred to the matchup as old school football.
A “defensive battle. This is what real football looks like,” senior inside linebacker Chris Orr said.
His running mate Zach Baun called the matchup “real old school football.”
Now getting into the final stretch of the college football season, these games will have further implications for both teams and their posrtseason aspirations.
“Especially at this time every game matters. In November, every game matters,” junior running back Jonathan Taylor said.
Wisconsin (6-2 overall, 3-2 Big Ten) welcomes the Iowa Hawkeyes (6-2 overall. 3-2 Big Ten) to Camp Randall in their first of their last games that are Big Ten West games which gives them the opportunity to bounce back from consecutive losses after a hot 6-0 start.
“We understand and we know these next four games are Big Ten West games. Critical point and time. We gotta use those losses to motivate us.” Taylor added.
The final stretch gets started with a rivalry game against the Hawkeyes with the heartland trophy on the line in a top 20 matchup.
“Both Iowa and Wisconsin have a similar approach,” Baun said. “ If you were to make a Wisconsin comparison, I would probably say Iowa.”
With such similar styles, the matchup has usually come down to whichever team is more physical and for the last three years, Wisconsin has been that team.
The Badgers have won the last three matchups with the last two coming against current starting quarterback Nate Stanley.
Stanley has thrown for 297 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions with Wisconsin having the best success in 2017 when they limited Stanley to 41yards and no touchdowns on an 8/24 passing day.
With a defense that can cause just as much havoc as the 2017 Badgers defense, the defense should be able to give Stanley a hard time.
Baun had high praise for Stanley: He’s a big guy. When you get to him you have to make sure you secure him. He’s not going to go down easy. Kind of like a Ben Roethlisberger kind of guy. Can make every throw on the field.”
Wisconsin certainly has the defense to make it hard with a unit that is currently holding teams to just 11.4 PPG which is good for fourth in the nation. Iowa is just slightly better at 10.1 PPG setting up a defensive battle in Camp Randall.
This game sets up an incredible stretch for Wisconsin who still has a chance to win the West and make the Big Ten title game and it all begins with Iows.
“I didn’t even know that, I just know we have to win football games,” Baun said on staying laser-focused for the game ahead but he also knew that “these next four games determine where we go after.”