Iowa halts No. 19 Wisconsin in classic B1G defensive struggle
Final: Iowa 10, No. 19 Wisconsin 6
Telling stat: Joel Stave’s four turnovers
The sure-handed senior was supposed to be the steadying force behind Wisconsin’s offense. Instead, he plagued it. Stave had a season-high in turnovers and struggled on all facets. The loss of Alex Erickson certainly hurt — we’ll get to that — but there was a lack of pocket presence and awareness from Stave. It was an uncharacteristic day from a guy who has been so solid for the Badgers, even in that Alabama game. For Iowa to pull that off is nothing short of impressive.
Key play: Stave botches snap on goal line, fumbles on handoff to Taiwan Deal
Speaking of Stave’s struggles, no play was bigger than the fumble with under eight minutes to play on the Iowa goal line. That can’t happen. He stepped on an offensive lineman’s foot and still tried to make the handoff. Hindsight is 20-20, but he clearly should’ve held on to the ball. Credit the Iowa line for getting a push to force the play, but that was Wisconsin’s day in a nutshell.
-Joe Schobert is a man
Say what you want about the struggles of the Wisconsin offense. Schobert did the best he could to single-handily beat the Hawkeyes. He had five quarterback hurries, four tackles for loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles and had a fumble recovery. The Wisconsin linebacker was everywhere. He forced C.J. Beathard to make an ill-advised throw that was intercepted by Michael Caputo. It came in a losing effort, but there might not be a better defensive performance by anybody in the country than what Schobert did to the Iowa offense.
-Alex Erickson leaves game with injury
Wisconsin suffered another key injury to an offensive playmaker. Fittingly, it came at the hands of Desmond King, who had two more interceptions. The Iowa cornerback brought down the go-to Wisconsin receiver with a body slam and unfortunately, his head hit the Camp Randall turf before the rest of his body did. Erickson was down on the field and walked off slowly with what appeared to be a head injury. On the same drive, King picked off Stave on an under-thrown ball that might’ve been a miscommunication. There’s no denying who Stave’s main target is. Keep in mind, Erickson is also the Badgers’ top returner. Without Clement already, a loss of Erickson for any length of time would be a major blow for an offense still struggling to establish an identity.
What it means: It’s looking like 2009
I keep making the comparison to 2009’s Orange Bowl team in a half-joking way. This time, it’s serious. The Hawkeyes did something that no team did in all of 2014. Winning at Camp Randall is no small feat, and even better, the Hawkeyes didn’t need C.J. Beathard’s heroics to do it. It also marked the first time Iowa beat a ranked team on the road in five years. The defense is looking like a unit that Kirk Ferentz has been dying to see the last five years. Look out B1G. The Hawkeyes are legit.