Capturing the Heartland Trophy for the first time since 2015, the No. 16 Iowa Hawkeyes defeated the Wisconsin Badgers, 28-7, on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.

Forcing two turnovers and holding the Badgers to 56 rushing yards on 33 attempts, an average of 1.7 yards per carry, the win was the sixth-straight for the Hawkeyes, while Wisconsin fell to 2-3.

Knowing how tough these kind of games are, head coach Kirk Ferentz, a 22-year veteran, was emotional in the locker room postgame.

Snapping the Badgers’ four-game win streak in the series, this victory also meant Iowa’s seniors avoided graduating without having beat Wisconsin. Ferentz identified four of these upperclassmen, kicker Keith Duncan, defensive end Chauncey Golston, and wide receivers Brandon Smith and Ihmir Smith-Marsette, who played a pivotal role on Saturday.

The team’s second-leading receiver entering Saturday, Smith-Marsette hauled in seven passes for 140 yards and two scores but injured his left ankle while front-flipping into the end zone on the latter touchdown late in the third quarter.

Limping off the field, he went into the locker room with the medical staff and did not return to the game. When he re-appeared on the sideline in the fourth quarter, Smith-Marsette was sporting a walking boot.

Overcoming an 0-2 start and navigating the challenges presented by the Big Ten Conference’s coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols, the Hawkeyes are one of the league’s hottest teams headed into Champions Week.

With the Northwestern Wildcats set to represent the West Division in the Conference Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ferentz does not yet know who, or where, his team will be playing.