It has been a season to regret for the Wisconsin Badgers this fall. After dominating its first two opponents, Wisconsin has lost three straight and the offense has gone silent.

The Badgers were held to single digits in points for the third consecutive game on Saturday in a 28-7 road loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes. Wisconsin had its four-game winning streak in this series snapped and the Badgers did not do so gracefully, especially on offense.

Time to get out the pen and grade what we saw from Wisconsin in Saturday’s loss.

Offense: F

Oh boy, after three straight of these performances, the offense deserves this grade.

Just before kickoff, Badger fans likely knew their team was in trouble. Not only was Wisconsin going to be without starting wide receivers Danny Davis and Kendric Pryor again, but the lone bright spot to the offense the last two games, true freshman running back Jalen Berger, was unavailable.

Wisconsin needed somebody to step up in a big way, but it just didn’t happen. The Badgers had no success running the ball, pass catchers struggled to get open and, when they were, redshirt freshman quarterback Graham Mertz wasn’t very accurate.

The most frustrating aspect of this offensive performance was how often the Badgers got good field position and did nothing with it. Wisconsin had four possessions start at its own 39-yard line or better in the first half alone. The Badgers did not get a first down in any of those drives.

This was magnified toward the end of the game with the Badgers down two touchdowns. On a crazy punt attempt for Iowa resulting in a penalty for an illegal kick, Wisconsin was gifted the ball at the Iowa 5-yard line. But the Badgers failed to score, resulting in an interception in the end zone to end any hope they had at a comeback.

Mertz turned the ball over twice, with the pick and a fumble. He has multiple turnovers in each of the past three games and eight total in that span.

Defense: B-

Wisconsin’s performance on offense has spoiled a great season from this Badger defense. The defense is consistently put in tough spots, but the unit has done an incredible job limiting the damage for the most part this season.

After Mertz fumbled on Wisconsin’s first possession to give the Hawkeyes a short field, Iowa got one first down but was held to a field goal. The Badgers have been doing this on defense all season after the offense turns it over. It’s crazy to think Wisconsin has been within striking distance late in each of these three losses despite being so bad on offense.

In the second half, I think the defense just broke down. It had been carrying the load for much of the season. Still, Wisconsin allowed three touchdowns after halftime. Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras found wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette for some big plays when the receiver was wide open.

Wisconsin held the Iowa rushing attack in check until Tyler Goodson’s 80-yard touchdown run in garbage time. Even with that play, the Hawkeyes averaged just 4 yards per carry.

Special Teams: B-

Two huge special teams plays benefited Wisconsin, but those were bad plays by Iowa rather than good ones by the Badgers. The Badgers’ lone touchdown was set up by a fumble on a mishandled punt from returner Charlie Jones. Wisconsin got one final chance to get within a touchdown when Hawkeyes punter Tory Taylor dropped the snap, then just kicked the ball off the ground down the field. That’s a penalty for an illegal kick and the Badgers got the ball at the Iowa 5-yard line.

If you need more indication of how bad of a performance this was on offense, Andy Vujnovich launched nine punts in the game and pinned the Hawkeyes inside the 20-yard line three times.

Wisconsin had only attempted three field goals coming into this game with three chip shots for Collin Larsh. The Badgers elected to go for the field goal on fourth-and-2 down by a touchdown on their first possession of the second half. The drive ended with Larsh’s 47-yard field goal falling short of the crossbar.

It was another tough watch for Wisconsin fans. We’ll see who the Badgers get during Champions Week next weekend.