Iowa’s defense did terrible things to Wisconsin’s battered offense Saturday afternoon.

The Hawkeyes took home the Heartland Trophy in a rock fight, true to Iowa form. But Wisconsin, which has seen good, not great offensive success this season, looked lost from start to finish.

Wisconsin now sits at 4-2 on the season with losses against the 2 best opponents it has played. It’s a step behind in the race for the B1G West and can’t afford another setback with a road matchup against Illinois on the horizon.

Here’s a stock report for Wisconsin football following an unfortunate loss to Iowa in Week 7.

Player of the Game: Nathaniel Vakos

It’s rough when your kicker is the player of the game, but there’s really no contest here. Vakos did everything he was asked to Saturday against the Hawkeyes.

Vakos, a transfer out of Ohio, also nailed his longest field goal of the season thus far, connecting from 52 yards out. It’s his 2nd attempt over 50 yards this season and his first make. He missed a 53-yarder wide left against Rutgers last week.

Vakos also connected from 36 yards to open scoring for the Badgers… in the 3rd quarter.

The Sophomore is 10/11 on the season with his only miss coming from that 53-yarder against Rutgers.

Newcomers of the Week: Bryson Green and Will Pauling

Oklahoma State transfer Bryson Green had perhaps the most productive day of any Badger on offense Saturday.

Green totaled 5 receptions for 86 yards, including a 42-yard reception that proved to be Wisconsin’s biggest gain of the afternoon.

Will Pauling was right behind Green. The Cincinnati transfer had a great day as well, totaling a team-high 8 receptions for 80 yards. He didn’t quit have the explosiveness that Green had, but he was a reliable target for Braedyn Locke with Tanner Mordecai out of the game.

Biggest surprise: 6 points?

Wisconsin hasn’t exactly played world-beating defenses this season, but they at the very least have been able to put up points. Prior to Week 7 their low-scoring total was 22 in a loss to a good Washington State team.

Now, I know Tanner Mordecai was out with injury for half this game. But the Badgers put up plenty of yards. They just couldn’t finish. More on that in a second.

I think a lot of people hammered the under in this game, but I doubt many thought the total wouldn’t eclipse 22.

Biggest concern: QB Tanner Mordecai’s injury

Yeah, this one’s a no-brainer. Especially after it came out Monday that Mordecai will need surgery following a hand injury suffered after hitting his hand on a helmet.

Y’all saw what Wisconsin’s offense looked like without him at the helm. It may look better when redshirt freshman Braedyn Locke is able to get some planning in, but the Badgers are in a far-from-ideal situation right now.

Mordecai being out for some time paired with Chez Mellusi’s season-ending injury earlier in the year, the pressure is on Braelon Allen to produce more than ever.

Developing trend: Struggles against above .500 teams

The Badgers have played 4 games against teams that are currently above .500 – Georgia Southern, Rutgers, Iowa and Washington State. They’re 2-2 in those games.

We’ve touched on the injuries, but that’s rough for a team that many had as their dark horse in the B1G this season. Currently, Wisconsin’s best win on the season was against Rutgers in Madison.

That can change next week. Illinois is far from the level of Iowa and Washington State, but a win on the road against a B1G West team would be huge for Luke Fickell’s squad.

Key stat: 332 total yards, 6 points

Here’s that stat I referred to earlier. The Badgers totaled 332 yards on Saturday, 95 more than Iowa, and lost by 2 possessions with just 6 points to show for it.

How, you ask? Let’s take a look at the drive chart:

Downs, Punt, Punt, Punt, Punt, Punt, Punt, End of Half, FG, FG, Punt, Iowa Safety, Punt, Fumble, INT

Not ideal. 15 drives, 8 punts, 2 scoring possessions. That’s not going to win much of anything against anybody.

It started on the first drive of the game. Wisconsin drove a 11-play, 81-yard drive that ended with Allen rushing for -2 yards on 4th and 1. From there it took 5 possessions for the Badgers to even get a first down.

First impressions for Week 8: Illinois has new life

Illinois has new life after sauntering into College Park and stealing a win over a good Maryland squad.

The Illini had a rough start to the year, but that win will rejuvenate any team. They also have something to fight for, with bowl eligibility now squarely on the table.

And without Mordecai, the Illini have to be champing at the bit. Illinoi and Wisconsin face off at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1.