Four Factors in Review: Iowa vs. Wisconsin

Matthew Holst

Is this year's offense really any better than last year's?

The Iowa defense was playing amazing in the first quarter. They forced a turnover and Wisconsin didn't get a first down. The offense had drives starting at the 42, 11, Wisconsin's 46, and the 35. Plus Iowa had the wind at its back. At the end of that quarter, Iowa had a 3-0 lead and it was all but over. The offense didn't capitalize on its opportunities and Wisconsin later would.

Nothing else really felt like it mattered. Iowa is now averaging just 16 points per B1G game in regulation. And, yes, I know that they've played 3 of the best defenses in the country in Michigan State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin. But still, 16 points in not getting it done. Iowa's offense only averaged 14.5 points in regulation last year in conference play, so I guess 1.5 a game is a slight improvement. I'm doing my best to let these last 3 games play out before calling for Greg Davis' head.

Red zone defense

Iowa's defense didn't hold up in Wisconsin's 3 trips to the red zone. I'm not too worried about it though, and don't put any of the blame for the loss on the red zone defense. Two of Wisconsin's trips to the red zone were off of Iowa interceptions and the Badgers had really short fields there. The final trip came at the end of the game when the defense was worn out and the outcome had already been decided.

Iowa's red zone offense on the other hand... There's a good place to put some blame. Iowa drove into the red zone 4 times and came away with just 9 points on 3 FGs (it could have easily been 4 FGs, but Iowa was going for a TD at the end of the game). A dropped pass and a bad penalty killed the first two attempts. If Iowa comes away with TDs there, it's 14-0 and a completely different game.

Big plays through the air

Well, it wasn't for lack of effort here. C.J. Beathard LOVES to throw it down the field. Pretty much anytime there was man coverage on the outside, Beathard threw it deep. It's not the most effective strategy with Iowa's receivers, and he finished just 4 of 15 on the day. But he did have a 38 completion to Damond Powell. Combined with Rudock, the QBs went 16 of 40 for just 179 yards. It was not a good passing day for the Hawkeyes.

Make Stave throw

The front seven did its job early in the game. Up until right before the fourth quarter, Iowa had more rushing yards than the Badgers...and neither had very many. In the first quarter, Iowa was stuffing everything and the Badgers consistently were forced to throw on third downs. Stave struggled to get anything going early, as Iowa was able to get pressure. As the game went on, Stave was able to complete a few long passes for TDs and then the Hawkeye defense began to wear down. In the fourth quarter, the Badgers were able to repeatedly run the ball and Stave just threw a couple of screen passes.

Make something happen

Iowa had its chances in the first quarter. The defense forced a turnover immediately and the offense went 3-and-out. The defense got another stop and another stop and then Wisconsin's punter (who really struggled kicking into the wind) only booted one 19 yards giving the Hawks great field position. Another 3-and-out and that was pretty much game over.

In review

Greg Davis needs to figure out how to score points with the current players on the roster and he has 3 games left to do it, or I think he'll be packing his bags to go back to Texas or wherever he wants to live without a job. 16 points will probably get it done against Purdue, but it won't against Michigan or Nebraska. 6 wins and a bowl game is enough to keep Kirk Ferentz around another year, but is this offensive production enough for him to keep Davis?

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