The date: November 12, 2005
The opponent: Wisconsin
The score: Iowa 20, #19 Wisconsin 10
What the hell just happened? Winning on the road in the Big Ten is hard. Winning on the road in the road against a ranked team is harder. Winning on the road in the Big Ten against a ranked team that is playing for slim Rose Bowl hopes is the hardest. Winning on the road in the Big Ten against a ranked team that is playing for slim Rose Bowl hopes in the final home game of its most legendary head coach is hardester.
Yet those were the English-butchered stakes that faced the Hawkeyes when they traveled to Camp Randall for the final home game of legendary Badger head coach (and former Iowa assistant) Barry Alvarez.
Not surprisingly, the Badgers came out like a ball of cheese curd-fueled fire, turning to an air attack to build a 10-0 lead in the first quarter.
But when the emotions subsided, the real story of the game became apparent: the domination of the Iowa defense.
After scoring those 10 points in the first quarter, Wisconsin accrued just 72 yards(!!!) the rest of the way until its final drive in the last minute of the game (they didn’t score anyway).
The Hawkeye offense, meanwhile, was meticulous, using touchdown catches by Champ Davis (playing the part of fullback this game) and Ryan Majerus to erase a 10-3 Badger lead at halftime and then hopped on Albert Young’s back and AY carried them the rest of the way.
Heroes: With apologies to Young, who carried the ball 26 times during the game for 127 yards, the true hero of the game was the Iowa defense and especially the defensive line. The Hawkeyes sacked John Stocco six times (two by Mitch King, one-and-a-half by Kenny Iwebema and ESPN.com gave a half sack to Trey Stross too, because why the hell not) during the game and held talented Wisconsin halfback #874 Brian Calhoun to a grand total of 18 yards on 15 carries.
Important? It was really, really nice to see Iowa take care of business in a hostile environment against an emotionally charged opponent, especially considering that the Hawkeyes were coming off two of the most heartbreaking losses in recent memory (the officiating fiasco at home against Michigan and Northwestern’s onside kick-aided fourth quarter comeback). Iowa seems to have a thing for road night games (this game, Michigan State and Penn State in 2009) that are held in the Midwest (fuck you Arizona).
2005 Iowa at #19 Wisconsin Highlights (via TheHawkeyeHistorian)
Personal memories: Like most Hawkeye fans, I was pretty crestfallen when Wisconsin jumped out to an early lead, but it didn’t take long before you realized that the Iowa defensive line was controlling the line of scrimmage (it felt like nearly the entire second half was made up of Stocco getting sacked, running for his life or getting hit as he threw). It was just a manner of time before Iowa took the lead.