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A big, stupid letdown.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Wisconsin
Well that sucked.
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

I can’t exactly say I’m shocked.

I mean am I surprised? Yes, of course. But after one of the best wins of the past 20 years, Iowa pulling a complete and total disappearing act against Wisconsin just seems... familiar. Disappointment sometimes feels like a constant when it comes to Iowa, in any sport, and I suppose that’s just how it is.

Not that this even a particularly bad year, it’s just confounding how can you get a win like that last week against Ohio State — off all teams — and just do nothing the next week. I mean I guess we should be thankful we don’t lose year-in and year-out, but those fanbases, I mean I feel like they’re numb to it.

It’s not that Iowa doesn’t have a consistent winning tradition. There’s a fairly good shot the Hawkeyes end the season with a winning record (all they have to do is win one game) and as has been mentioned over and over and over and over, this is, indeed, a young team.

I still don’t really know how many more times I can say “Yes, the offense should have been better” “Yes, the defense was astounding” “Wow, why are we struggling on special teams.”

New this week? “Wow, it sure would be nice if we could put together a complete gameplan more than one week in a row.”

I mean after all, the last team to put up more yards than Iowa (487) against Ohio State in recent memory outside of Oklahoma (490) earlier this year was Michigan State (536) in 2014.

Before we get too much further I want you to realize just how absolutely atrocious that offensive display on Saturday against the Badgers was. Since I hate myself I decided to look up the worst offensive performances in the Power-5 conferences this season.

2017 teams with under 100 total yards (single game)

Kansas (at TCU on 10/21) — 21 yards

Iowa (at Wisconsin on 11/11) — 66 yards

Maryland (at Ohio State, 10/7) — 66 yards

Vanderbilt (vs. Alabama, 9/23) — 78 yards

California (at Washington, 10/7) — 97 yards

66 yards.

As you can see, Iowa’s offense is tied for the second-worst single-game offensive output of any Power 5 team this year. I don’t quite hate myself to look through the Group of 5 teams, but be my guest and let me know in the comments.

It’s the worst offensive performance of Kirk Ferentz’s tenure, eclipsing a 100-yard outing against Arizona State in 2004. It was also the fewest yards the Badgers have ever ~~~~~~ever~~~~~~ allowed a Big Ten opponent.

Wisconsin has played 780 Big Ten games.

If not for future first-round NFL pick Joshua Jackson doing this...

....and this

...Iowa could very well have lost this game 38-0. Jackson ended with 95 return yards, more than the Hawkeyes had as an entire offense.

Nate Stanley? 8-of-24, 41 yards, an interception and... a 39.35 QB rating. Or 1.3 QBR, if you prefer that metric. I think he’ll be able to bounce back and this certainly isn’t the end-all, be-all, but damn that was bad.

Noah Fant didn’t have a catch. T.J. Hockenson had one. Nick Easley and Matt VandeBerg each had less than 20 yards receiving. There were approximately 7000 drops.

Akrum Wadley’s longest carry was nine yards. This was the first game in which James Butler has played and Iowa has lost. The Butler and Wadley duo combined for 16 carries and 53 yards on the ground.

Stanley was sacked four times for -37 yards in a performance from the offensive line that was a complete and total flip from last week. James Daniels had perhaps his worst game in an Iowa uniform.

Somehow Iowa was still in this game until the later portions of the third quarter but kept struggling to get anything at all going. When it was all said and done, Iowa would end up 0-of-13 on third down.

Iowa averaged 1.3 yards per play. 1.7 yards per pass attempt. They lost the possession-time battle 38:27 to 21:33. Twenty-one of Wisconsin’s 38 points were off Iowa turnovers.

Very little on this stat sheet is good:

What happens from here? I haven’t the slightest. I’m not going to lie, I thought Iowa had turned the corner against Ohio State.

Not that I expected them to put up 55 points every week, but I expected this to be a game that came down to a final play. I didn’t think it’d be real high scoring. I wasn’t sure who would pull out the win, but I thought we would all see some sort of consistency.

We didn’t.

Instead, all we got was a big, stupid letdown.