Each week we’ll rewatch the previous game and try to figure out what went right (very little) — and wrong (everything) in the weekend’s game. Catch all the previous rewatches right here.
That was brutal.
Iowa’s defense did everything it could have possibly been asked to do in order to get a win. Forcing four turnovers wins you the game most of time. In fact, there’s been exactly one time in the last 10 years the Hawkeyes have lost while forcing four or more turnovers — a 9-6 loss to Iowa State in 2012.
The big problem was on third down. Iowa went 0-for-13, something it’s only done once in the past 10 years. Oddly enough, that game was a win — 28-20 over Nebraska in 2015 — and even weirder, the Hawkeyes also forced four turnovers (all picks) that day.
Then again, they also had 250 yards of offense in that game. Iowa had just 66 on Saturday, which is tied for the second-worst output by a Power 5 team this year.
Going on the road has been brutal for Iowa this season, but some of the main keys to grabbing a big win is:
1) Getting some early momentum
2) Forcing the opponent into mistakes
3) Capitalizing on said mistakes
4) Avoiding mistakes and turnovers of your own
5) At least in the Big Ten, being able to run the ball
Iowa started off this game in just about the best way possible. Josh Jackson made a beautiful play on an early Alex Hornibrook pass and took it to the house.
Early momentum? Check. Forcing an opponent into mistakes? Check. Capitalizing? Check.
Three of those five keys early on in the game. On the ensuing drive, Iowa played its “bend don’t break” defense to absolute perfection. The Hawkeyes had two great stops inside the two-yard line and then Jake Gervase made a play on third down.
Awesome. Good. Great. Damage limited and it’s 7-3.
Iowa goes 3-and-out. Not great, but this offense is sometimes a 25-year old Ford in the winter. It might not start right away. The defense is still playing great and let’s see if we can force another turnover.
Oh look, right on cue...
Now let’s see that offense that scored 55 on Ohio State last week.
You know, the one with the quarterback that threw for five touchdowns? The worldbeaters that have two tight ends that combined for nine catches, 125 yards and four touchdowns against the Buckeyes? THE ONE THAT HAD 24 FIRST DOWNS?
Well it’s still early, we’ll be okay.
Yeeeeesh, the offensive line has had better days.
Okay where did that group from last week go. Who killed them? Who are these guys?
This isn’t looking great!
Alright y’all, time for some late-game heroics. Hey, look, is that momentum??? Heck yeah, a six play, 33-yard drive aaaaaand...
Meanwhile, Wisconsin decided to play actual, competent offense. Running back Jonathan Taylor: 29 carries, 157 yards on the ground.
In hindsight, it was pretty obvious how this game was going to go from the first snap.
He looked superb. Meanwhile, the rest of Wisconsin’s skill players were doing things all over the field.
Kendric Pryor? Two touches, two touchdowns.
Just comes around from the right side, Iowa loses him and he uses his speed to get outside. Manny Rugamba has his soul removed from his body. Parker Hesse never had much of a chance.
Bo Bower got sucked inside. Jake Gervase can’t get there in time. It’s bad. All bad.
Then, a little later, he makes Iowa pay again with a beautiful catch. Gets a step on Manny and...
There’s really not all that much more to say.
A couple quick hits:
- Noah Fant and Matt VandeBerg had back-to-back drops in the third quarter, which was costly. Fant’s would have been a 20+ yard gain.
- The Hawkeyes didn’t have a first down from the two-minute mark of the first quarter to 6:39 in the third.
- Iowa only had five downs for the game, fewest of the Ferentz era. It’s only been held to single-digit first downs seven times previously in his tenure — PSU, 2007 (8); Arizona State, 2005 (6); Wisconsin, 2003 (9); Kansas State, 2000 (9), Wisconsin, 2000 (9), Michigan State, 1999 (6), Nebraska, 1999 (8).
- The Hawkeyes averaged 9.9 yards to go on third down in the first half and 7.7 to go on that down for the game.
- Three total turnovers for Iowa, including two fumbles by Stanley. He’s lost seven this season, a mark that’s tied for seventh-worst in the FBS. Most of the players around him on that particular leaderboard play in option offenses.
- The Hawkeyes averaged one yard per rush and lost 49 yards on the ground.
- Nick Easley had his first rush of the season, it went for five yards. It’s usually a play reserved for ISM, so that was rather odd to see.
- A.J. Epenesa had his first sack since Penn State. He has 3.5 on the year, which ranks second for the Hawkeyes. In fact, I think we’ll end with that.