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Stat 2 Watch Recap: Wisconsin

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Wisconsin’s defense had been the thorn in Iowa’s side

Wisconsin v Iowa
Iowa’s offense delivered.
Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Coming into the Heartland Trophy game, Wisconsin had had Iowa’s number. The Hawks have struggled against what is always a stout defense under the Badger defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard. The first half was much of the same. And then... Happy Days are here again! (Sorry, Wisconsin, but the Fonz prefers Iowa City to Milwaukee)

Thumbs up for that second half!

Tale of Two Halves

First Half

If you’ve read my blogs, I make numerous allusions to Charles Dickens. Dickens was the Phil Parker of literature.

The first half left much to be desired offensively from the Brian Ferentz offense. Iowa had only 112 yards at halftime. The most glaring was our 18 rushing attempts for 25 yards (1.4 yards/attempt). Yikes. Wisconsin has some excellent linebackers who shed blocks and pursue very well. Iowa’s passing game was struggling to make an impact in the first half as well. Spencer Petras connected on 59% of his passes for 87 yards.

Second Half

After intermission Iowa’s offense started clicking. The Hawkeyes totaled 102 yards on the ground, 80 of which came on Tyler Goodson’s long, weaving touchdown. Of note, Tyler Linderbaum is faster than Wisconsin’s running back. Sorry, not sorry. Spencer Petras, for the second week in a row, had a very nice second half. Petras threw for 124 yards in the second half, finishing with 211 yards, 2 TD’s, and 0 INT’s. Petras also connected on a few deep balls. This has been nonexistent so far this season.

I S-M hauls in a long TD!

How’d the Stat to Watch Go?

Wisconsin was allowing an NCAA-leading 229.2 yards a game going in. Iowa tallied 338 yards on the day. That bumped the Badgers’ up to 251.0 yards a game. The Hawkeyes more than doubled their first-half output for yards in the second half.

The second stat to watch was which team would win the turnover battle. The Hawkeyes came out plus one in this ever-important statistic. Welcome to Iowa City, Heartland Trophy! It’s been too long. Go Hawks!

Iowa’s defense poses with the Heartland Trophy