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Matchup to watch: Iowa vs. their own hamhandedness

Wisconsin has had Iowa’s number for a while in large due to unforced errors

NCAA Football: Iowa at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been awhile (two Iowa Hawkeye wins!) since I’ve occupied this space. So I am back to re-remind everyone of how the Hawkeyes collectively get their minds melted during this matchup since 2010:

2010: no turnovers but a blocked extra point and they allowed an inexcusable fake punt; lost 31-30
2013: two interceptions and 16/40 passing; lost 28-9
2014: fumble on the second play of the game; lost 26-24
2015: a battle of turnovers where Iowa had two and Wisconsin had four, including one at Iowa’s one-yard line; won 10-6
2016: Iowa more or less got body-bagged this game (no turnovers) but Kirk Ferentz decided to kick a field goal down 11 at the 8 yard line. Why not go for it dude? 17-9 loss
2017: Iowa’s only scores came on Josh Jackson pick-sixes. The defense did everything it could, forcing another interception and three fumbles, recovering one. Iowa finished with 66 total yards. 38-14 loss
2018: Iowa threw a pick and had two fumbles on special teams. Yuck! 28-17 loss
2019: The Hawkeyes forced a couple turnovers but a fumble led to Wisconsin’s first touchdown of the game. Iowa’s offense had six points through three quarters. 24-22 loss
2020: A staring contest in which Iowa flourished against the 2-3 Badgers. 28-7 win.
2021: Benny Hill returns with two fumbles inside their own 10 and a muffed punt. 27-7 loss

There’s just something about the Badgers that turns a normally put-together-if-nothing-else Iowa team into a puddle of their own creation. The Badgers deserve plenty of credit, as their defensive front has been a nightmare for past Iowa offensive lines but so many of the issues above are areas wholly within Iowa’s control, especially the special teams’ blunders.

So if Iowa can clean up their own house, they’ll stand a pretty good chance. Sure, there’s a stout run game to contain and Graham Mertz could put together a first quarter like last season which puts the game out of reach but realistically speaking...Iowa should win if they play CLEAN FOOTBALL.

The Badgers though, are uniquely successful at forcing Iowa to play dirty football with three of Iowa’s 10 3+ turnover games since 2017 coming against the Badgers. The only time Iowa’s won with three or more turnovers in that timespan is an opening day win against Wyoming.