The Iowa Hawkeyes have breathed new life into their 2022 season after a second straight win fueled by a second straight week with something resembling an offense.
After a week of preparing for a Purdue offense that was expected to be electric, the Hawkeye defense did what it has done all season and held the Boilermakers to a season-low three points on Saturday. What was new last week was the offense holding up their end of the bargain, “erupting” for 24 points (all into the wind) over the course of five drives. Iowa looked competent before largely shutting things down in the second half. The result was a defense that could pin its ears back and play with the kind of lead they’ve longed for all season.
Now, the Hawkeyes find themselves out of the Big Ten West cellar and into a tie for second place behind only the Illinois Fighting Illini. One of the teams they’re tied with in second place, who is also holding out hope for a return trip to Indianapolis is the Wisconsin Badgers.
Bucky is slated to come to Iowa City on Saturday with the winner riding shotgun beside Illinois, looking for an opportunity to jump in front of the Illini should they falter yet again.
Here’s an early look at what you need to know about this week’s matchup.
Date: Saturday, November 12th
Time: 2:30 pm CT
Matchup: Wisconsin Badgers (5-4, 3-3) at Iowa Hawkeyes (5-4, 3-3)
Location: Kinnick Stadium - Iowa City, IA
Preliminary Weather Forecast: cloudy with temps in the low-30s, 15% chance of rain with 15mph winds
DraftKings Opening Line: Wisconsin -1.5, O/U 36.5
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
The Hawkeyes and Badgers have faced off 95 times over the course of the last 128 years. The Badgers hold the all-time series lead at 49-44-2, but this is a rivalry that has been built on winning streaks.
Wisconsin won the last meeting with the Hawkeyes winning in Iowa City during the covid-shortened 2020 season. But before that, the Badgers had won four straight and seven of the last eight matchups. Iowa won six of the eight games that preceded that stretch from 20020 to 2009, just after Wisconsin had won five straight to close out the Hayden Fry era and open up the Kirk Ferentz tenure in Iowa City.
Before that back and forth, the Hawkeyes had dominated Wisconsin for the better part of three decades. Iowa won 10 straight from 1985-1996, the longest streak in the series by either team. The streak would have been much more impressive if Fry had been able to get a win in 1984. Instead, the Hawkeyes and Badgers tied 10-10, stopping a seven-game winning streak by Iowa spanning from 1977-1983. Thus, Wisconsin went winless in the series between 1977 and 1996.
These two programs are built on defense and that’s likely to result in a lower scoring affair on Saturday. DraftKings Sportsbook has the over/under at just 36.5 total points early in the week, despite the Badgers and Hawkeyes averaging a combined 48 points per game on offense this season. The two defenses are giving up just under 35 points per game on the year. Just once over the last decade has a team scored more than 28 points in this matchup. That came in 2013 when the Gary Andersen coached Badgers defeated Iowa 28-9 in Iowa City.
The Badgers are 5-1 in their last six meetings with the Hawkeyes in Iowa City. That spans four different coaches, including Paul Chryst who the Badgers fired earlier this season.
Preseason Prep Work
As we march toward kick off, be sure to check out our preseason preview for this week’s matchup. There’s loads of important details and unique looks at this week’s opponent, including these great stats:
16: Since the rivalry flipped last decade, the Hawks have turned it over 16 times in 10 games. It’s been especially bad of late, with three games featuring the Hawkeyes cough the ball up 3+ times. Wisconsin, to be fair, hasn’t been much better with 15 over the same timespan, including a couple games with 4 turnovers.
10/11: Graham Mertz started off red-hot in last year’s game as Chryst dialed up a number of plays he was comfortable with while the Badgers built a 17-point lead. He finished 11/22. Quarterback play in the west...not that good!
3.5: The old adage of football is it’s about running it and stopping the opponent from running it and nothing is more clear here. Wisconsin has rushed for 3.5+ yards/carry eight times since 2010...all wins. Iowa’s only two victories were when they held the Badgers to 1.7 (2020) and 2.5 (2015).
17: Since 2005, the Badgers have had 17 running backs post 1000-yard seasons. Yeah, that’s 17 in 17. They missed in 2020 & 2015 but made up for it with double-doses in 2010 & 2013. Kinda feels like this might be another season where they can get two guys there unless the realllly lean into the next guy.
Here’s a look at the preseason predictions for this one:
Staff Prediction: Iowa Win, 60% of the vote
Fan Prediction: Iowa Win, 53% of the vote
BizarroMath Prediction: Iowa 16.38, Wisconsin 21.29 (Wisconsin +4.03), 42.13% chance of winning
Stay tuned all week as we dive deeper on the players, matchups and stats to know as the Hawkeyes face off with the Badgers.