The Iowa Hawkeyes managed to limp to another win in week six as they took down the Purdue Boilermakers 20-14. It was a game that at times felt like no contest despite Iowa’s abysmal offense. The Hawkeyes pushed out to a 10-0 first half lead and seemed poised to run away with things before the Boilers marched down the field to grab a TD before the end of the half. But when Iowa extended the lead to 20-7 in the 4th on perhaps the only high quality throw of the day from QB Deacon Hill, the game seemed to be in hand.
That was due in large part to the stranglehold the Iowa defense put on the Purdue offense. Save for two drives in the 2nd and 4th quarter where the Boilers went for 69 and 74 yards respectively, the Hawkeye defense held Purdue to just 200 total yards with an absurd six sacks to go with a pair of interceptions.
It was the kind of defensive performance that just might give Hawkeye fans some hope that the season can still be successful despite the atrocious Iowa offense.
Now Iowa hits the road again to take on the Wisconsin Badgers, who sit atop the Big Ten West standings with a 4-1 record overall and a pristine 2-0 record in the conference. The Badgers come in fresh off a 24-13 win over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and positioned to once again be in the driver’s seat for a trip to Indianapolis.
But the same can be said for the Hawkeyes, as a win on Saturday jumps them over the Badgers in the West standings and even gives them some leeway the rest of the way as Wisconsin still has a date with Ohio State on the schedule. The Badgers would have to run the table and hope for an Iowa loss to still win the West. Similarly, if Wisconsin wins, Iowa would need to run the table and hope the Badgers lose to someone beyond the presumed loss to Ohio State.
With the West on the line, here’s a quick look at the details for Saturday’s matchup.
Date: Saturday, October 14th
Time: 3:00 pm CT
Matchup: Iowa Hawkeyes (5-1, 2-1) at Wisconsin Badgers (4-1, 2-0)
Location: Camp Randall Stadium - Madison, WI
Preliminary Weather Forecast: temps in the upper-40s, 90% chance of rain
DraftKings Opening Line: Wisconsin -9.5, O/U 37.5
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
The Hawkeyes and Badgers are set to face off for the 97th time in the series’ history. While Iowa managed a win last year, the Badgers hold the all-time series lead at 49-45-2. Beyond the win last year, Iowa has won 2 of the last 3 meetings. However, Wisconsin won the four previous meetings and 7 of the prior 8 (8 of the last 11 dating back to 2010).
Notably, Iowa hasn’t won in Madison since 2015 and is just 19-29-1 all-time in games played in Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes haven’t won back-to-back games in this series since 2008-2009.
The longest win streak in the series belongs to Iowa, which won 10-straight from 1985-1996. That came in a 20-year stretch where the Hawkeyes didn’t lose to Wisconsin from 1977-1996 with only a 10-10 tie in 1984 serving as reprieve for the Badgers. This is not your grandfather’s Wisconsin Badger program.
Under head coach Kirk Ferentz, Iowa is 9-13 against Wisconsin dating back to 1999. Ferentz, of course, is now third on the all-time Big Ten wins list with 117 career conference wins. That trails only Ohio State’s Woody Hayes (153) and Michigan’s Bo Schembechler (143).
Iowa and Wisconsin will square off not only for positioning in the Big Ten West, but also for the Heartland Trophy, making this the second trophy game for the Hawkeyes this season. Iowa is 25-8 in its last 33 trophy games against Iowa State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin.
While the Hawkeyes and Badgers have a long-standing rivalry that has lasted more than 100 years, the Heartland Trophy is still relatively new by rivalry trophy standards. It was created in 2004 with the Hawkeyes winning it each of the first two years. However, the Badgers are 10-7 all-time in games with the Heartland Trophy on the line.
As we move toward kickoff on Saturday afternoon, here’s a look at the preseason predictions for this one.
Staff Prediction: Iowa Loss, 80% of the vote
Fan Prediction: Iowa Loss, 73% of the vote
BizarroMath Prediction: Wisconsin 18, Iowa 17
Be sure to check back in throughout the week as all preview and postgame stories will be published to this stream.