Finally, Iowa football is back.
The Hawkeyes scored ten points in the second quarter and rode a stifling defense to a bruising, grinding 10-6 win over No. 18 Wisconsin Saturday. Iowa fell behind 3-0 on the game's first possession, but took its first lead on a C.J. Beathard roll-out touchdown pass to George Kittle. Following a Wisconsin turnover, Marshall Koehn made a chip-shot attempt to extend the lead. And while Wisconsin threatened to break through repeatedly in the second half, the Badgers managed just a second Rafael Gaglianone field goal early in the third quarter. A final two-minute drill fell short when Stave threw an incompletion on 4th and 2 from the Iowa 16.
It was not a good day for the vast majority of Iowa's offense. C.J. Beathard was just 9/21 for 77 yards with an interception and a fumble. Iowa's offensive line was victimized by Wisconsin's pass rushers, giving Beathard little time to throw into a fierce wind. With the passing game grounded, the Hawkeyes leaned heavily on their old standbys: The running game and defense. Jordan Canzeri ran 26 times for 125 yards, while Iowa's defense held the Badgers to 320 yards of offense, forced three turnovers and repeatedly stiffened in its own territory. Wisconsin moved inside the Iowa 20 yard line just twice; the Badgers fumbled the ball away at the goal line on the first attempt and ran out of downs on the second. While Joel Stave completed 21 passes for 234 yards, he threw two interceptions to Desmond King and nearly threw three others.
The win shakes just about every monkey off its back. For the first time since 2009, Iowa has beaten a ranked team on the road. For the first time since 2009, Iowa is 5-0. And for the first time since the last week of 2010, Iowa should be ranked in the AP Top 25. New Kirk might not have been on full display Saturday, but Old Kirk won an Old Kirk game, and fittingly brings his team home as a Big Ten co-favorite. Move your feet and feel united, indeed.