It’s been a good year for the Iowa Hawkeyes so far, especially on the defensive side of the ball. They rank third in the nation in fewest points allowed, surrendering just 10 per game. They are not inside of the Top 20 by mistake, and always pose a tough out for the opposition, though they’ll be facing an equally tough team Saturday when they visit Wisconsin. This is a group, however, that is 0-2 against fellow nationally-ranked teams, so they may well lose their place in the rankings if they fall significantly short against the Badgers as they did against Michigan and Penn State.
Wisconsin, on the other hand, is a team that has not only a strong offense but a solid defense too. The Badgers rank 27th in the nation, averaging close to 36 points per game, while sitting right behind Iowa at fourth in the nation, giving up just 11.4 points per contest. The big surprise for this team that looked like a College Football Playoff darkhorse was its loss to a then-2-4 Illinois team in a game that featured a late field goal deciding the contest. They got blown to bits by Ohio State two weeks ago but are hoping for better after a bye week.
Wisconsin enters as a 7.5-point favorite playing at home. The over/under is set at 37.5.
Needing A Marquee Win
In both games the Hawkeyes have played against foes with a national ranking, it did not go according to plan for Iowa, so they’ll be looking to turn it around this time. Nate Stanley hasn’t exactly moved mountains this year at the QB spot this year, completing 61 percent of his passes for 1,950 yards and 10 TDs, with five picks also in there. Mekhi Sargent has rushed for a team-best 443 yards and four scores, and the Hawkeyes are going to need a lot from him in this one against a stout Badgers defensive group.
The Hawkeyes don’t get too many sacks, but their defensive line is led by Chauncey Golston and his 7.5 tackles for loss. He’ll be looking to drop Badgers running backs the second they touch it. Their top tackler is Kristian Welch, who has 46.
Looking For A Bounce Back
As they come off back-to-back losses, one of them an inexplicable defeat, it will be interesting to see how the Badgers respond. Jack Coan has completed 75 percent of his passes this year for 10 TDs and two picks. Wisconsin football has been known for dynamic RBs for the last several years, with another dominant campaign from Jonathan Taylor currently getting them by, He has rushed 177 times for 1,009 yards (5.7 ypc) with 15 TDs, while adding another four through the air.
Chris Orr enters play with nine sacks on the season, while Zack Baun has recorded 7.5. Both of them have proven to be a terror for the opposing QBs.
Wisconsin Gets The Win
The Badgers will get a big win this week as they hand Iowa another loss. Taylor’s 125 yards and three scores will lead the way.
Free Play: WIS -7.5
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