Nov. 2, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- No. 24 Wisconsin limited the University of Iowa football team to three red zone field goals and turned two Hawkeye interceptions into 14 points en route to a 28-9 victory Saturday afternoon inside Kinnick Stadium.
After falling behind 6-0 late in the second quarter, the Badgers outscored Iowa, 28-3, over the final 35 minutes to tally their sixth victory of the season and retain possession of the Heartland Trophy. The win gives Wisconsin the 43-42-2 lead in the all-time series.
"It was an outstanding football game for at least 50 minutes, but we couldn't finish the game," said UI head coach Kirk Ferentz. "They did a heck of a job doing that, they're a good football team.
"Bottom line is we didn't play well enough to get the victory. Some of the things that happened early in the game came back to make it tough for us in the fourth quarter."
The Badgers out-gained Iowa, 362-294, which included 218 yards on the ground. The Hawkeyes finished with 115 rushing yards and 179 through the air, and committed two turnovers, both of which led to Wisconsin points.
Sophomore Jake Rudock finished 12-of-24 for 109 yards, while redshirt freshman C.J. Beathard was 4-of-15 for 70 yards. Each player had an interception. Sophomore Jordan Canzeri led the rushing attack with 58 yards on five carries, and junior Damond Powell had three catches for 43 yards.
Three Hawkeye seniors finished with double-digit tackle totals. Linebacker James Morris had 12 tackles (four solo, eight assists), three tackles for loss and a sack, Christian Kirksey had 11 stops (five solo, six assists), and safety John Lowdermilk had 11 stops (two solo, nine assists). Senior Tanner Miller had his second interception of the season.
Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave completed 11-of-19 attempts for 144 yards with two touchdowns, running back James White had 132 yards on 19 carries with two scores and tight end Jacob Pederson caught three balls for 73 yards and a score. Linebacker Marcus Trotter, who filled in for injured Chris Borland, led the Badgers with nine tackles, including two for loss.
Iowa's defense bottled up the Badgers over the first quarter and a half, limiting Wisconsin to 52 yards and two first downs over its first five possessions. Trailing 6-0, the Badgers used a six-play, 72-yard scoring drive to take the lead.
Wisconsin used rushes of 13 and 11 yards from running back Melvin Gordon and White to move into Iowa territory. On third-and-7, Iowa dropped eight into coverage, but Pedersen got open in the seam for a 44-yard touchdown reception, giving Wisconsin a 7-6 lead with 1:49 left.
After four empty possessions to start the second half, Wisconsin's special teams and defense set up the game's second touchdown. After a four-play Badger drive ended at midfield, punter Drew Meyer had a 48-yard punt that was downed at the Iowa 1.
On the first play of the Hawkeye series, Rudock took a shot on his attempt to senior tight C.J. Fiedorowicz from his own end zone, and the pass was intercepted by Wisconsin cornerback Darius Hillary at the Iowa 20. Rudock was knocked out of the game on the play with a leg strain. Stave made Iowa pay when he connected with wide receiver Jared Abbrederis for 20-yard touchdown pass on play-action to push the lead to 14-6.
"Jake got twisted around there a little bit, so he's got a sprain, and it didn't seem like a good idea to put him back in," said Ferentz. "He could have gone back in, but it didn't seem smart to put him in at that point."
Canzeri gave the Hawkeyes a lift to set up Iowa's final scoring drive. The sophomore opened with a 43-yard run up the middle to the Wisconsin 17 and followed with a 5-yard gain to the 12. After being stopped for no gain on third down, Beathard's third-down attempt was incomplete, setting up a 29-yard field goal by Mike Meyer.
Iowa's second interception of the game set up Wisconsin's third touchdown. On second-and-15 from its own 22, Beathard dropped back and took on pressure from Trotter. His pass attempt ricocheted off offensive lineman Andrew Donnal's helmet into the air, where defensive end Pat Muldoon came away with the pick.
On second-and-11 from the 26, Stave connected with Pedersen on a throwback pass for a 15-yard gain to the 11. White broke free for a rushing touchdown on the next play, giving the Badgers the 21-9 lead. Wisconsin's final scoring drive covered 76 yards over eight plays. White broke free for a 59-yard gain on the second play to the Iowa 17 and six plays later, he found the end zone with a 2-yard score.
Defense was the name of the game for the Hawkeyes in the opening quarter. Iowa limited Wisconsin to 25 yards and zero first downs. The Hawkeyes started 3-of-4 first quarter drives in Badger territory, but came away with just three points.
"In the first half, we had good field position, had the wind behind us and ended up with three points," said Ferentz. "It came down to us being in the red zone twice and not being able to come out with a touchdown.
"We had the opportunity to be down there and come away with touchdowns, to come up short was a big factor in the game."
On the first series of the game, Iowa collected the game's first turnover. On third-and-3 from its own 32, Miller intercepted Stave at the Iowa 43 before his 8-yard return gave Iowa a first-and-10 from the Badger 49. Kirksey pressure forced Stave into a "pop fly" throw in the middle of the field.
After trading three-and-outs, Iowa's offense put together an 11-play, 28-yard drive to notch the game's first points. Weisman opened the series with an 8-yard run up the middle before Bullock picked up a first down with a 2-yard run.
Following a false start penalty, Bullock made a one-handed catch on a screen pass, where a seal block by Conor Boffeli sprung the play for a 12-yard gain. Rudock scrambled for 2 yards on third down before Weisman ran through Wisconsin linebacker Derek Landisch for a 6-yard gain on fourth-and-1 to move the chains.
Iowa was forced to settle with Meyer's 29-yard field goal when two rushes gained three yards, and Kevonte Martin-Manley dropped a first down throw inside the 5-yard line on third-and-7.
The Hawkeyes pushed their lead to 6-0 with a 13-play, 66-yard drive. After a 3-yard rush by freshman LeShun Daniels, Jr., on third-and-1, Rudock connected with sophomore Tevaun Smith for a 17-yard gain into Wisconsin territory. On the next play, Rudock shoveled a pass to Bullock, who turned it into a 24-yard gain into the red zone.
Following a 4-yard run by Weisman on first down, Fiedorowicz was whistled for a hold, setting up a second-and-16 from the 23. After a 1-yard loss on a bubble screen, Fiedorowicz made a diving catch for a 16-yard gain to the 8, setting up a fourth-and-1. Iowa converted with a 2-yard Weisman run, but the Badgers stiffened with the goal line as its 12th-defender before Meyer's 22-yard chip shot made the score 6-0 with 4:52 left in the half.
Iowa (5-4, 2-3) returns to action Nov. 9 at Purdue. Game time is set for 11 a.m. (CT) in West Lafayette, Ind.