Wisconsin bounces back, beats Iowa
The Sports Xchange IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The 10th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers snapped a two-game losing streak, reclaimed the Heartland Trophy from Iowa and further established themselves as a serious contender in the Big Ten West after defeating the H...
The Sports Xchange
IOWA CITY, Iowa - The 10th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers snapped a two-game losing streak, reclaimed the Heartland Trophy from Iowa and further established themselves as a serious contender in the Big Ten West after defeating the Hawkeyes, 17-9, at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday.
The Badgers’ lone score of the first half came when backup quarterback Bart Houston came in for a series in place of starter Alex Hornibrook.
Houston moved Wisconsin (5-2, 2-2 in the Big Ten) down the field and connected on a 17-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end Troy Fumagalli that put the Badgers up 7-0.
Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst said playing Houston on that series and then again later in the fourth quarter was by design and that he wanted to incorporate both of his signal-callers into the game plan.
“I think for us to be the best team we can be, we need everyone,” Chryst said. “It’s one of those things where Bart gives us some stuff. That was kind of a read option-type play for him and I thought it fit him. I thought he did a nice job of executing and (Fumagalli) had a nice catch and run after.”
A handful of red zone blunders by Wisconsin allowed Iowa to keep the game close during the first half.
On the Badgers’ opening possession, they reached the Iowa 14-yard line before senior kicker Andrew Endicott missed a 32-yard field goal attempt.
Then right before halftime, Wisconsin was on the cusp of moving ahead by double digits, but senior running back Corey Clement had the ball stripped at the 1-yard line by Iowa junior linebacker Josey Jewell and senior cornerback Desmond King recovered the fumble in the end zone for a touchback.
“I almost felt too down about it, but when I got a chance to talk to Coach, there was still another half to go,” Clement said. “Fumbles happen and I just got to be a veteran and keep my head up, keep fighting with the seniors and know that we’re coming out here for a purpose.”
Iowa made Wisconsin pay for that turnover, as the Hawkeyes moved to the Badgers’ 29-yard line in the first half’s final minute and cut their deficit to a single point when sophomore Miguel Recinos kicked the second of his three field goals, a 47-yarder, as time expired.
The Hawkeyes’ biggest issue, however, was not capitalizing on their other opportunities. Iowa (5-3, 2-2) was held to an anemic 2-of-13 on third down conversions by a stout Wisconsin defense considered among the nation’s elite.
“They did a good job of covering on those third down situations,” Iowa senior quarterback C.J. Beathard said following a performance in which he completed 17-of-33 pass attempts for just 153 yards through the air. “Give credit to those guys. They played good on defense and limited what we were able to do.”
Wisconsin added to its lead in the second half when Clement redeemed himself with a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 14-6. The four-play scoring drive was highlighted by a 57-yard completion by Hornibrook to freshman wideout Quintez Cephus that got the Badgers to Iowa’s 5-yard line.
Clement finished the afternoon with 134 yards rushing on 35 carries as Wisconsin was in complete control in time of possession, holding onto the ball for 37:02.
“Time of possession is very crucial, especially when you’re interchanging two quarterbacks,” Clement said. “You got to know who’s going to be on the field and I think Bart and Hornibrook really utilized the time that they were out there. They were the captains out there and we were just following them.”
The Badgers continue their gauntlet of a Big Ten schedule next week with a home date under the lights against No. 8 Nebraska in a game with enormous Big Ten West ramifications.
Iowa has its bye week before returning to action Nov. 5 at Penn State. Head coach Kirk Ferentz said the emphasis over the next two weeks for his team will be working on fundamentals in practice.
“I think we can get better,” Ferentz said. “I guess I’m an optimist, but that’s how I look at it and that’s really what our goal is these next two weeks, to see how much we can keep pushing forward.
“We’ve made progress as a football team these past three weeks. We came up short today, but I think we’re a much better team than we were three weeks ago. So we’ll just keep pushing.”
BADGER BITS: Wisconsin senior linebacker Vince Biegel returned on Saturday after missing the last two games because of a broken right foot. However, Wisconsin sophomore nose tackle Olive Sagapolu didn’t make the trip to Iowa City after sustaining an injury to his right arm. ... With Saturday’s victory, Wisconsin has won in five of its last six visits to Kinnick Stadium, including each of its last four road games against the Hawkeyes. ... With Saturday’s loss, Iowa has three losses at home this season and has lost at home 14 times since the start of the 2012 season. The Hawkeyes lost a combined total of 12 games at Kinnick Stadium between 2002-2011.