The scoreboard said 17-9 to the favor of the Wisconsin Badgers as time expired in Kinnick Stadium. However, the real winner was the Badgers defense in a game that was dominated by the Badgers in every way but the scoreboard.
UW received great contributions from Corey Clement (37 touches, 145 yards), Bart Houston (4 for 6 with 67 total yards) and Alex Hornibrook (11 for 19 with 180 total yards) in the win.
The story of the first half was missed opportunities for the Badgers, who led 7-6 at the break. Andrew Endicott missed two field goals from 32 and 52 yards out, and Corey Clement fumbled on the Iowa 1-yard line, which Iowa turned into 3 points before the half.
Badgers coach Paul Chryst called a good first half, but the Badgers failed to convert offensive opportunities in Iowa territory into points on multiple occasions.
Derrick Tindal and Jack Cichy briefly left the game with injuries in the first 30 minutes of play, but the Badgers rallied, holding the Hawkeyes to just 9 points and 236 yards of offense.
Wisconsin only scored 17 points but were much more effective on offense than the score implies. Wisconsin notched 423 yards of offense (167 rushing, 256 passing) and was able to go the entire game without a single penalty.
Another stat that helped the Badgers cause was their play on third down. The Badgers converted 8 of 16 opportunities and the Hawkeyes only converted 2 out of 13 opportunities on third down against the Badger defense.
The play of freshman Tight End Kyle Penniston and backup running back Dare Ogunbowale in the first half was huge as well.
Penniston notched a 54 yard reception in the first half and another freshman, Quintez Cephus, came through with a key 57 yard reception in the second half.
If the Badgers were not able to hang on for the win, Badgers fans would have heavily criticized Paul Chryst for electing to kick on multiple 4th down and short situations instead of going for it with the offense. To Paul Chryst’s delight, Endicott finally came through with his third attempt which sealed the win for the Badgers.
Some of the biggest plays of the game were a key third and 8 scramble by Bart Houston and a 34 beast mode run by Corey Clement which all but put the game on ice for Wisconsin. A big Desmond King kickoff return was nullified by a C.J. Beathard intentional grounding that would have otherwise been a sack for Wisconsin.
Wisconsin now returns home to face a likely top-10 Nebraska Cornhuskers team that will be undefeated if they can defeat Purdue at home today.
The game will likely decide the Big Ten West division, as the winner would hold any potential tiebreaker between the two front-runners for the division.