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Overtime: A Look Back at the Iowa Hawkeyes 38-14 Loss at Wisconsin

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By Jack Brandsgard (   11/13/17

The Iowa offense apparently used all of its Space Jam “Secret Stuff” last week against Ohio State.

66 total yards, three turnovers, and one old-fashioned butt-kicking. It’s usually not a good thing when a team has as many penalties (five) as first downs. Or when its leading scorer is a cornerback. Or when it goes 0-13 on third down. Or when it gets out-possessed nearly two-to-one.

Iowa was simply dominated by Wisconsin.

The Hawkeye offense came out slower than a spelling bee full of stutterers, punting on each of its six possessions in the first 30 minutes. Iowa would have punted seven times, but was saved by the first half bell after running three unsuccessful plays as time expired.

It was almost impressive how bad Iowa’s offense was in the second half, somehow not even managing to reach the miniscule bar set in the first two quarters. The Hawkeyes’ drives ended with a punt, a fumble returned for a Wisconsin touchdown, another punt, an interception, another fumble, one more punt, and a “let’s get this game over with” run out of the clock.

It’s just the third time all year that a Division 1 team has had 66 or less total yards in a game. The performance was even more perplexing because of the wave of the momentum Iowa was riding coming into the contest. How can consecutive weeks be on such opposite ends of the spectrum?

Iowa’s run attack rushed 26 times for 25 yards. Nate Stanley threw 24 times for 41 yards. Those numbers are abysmal.

Somebody must have super-glued the ball into Stanley’s hands the way he was holding on to it for so long. It was by far his worst game to date, and it’s too bad it came in his home state. Maybe nerves played a role, but the Wisconsin defense deserves the lion’s share of the credit.

Stanley wasn’t helped by his receivers, who actually could’ve used somebody super-gluing their gloves. Ihmir Smith-Marsette had a couple drops, and so did Nick Easley. After break-out games against Ohio State, TJ Hockenson was the only tight end to catch a pass, and his lone reception went for just six yards.

Matt VandeBerg, who took over the punt return duties from Josh Jackson, cost Iowa big time on a few occasions because of his misjudgment of the ball.

It was an all-around offensive failure.

The single bright spot to come out of Wisconsin was the play of Josh Jackson. After picking JT Barrett three times, Jackson intercepted Alex Hornibrook twice and returned both for touchdowns. His Ohio State performance earned Jackson the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week award, and he might have defended his title this week.

Jackson’s interception returns totaled 95 yards and resulted in 14 points. Iowa’s offense had 66 yards and zero points. Throw in a forced fumble, a pass defended, and three tackles, and Jackson’s hat is again in the ring for national honors.

Even with this ugly loss, Iowa still sits at 6-4 with two winnable games left—home against Purdue and at Nebraska. The Hawkeyes were bowled over by Wisconsin, but will be going bowling later this year.

Final Game Stats Below