Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Three Questions: Wisconsin vs. Iowa

Hawkeyes serve as biggest test for UW since season-opener
Joey Reuteman

After posting a 3-1 record in non-conference play, the Wisconsin football team opens Big Ten play against Iowa in a battle for the Heartland Trophy. Here are three questions to consider for Saturday’s conference opener:

How will the UW running game stack up against their first Big Ten opponent?

Redshirt freshman tailback Taiwan Deal has steadily improved over the last three games for the Badgers, gaining a total of 277 yards over that time.

Now, seeing as though he only managed six carries for 14 yards against Alabama in week one, Saturday’s matchup against Iowa will be Deal’s first real challenge of the season at the head of Wisconsin’s rushing attack.


Deal has given no reason to believe he can’t be that lead back, as he is coming off a game where he rushed the ball 26 times for 148 yards and two touchdowns. He out-carried fellow tailback redshirt junior Dare Ogunbowale in that game 26-15 and it appears that Deal’s number of touches will only increase moving forward.

Iowa boasts one of the best rushing defenses in the country, giving up just 84 yards per game after four contests. Saturday will be a true test to see if Deal and Ogunbowale will be able to continue to shoulder the rushing game load in the absence of junior Corey Clement.

Football Notebook: Deal, UW running game prepared for first Big Ten battle of season

Can Stave spread the wealth?

As of late, fifth-year senior quarterback Joel Stave has started to get tunnel vision once again with fifth-year senior receiver Alex Erickson. In the last two games, of the 27 passes Stave has completed, Erickson has been on the receiving end of 12 of those, while the next highest number of receptions is Austin Traylor’s four.

This may be circumstantial, as Erickson has been doing an effective job lately of gaining separation from opposing defensive backs and getting open, but Wisconsin’s passing game cannot be a one-man show.

Iowa’s pass defense has not been as strong as their run defense, so look for Stave to spread the targets to guys like junior Rob Wheelwright and Traylor more often in order to be more productive through the air, especially if the Hawkeyes are able to find success in slowing UW’s running game.

How many points with the Wisconsin defense concede?

Since giving up 35 points to Alabama’s offense in week one, the Badgers’ defensive unit has given up a total of just three points over the past three weeks, as they posted shutouts against both Miami (Ohio) and Hawaii.

Now, Iowa brings a scoring offense to Camp Randall that ranks second in the Big Ten at 37.8 points per game. They also lead the conference with 20 touchdowns this season.

Football: Defense aware of last season’s second half against Iowa

And while it doesn’t seem reasonable for Iowa to replicate those kinds of numbers against Wisconsin’s stout defense, the Hawkeyes will be a good test for Stave and the Badgers after they’ve faced lesser offenses the past three weeks.

The UW defense starts and ends with their linebacking core, which rivals that of any other core in the Big Ten, as they have accounted for 51 solo tackles between the four of them. The physical play Iowa brings to the table will surely be a much tougher matchup for the linebackers and the entire Wisconsin defense, and it remains to be seen whether or not they will be able to hold up for a full 60 minutes.

Football: Badgers veterans ready for physical game against Iowa

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