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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Iowa intercepts Big Ten title

[media-credit name=’Derek Montgomery’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′]fballmain_dm_400[/media-credit]IOWA CITY, Iowa — With Big Ten associate commissioner Wayne Baskerville on hand to award the winner a share of the conference title, and a Rose Bowl berth on the line for Wisconsin after Michigan’s loss to Ohio State, the Badgers took the field Saturday with their season hanging in the balance.

But Wisconsin came up short, falling 30-7 to Iowa (9-2, 7-1), and the Badgers’ Rose Bowl dreams wilted at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.

With the win, the Hawkeyes claim their second conference title in three years and the first installment of the Heartland Trophy, while the Badgers (9-2, 6-2) slip to third in the final Big Ten standings.


“I’m disappointed that we didn’t play any better with this much on the line,” head coach Barry Alvarez said.

With fullback Matt Bernstein starting at tailback for star Anthony Davis, who was sidelined with the nagging quadriceps injury that has plagued him since the Purdue game and kept him out of practice for much of the week, the Badgers managed just 186 yards of total offense and only 41 yards on the ground.

“His leg was very weak,” Alvarez said of Davis’ injury. “He had some light work on Thursday, light work on Friday, but he still couldn’t protect himself. We had made up our mind on Thursday we were probably going to give the start to Bernie.”

At the start, the momentum heavily favored the Badgers. After receiving news of Michigan’s loss minutes before kickoff, the Badgers charged out of the gates in the first quarter. Linebacker Dontez Sanders dropped tailback Sam Brownlee for a loss on the first play from scrimmage. Three plays later safety Jim Leonhard picked off an errant pass from quarterback Drew Tate and the Badgers took over on the Iowa 32-yard line.

The Badgers failed to capitalize, moving the ball just two yards on a short run from fullback Matt Bernstein to set up a 47-yard field goal attempt for senior Mike Allen. Allen never got a chance to attempt the kick, as holder Ken DeBauche bobbled the snap and was forced to scramble and throw the ball away.

“I just took my eye off the ball,” DeBauche said. “I tried to look down at the spot before I caught the ball, and it ended up going right through my hands.”

Iowa promptly gave the ball right back after the field goal miscue, as Leonhard came up with another interception. Leonhard’s second pick inside the opening five minutes tied him for first on the Wisconsin career interceptions list (21) and gave the Badgers another shot inside the Hawkeyes’ 40-yard line.

Wisconsin took over on the 35 and again failed to take advantage. After a short run from Bernstein, Iowa defensive end Matt Roth sacked quarterback John Stocco for a loss of eight yards. With the sack, Roth momentarily moved past Wisconsin’s Erasmus James to claim sole possession of the Big Ten lead in sacks (8), though James would also record his eighth sack later in the game. Stocco connected with wide-out Brandon Williams for six yards to set up a long field goal attempt for Allen, but the 51-yard kick missed wide right, and the Badgers squandered another scoring opportunity.

“In a game like this on the road in this stadium against that defense, you need to be able to capitalize,” offensive coordinator Brian White said. “We had two straight possessions early in the football game, and we didn’t do anything with them.”

This time, the Hawkeyes took advantage. Four plays into the drive, Tate hooked up with Scott Chandler on a 17-yard pass down the sideline to put the Hawkeyes on the Wisconsin 12-yard line. After a six-yard run from Marques Simmons, Tate found wide-out Clinton Solomon, who slipped past cornerback Brett Bell into the end zone, to give Iowa a 7-0 lead with 4:22 to go in the first quarter.

The defenses traded stops over the next four possessions, with the Badgers regaining the momentum with two sacks in three plays to force a punt from Iowa’s David Bradley. Leonhard returned Bradley’s punt 29 yards to the Iowa 43-yard line, and the Wisconsin offense briefly came alive.

Facing a third-and-eight from the 27, Stocco took off on a seven-yard scramble and was brought down just short of the first-down. Head coach Barry Alvarez opted to go for it on fourth down, and Bernstein delivered an eight-yard run to move to the Iowa 12-yard line. A seven-yard reception from Bernstein put the Badgers inside the five, and tailback Booker Stanley scored two plays later to tie the game at seven with 1:51 remaining in the first half.

Iowa answered just three plays later, as Tate eluded defensive end Jamal Cooper and launched a 51-yard touchdown pass to Solomon to send the Hawkeyes into the locker room with a 14-7 halftime lead.

“We thought we had them corralled up, and they got behind us on a little vertical route there in the middle of the field,” defensive coordinator Bret Bielema said of the touchdown. “That was a big tear there at the end of the half.”

The Hawkeyes’ momentum carried into the second half, as the vaunted Iowa defense forced a quick three-and-out on the Badgers’ first offensive series. The Badgers didn’t fare any better on their next possession when Stocco tossed up an interception and Iowa cornerback Jovon Johnson ran it back to the UW 41.

Wisconsin regained possession four plays later, when Bell intercepted a deep pass from Tate on the UW 2-yard line. However, the Badgers promptly turned the ball over again, as free safety Sean Considine intercepted a pass intended for Owen Daniels at the UW 34.

The Hawkeyes capitalized on Stocco’s second miscue, taking advantage of the short field with a six-play, 32-yard scoring drive. A pair of receptions from Hinkel moved the Hawkeyes into the red zone, and a pass interference call on cornerback Scott Starks set up a first-and-goal opportunity from the UW six-yard line. After scrambling for a loss of seven yards on second down, Tate found Chandler for a 12-yard touchdown to give Iowa a commanding 21-7 lead with 3:54 to play in the third quarter.

Stocco’s struggles continued on the Badgers’ next drive, as the embattled quarterback ended a third consecutive possession with a turnover. On the first play of the drive, Stocco left the pocket on a scramble and was hit hard by Iowa’s Derreck Robinson. Robinson’s shot knocked the ball loose, and defensive tackle Tyler Luebke recovered the fumble on the Wisconsin 21-yard line.

Facing another short field, the UW defense kept the Hawkeyes out of the end zone thanks to a sack from Anttaj Hawthorne, but Iowa tacked on a 31-yard field goal from Kyle Schlicher to extend their lead to 24-7 with 1:37 to play in the third quarter.

On the final drive of the quarter, the Badgers were faced with a fourth-and-one from their own 29-yard line. Alvarez opted to go for it, and Stanley was stonewalled by Robinson and linebacker Chad Greenway at the line of scrimmage.

Iowa took over on the UW 29 after the turnover on downs and moved inside the red zone on a second-down strike from Tate to Matt Melloy. Tate picked up a fourth down conversion on a QB sneak to set up a first-and-goal from the UW seven-yard line. From there, the drive stalled, and Schlicher knocked in a 21-yard field goal to push the lead to 27-7 with 10:59 remaining in the fourth quarter.

On the Badgers’ next possession, Stocco turned the ball over for the fourth time. Greenway knocked the ball loose on a sack, and Jonathan Babineaux scooped it up and rumbled 39 yards to the Wisconsin 25, setting up another Schlicher field goal that extended the Iowa lead to 30-7 and put the final nail in the UW coffin.

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