The No. 13 Badgers (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) will match up with the No. 18 (6-2, 3-2) Iowa Hawkeyes in a jurassic-esque battle at Camp Randall between the dinosaurs of the Big Ten Conference.
Losing to The Ohio State University, No. 1 in the newly released College Football Playoff rankings, prior to their bye week eliminated any of Wisconsin’s last hopes of clinching a spot in the College Football Playoff. Hope is not all lost for the Badgers, however. Wisconsin’s road toward clinching the Big Ten West and earning a spot in the Big Ten Championship continues onward.
On the other hand, the Iowa Hawkeyes are looking to extend their two-game winning streak after defeating unranked Big Ten teams Northwestern and Purdue. The Hawkeyes remain winless against ranked opponents as they fell to Michigan and Penn State earlier in the season. But Iowa’s defense is still turning heads and begs the question if Wisconsin’s offense, specifically Jonathan Taylor, can still break free.
Iowa’s defense has only given up 10.1 points per game, the lowest career average for head coach Kirk Ferentz. The nine touchdowns that the Hawkeyes have allowed up to this point in the season is good for the No. 2 spot in the nation in that category. Only Ohio State and Penn State have allowed fewer with six total.
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Besides the Ohio State University game, the Wisconsin offense has mostly been unstoppable. Junior quarterback Jack Coan ranks third nationally in pass completions with a rate of 74.5% so far this season. Star running back Jonathan Taylor also continues to average 126.1 rushing yards per game.
Looking at the bigger picture, there are a plethora of similarities between these two teams. Wisconsin recruits scattered throughout the roster, old-style coaching and a typical Midwestern run-the-ball mentality are all present. These facts could be a cause for concern for the Badgers as they typically are the ones playing a unique style of offense in today’s college football landscape.
The reality is that no game is an easy win and Wisconsin shouldn’t treat any game that way. The Badgers painfully learned that lesson after a devastating loss by one point in the final seconds to unranked Illinois.
With the Badgers being back home in Camp Randall, they will surely be tough to beat. The odds are in favor of Wisconsin — that is, if they can hold up against Iowa’s defense. It couldn’t be more critical for Wisconsin to win this weekend so that they can continue to progress on the journey to the Big Ten Championship. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. Saturday and this game will not be one to miss.