Iowa defensive back Josh Jackson breaks up a pass attempt in the end zone during Iowa's game against Penn State at Kinnick Stadium on Sept. 23, 2017. Penn State defeated Iowa 21-19 on a last second touchdown pass. (Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan)

Defense not enough to put out the Wisconsin fire

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Iowa’s defense kept things competitive for most of the game, but the offense was nowhere to be found.

By Courtney Baumann | courtney-baumann@uiowa.edu

 

MADISON, Wis. — Iowa’s defense did everything it possibly could to keep Wisconsin at bay, but it got absolutely no help from the offense as the Hawkeyes lost to the Badgers, 38-14, on Nov. 11.

Iowa, which put up only 66 yards of offense — the first time the team has not hit the century mark since the turn of the century — did not score any points offensively in Camp Randall.

Hawkeye D-back Josh Jackson scored both Iowa touchdowns on two Pick-6 plays to raise his interception total to 7.

“What he’s done the last two weeks, just statistically, I don’t know how you could do better than that. It’s almost video-game numbers,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “To me, it’s just the result of hard work. He’s done some really good things over the years and over the months. But still, he’s playing really well. To say a guy is going to do that kind of stuff, that’s pretty unusual.”

Because the offense could not get anything going, the defense spent a whole lot of time lined up against the Wisconsin offense. The Badgers completely controlled the time of possession, and it seemed to have taken a toll on the Iowa defense.

On the field for 38:27, the defense began to give way in the fourth quarter, as Wisconsin put up 14 points in final 11:05 of the game.

 

“It’s our motto, we have to put the fire out and do our best job to after they get the momentum, stop it,” Josey Jewell said. “I think we need to work on that, not putting out the fire, and be able just come in next week, and stay focused on what we need to do individually.”

Jewell led the charge up front for Iowa, notching 12 tackles, 7 solo. His and Jackson’s performances were not enough to keep the Badger offensive away for long, though.

Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor carried the ball 29 times for 157 yards en route to the team’s 382-yard performance.

“Wisconsin has an excellent football team, certainly,” Ferentz said. “The running back, it’s the first time we’ve seen him, he’s a really good player, really strong player.”

Through the first half, Iowa was still in the game. Down by just 10 points heading into the half, the Hawkeyes controlled the turnover game. Iowa had 2 interceptions — Jackson’s first Pick-6, and Jake Gervase nabbed one near the goal line to stave off a Wisconsin scoring threat. Jackson also forced a fumble from Taylor, to bring Wisconsin’s turnover total to 3 before the teams hit the locker room.

Jackson’s second interception taken to the house brought Iowa within reaching distance. It was a 3-point game before Iowa, which had not turned over the ball a single time up to that point, gave up 2 fumbles and an interception during the next four drives.

Unfortunately for Iowa, the Nate Stanley interception came in the only drive that the team had any momentum whatsoever. The Hawkeyes notched 2 first downs — doubling what they had during the first 40 minutes of play — and racked up 33 yards before Stanley dropped one into the arms of T.J. Edwards.

The game in Madison was a stark contrast to last week, when the Hawkeyes stomped Ohio State at home, and the emotions of each game were two separate ends of the spectrum.

The trip back to Iowa City will likely seem longer than it actually is, but as always, the team plans on flushing the game after 24 hours.

“You can never be too high or too low. You can’t ride an emotional roller coaster. Good teams are going to be up and down. So we’re just going to have to flush this,” Ben Niemann said. “We realize we’re a capable football team and … we just have to finish the rest of the games up that way.”

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