Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley attempts to avoid the blitz during Iowa's game against Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. The badgers defeated the Hawkeyes 38-14. (Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan)

Spotting Iowa football’s signature upset in 2018

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It seems as though each season, Hawkeye football has a signature upset. Looking ahead at the 2018 schedule, which marquee opponent will fall in similar fashion?

By Anna Kayser and Jordan Zuniga

Wisconsin

2016: Michigan. 2017: Ohio State. 2018: Wisconsin.

I’m superstitious, and as I write this, I’m silently cursing myself because now the game is probably jinxed. I’m sorry.

Anyway, in 2017, Wisconsin and Iowa met in Camp Randall, with the Badgers coming out on top, 38-14. However, Kinnick Stadium is famous for turning up the heat on its opponents and giving Iowa a “12th man” (sorry, Seahawks).

The game in 2017 was an almost surefire loss in the eyes of Hawkeye fans, with Camp Randall having the same effect on the Badgers as Kinnick does on the Hawkeyes. So, on its home turf, there’s no reason that Iowa can’t start off Big Ten competition with a bang.

Wisconsin was unbeatable in 2017 prior to the Big Ten Championship Game. As seen from Iowa in 2016, coming off an undefeated regular season in 2015, a season like that is hard to repeat the following year.

The Badger defense lost seven starters in the offseason along with an All-American tight end, which gives Iowa a good opening to sneak a win. If the Hawkeye offense can step up, Iowa can keep pace with Wisconsin for a chance to pull ahead late in the game.

Iowa has proven its ability to step up to the level of its opponents, especially in 2017 against Penn State and Ohio State. Despite suffering a loss to Penn State, the intense and competitive nature of both games demonstrated that the Hawkeyes never say quit and have the ability to rise to the occasion on a wave of Black and Gold.

See you soon, Wisconsin.

​— Anna Kayser

Penn State

Last season, Iowa went toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in college football, Penn State.

In last year’s matchup, the Iowa faithful were pressing forward in the stands, thinking that Kinnick’s magic was at work again, and for the second-straight year, Iowa would upset a top-10 team in prime time.

Then-Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley completed a 7-yard touchdown pass as time expired to give Penn State a thrilling last-second win. To make matters worse, McSorley rubbed the touchdown in the face of the Iowa players and the fans, which surely left a bitter taste in the mouths of both.

The Hawkeye will remember that as they swarm into Happy Valley this fall. This season, Iowa will avenge their heartbreaking loss to Penn State with a big upset victory on the road.

This time, Penn State will be without star running back Saquon Barkley, who burned the Hawkeyes for 214 rushing yards while also leading the Nittany Lions in receiving yards (94). Without him to worry about, Iowa should be able to better handle Penn State’s senior quarterback McSorley.

Another big gain for Iowa is their quarterback will have a whole year’s experience under his belt. Last season’s meeting between the two was Nate Stanley’s first-ever Big Ten game, so that he kept Iowa in the game against an opponent such as Penn State is a miracle.

He put up a respectable 191 yards with 2 touchdowns and no picks, numbers that should only improve in this season’s meeting.

Season No. 2 for Stanley, combined with a Barkley-less Penn State, will result in the following: Iowa will shock the nation in Happy Valley on Oct. 27.

— Jordan Zuniga

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