Iowa Football

Game Report: Iowa Hawkeyes 28, Wisconsin Badgers 7

IOWA CITY — A closer look at No. 16 Iowa’s 28-7 win over Wisconsin on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.

Turning point

It was a bomb, and it blew up the Badgers.

Up 14-7 with a third-and-1 at the Wisconsin 47, Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras dropped back and let it rip. He hadn’t had a great day to that point, completing 13 of 23 passes. But this one was right in the chest of wide-open wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette.

Smith-Marsette caught the ball at the 13 and knew he was home free. So before he reached the goal line, he did a flashy flip forward into the end zone, and Iowa had a two-touchdown lead with 1:23 left in the third quarter.

A footnote, no pun intended: Smith-Marsette didn’t stick the landing and hurt his left ankle. He was taken to the locker room, and his seven-catch, 140-yard, two-touchdown game was over. He returned to the sideline a little later with his a walking boot on his left leg.

But damage of a different sort had been done to Wisconsin, the kind it didn’t overcome.



You can’t blame Iowa punter Tory Taylor for not knowing every rule of American football. The Aussie has only lived in the U.S. for the last several months and had never attended an American football game until the first one he played in, in October.


With his team ahead 21-7 and facing fourth down at its 21 with a little over six minutes left, Taylor dropped the snap. He instinctively kicked the ball while it was on the ground, and did an amazing ad-lib, booting it to the Iowa 45. But he was penalized for illegal kicking. What that meant was Wisconsin took over on downs, and at the Iowa 5.


But three plays later, Hawkeye linebacker Jack Campbell picked off a pass in the end zone to keep the lead at two touchdowns.

A play later, the lead was three TDs when Tyler Goodson ran 80 yards for a score.


The first TD pass from Petras to Smith-Marsette gave Iowa a 14-0 lead that felt pretty formidable. Especially when the Hawkeyes proceeded to force a three-and-out.

Wisconsin punted on fourth-and-inches from its 34, a decision that was validated when Iowa’s Charlie Jones tried to catch the punt on a bounce and was sandwiched by the Badgers’ Travian Blaylock and Tyler Mais. Long snapper Adam Bay recovered the fumble at the Iowa 25, and Wisconsin scored three plays later for a 14-7 game.


Wisconsin had a fourth-and-1 at the Iowa 31 late in the second quarter, the Badgers’ best scoring opportunity of the half. Running back Garrett Groshek took the snap out of the wildcat formation. He would’ve passed the ball, but Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell flew through his gap and smothered Groshek for a 6-yard loss.


Iowa then went from its 37 to the Wisconsin 27, and Keith Duncan’s 45-yard field goal try banked off the right upright and through for a field goal that gave his team a 6-0 lead with one second left in the half. On the previous play, the Hawkeyes executed a 20-yard screen pass to Goodson that Goodson wisely halted by downing himself to leave a few seconds on the clock.

The first break of the game was a gimme to Iowa. Wisconsin freshman wide receiver Chimere Dike was in motion and accidentally loosened the ball from quarterback Graham Mertz as he was about to hand off to running back Nakia Watson.

Iowa linebacker Nick Niemann pounced on the ball at the Badgers 32. Five plays later, the Hawkeyes had a 30-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

You don’t see this in major-college football too often: There were five straight three-and-outs in the first quarter of this game, three by the Badgers. Wisconsin had just 24 yards in the quarter. Jonathan Taylor, now an Indianapolis Colts rookie running back, used to fall forward for more than that in games against Iowa (and everyone else).

It was mid-December. There was snow on the most of the 69,250 seats in Kinnick Stadium. Dark skies, snow in the stands and nearby trees, and a Dec. 12 game with no championship implications of any kind. This was unusual.

Oh, there will be another game next week.


Which sets up another unusual situation. What if Iowa held its Senior Day Saturday (it did) and then plays one more home game Friday or Saturday (it could)?

By the numbers

0 — None of the six teams Iowa has defeated currently has a winning record.

3 — It was the third time Iowa shut out an opponent in the first half, and first time it had done so to Wisconsin since 1998.

4 — This ended the Badgers’ four-game winning streak over the Hawkeyes.

8 — The victory assured the Hawkeyes of their eighth-straight winning season.

13 — There were 13 punts in the first half, seven by Iowa.

22 — Iowa recognized 22 seniors before the game.

56 — The Badgers had 56 rushing yards. They rushed for 300 in their 24-22 win over Iowa in Madison last year.

Social summaries

From Twitter

“ISM flips the script!” — @BrentBlank1

“Second-half flurry plows Badgers out of Kinnick.” — @bryangoettel

“The Goodson Gambit is Iowa’s Endgame.” — @TorchLadyTeach

“Finally.” — @garydolphinsays

Injury report

Wisconsin made the news before the game when it announced its top rusher, freshman, Jalen Berger, would miss the game. He had 267 yards over his four previous games. Also out were two starting wide receivers, Kendric Pryor and Danny Davis. The latter had three touchdowns against Iowa over their two previous meetings.


We told you about Smith-Marsette. Iowa running back Ivory Kelly-Martin missed the game with an injury. He has 13 carries this season in spot duty.

Iowa’s Mark Kallenberger started at offensive right tackle after missing the last two games.

Next game

Iowa presumably will play someone next Friday or Saturday, somewhere. It could be No. 12 Indiana (6-1). It could be Michigan (2-4). It could be someone else. When we know, you’ll know, so check frequently.

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