Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wisconsin/Iowa Primer


Iowa (2-1) at Wisconsin (3-0) 8:00 PM GamePlan
Why to Watch: Will the real Wisconsin please stand up? Considered by many to be a top five team at the start of the year, a shaky performance in a 20-13 win over UNLV started to cause a little national skepticism, and then an awful defensive first half against Citadel, in a 45-31 win, has put the team on notice that it needs to start showing something more to earn the lofty status. If this really is a team worthy of winning the Big Ten title, going to the BCS, and possibly making a sleeper run at a national title shot, this is a game it has to win in a walk. Iowa is coming off a 15-13 gaffe to a horrible Iowa State team, and now needs a big redemption game to show that the rivalry loss was a fluke. This has been an unpredictably bizarre series over the last few years, with Iowa winning four of the last five meetings. Wisconsin won last year in Iowa City despite not having starting QB John Stocco. The Hawkeyes won in Madison in 2005, ruining Barry Alvarez's final home game, and ruined UW's chance to go to the Rose Bowl in 2004 with a 30-7 win.
Why Iowa Might Win: The defense has been playing at another level, allowing six field goals and no touchdowns. The run defense has been a brick wall over the first three games, thanks to a defensive line that's destroying offensive lines with a combination of speed and quickness at all four spots. The Wisconsin offensive line isn't great against athletic defensive fronts, and it'll have a nightmare of a time keeping QB Tyler Donovan clean. Iowa will stuff more than its share of drives with a sack or a big tackle for loss.
Why Wisconsin Might Win: Wisconsin's running game is just a wee step up in production from what Iowa has faced so far. You and three friends could stop the running games of Northern Illinois, Syracuse and Iowa State. If the Badgers get up by any appreciable lead, it's over. Iowa's offensive line is young, inconsistent, and needs a lot of time. QB Jake Chrstensen is a good one, but he's not given much time to breathe and doesn't have any receiving weapons to work with.
Who to Watch: It'll be this simple: Who'll win the battle between the UW offensive line and the Iowa defensive line. Hawkeye DE Ken Iwebama has returned to his preinjury form, terrorizing backfield as one of the Big Ten's premier pass rushers. Bryan Mattison might be the league's quickest tackle, and he's fantastic at blowing up running plays before they hit the line. Wisconsin will try to man up and pound the ball with P.J. Hill, but it'll also try to get Donovan on the move on the outside. Donovan filled in last year for Stocco, and threw for 228 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 61 yards, in Iowa City. He has to be on early with his receivers, or the Hawkeyes will bring the house to stop Hill.
What Will Happen: Wisconsin's defense will finally show up and stuff the Iowa offense, but Hill and the running game aren't going to rumble until late. This game is on Donovan, and while he'll take five sacks, he'll also beat the Iowa secondary for two touchdown passes. UW TE Travis Beckum will have a huge day.
CFN Prediction: Wisconsin 24 ... Iowa 16 ... Line: Wisconsin -7.5
Must See Rating: (5 Curb Your Enthusiasm - 1 Kid Nation) ... 3.5


Anonymous said...

Badgers should win this one. I'm going with 24-13. A night game at the Camp = Many drunken Wisconsinites...

Train said...

The guy at CFN has it right..this game will be won or lost by the offensive line wearing the red pants. If GC stays invisable UW picks up the W.

Educator-To-Be said...

Wisconsin 17
Iowa 13

Just a prediction.