Oct 15, 2022; East Lansing, Michigan, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Braelon Allen (0) reaches for the goal line against the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin Football: What to Expect vs. Iowa in Week 11

Wisconsin Football: What to Expect vs. Iowa in Week 11

The Wisconsin Badgers (5-4, 3-3 Big Ten) head down to face the Iowa Hawkeyes (5-4, 3-3 Big Ten) for a crucial Big Ten Showdown.  Both teams are tied for second in the conference and coming off conference wins.  The Badgers are 8-2 in their last ten matchups vs. Iowa, but Iowa is a much better team than they have had in the past. Wisconsin football looks for their third win in a row and a closer chance at a bowl game.

Here is what to expect…


Offensively

The Wisconsin Badgers have been looking better the past few weeks, seemingly finding an identity on offense.  The offensive line has been playing much better.  The run game has been dominant on the ground with Braelon Allen and Isaac Guerendo.  This offense has been sharp, with Mertz and the passing game getting better.

Iowa is stout against the rush, only giving up a mere 2.6 yards per carry and 92.8 yards a game.  They are also first in the Big Ten against the pass, giving up 5.1 yards per catch.  Allowing an average of 14 points per game will be a testament to the Badger’s offense and how good it is.  They can also get after the quarterback with 24 sacks on the season.

The Badger’s game plan must start by dominating the line of scrimmage and getting the run game going.  This Iowa team is not the team you want to drop back all game and try to pass against.  I expect more of the sprint-out passes for Mertz and play action.  Mertz will have to excel out of the pocket and make smart decisions against this defense.  I expect this game to be a grinder offensively, and the Badgers must be very patient.

Defensively

The Wisconsin Badger’s defense has been rolling as of late.  The addition of Hunter Woehler last week was huge.  The Badger’s defense has a lot of playmakers on that side of the ball.  Last week Nick Herbig led the Badger’s defense with two sacks on a day where the team had five.  Jim Leonhard has seemed to find a groove with this defense, and they will need that momentum to carry over for this game.

Iowa offensively struggles to move the ball and score.  They average 17 points a game and are bottom of the conference in yards per pass and rush.  They are a disciplined team that does not turn the ball over much or have a lot of penalties.

Iowa is led by their two young running backs, Kaleb Johnson and sophomore Leshon Wiliams.  The two have combined for 865 yards on 181 attempts this year.  Iowa would prefer to keep the ball on the ground while trying to eat up time.  Senior quarterback Spencer Petras hasn’t had the best season, with 1401 yards followed by five touchdowns and five interceptions.  Iowa Hawkeyes are an old-school-type team that wants to run the ball and take care of it.

Badger’s focal point on defense has to be stopping the run.  If the Badgers can get them in 3rd and longs and get them passing the ball, Iowa will struggle.  It will be interesting to keep an eye on how Leonhard finds different ways to get our safeties on the field simultaneously.  Defensive tackle Keeanu Benton will be a name to keep an eye on this one as Iowa tries to run between the tackles.  Expect the defense to be ready for a big game and shut this Hawkeyes offense down.

Conclusion

This is going to be a classic Big Ten football game.  There will be no shortage of defense on Saturday between these two teams.  The Badgers will have to be disciplined and patient against the Hawkeyes.  Taking care of the ball has to be the focus for the Badgers.  I expect this Badgers defense to dominate all game.  If the Badgers play how they have been playing and be disciplined, they will come out victorious Saturday.


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