LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 30: Quarterback Graham Mertz #5 of the Wisconsin Badgers looks on during a time out against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl at Allegiant Stadium on December 30, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Badgers defeated the Sun Devils 20-13. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Wisconsin Badgers vs. Iowa Hawkeyes game recap: Everything we know

Wisconsin Badgers vs. Iowa Hawkeyes game recap: Everything we know

The Wisconsin Badgers started the day on a high note, receiving the gift they needed from the football gods when the Purdue Boilermakers knocked off Illinois – opening the door to a wild finish in the Big Ten West.

However, things turned for the worst once UW took the field.

Interim head coach Jim Leonhard and the Wisconsin Badgers (5-5, 3-4 Big Ten) kicked off trophy season by suffering a devastating 24-10 road loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday afternoon, all but ending their chances of winning a Big Ten West title.

I’m not going to mince words here; the Badger’s defense came to play, allowing only 146 total yards of offense (94 passing, 52 rushing) on 2.1 yards per play and sacked the quarterback six times – but that’s where the positives end.

Wisconsin’s offense and special teams units were downright terrible. In fact, those units were essentially responsible for 21 of Iowa’s 24 points. The Hawkeyes’ scoring drives consisted of 17 yards, a pick-six, and 18 yards.

Bobby Engram’s offense couldn’t do anything. Graham Mertz couldn’t hit the broad side of the barn, I’m still pondering what Braleon Allen was doing out there, and the offensive line was downright embarrassed in the trenches.

Here’s a recap of Wisconsin’s road loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes…

Key to the game: Wisconsin Badgers offensive failures

I’ll keep it short and sweet – the offense didn’t do anything well, not one thing. UW lost the turnover battle and couldn’t move the sticks. No matter how good the defense plays, it’s irrelevant when the end product looks like this.

It was over when…

With 1:03 remaining in the third quarter, Wisconsin punter Andy Vujnovich punted it 46 yards to Cooper DeJean, who wound up returning the ball to the Wisconsin 18-yard line. This return set up the Hawkeyes for an easy touchdown drive capped off by a Spencer Petras goalline touchdown that would ultimately be the nail in the coffin.

Standout performers

OLB Nick Herbig: The Big Ten’s leader in sacks finished the day with eight tackles, three sacks, and a forced fumble. He’s downright nasty coming off the edge.

Wisconsin’s inside linebackers: Maema Njongmeta and Jordan Turner were game wreckers, combining for 19 tackles, registering two sacks, and playing strong up the middle all day long – making Iowa’s life increasingly difficult in the run game.

What’s next

The Wisconsin Badgers (5-5) hit the road next weekend, playing Mickey Joseph and the Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-7) at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, November 19.

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