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Wisconsin Football Loses to Iowa: Here’s What Stood Out

Wisconsin football lost in embarrassing fashion Iowa; here’s what stood out.



Wisconsin football; Badgers lose to Iowa
Oct 14, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes running back Kaleb Johnson (2) is tackled by Wisconsin Badgers cornerback Ricardo Hallman (2) and safety Hunter Wohler (24) during the first quarter at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Luke Fickell and the University of Wisconsin football team (4-2, 2-1 B1G) suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes, with the final score of 15-6 at Camp Randall Stadium.

Here are a few things that stood out from the Wisconsin Badgers week seven loss to Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes. 

Wisconsin Football Loses QB Tanner Mordecai to Injury

In the worst-case scenario imaginable, the Wisconsin football team lost sixth-year quarterback Tanner Mordecai to injury during the 2nd quarter against the Iowa Hawkeyes. 

Yards were tough to come by in this contest, and Braedyn Locke got dealt a tough hand. The redshirt freshman completed 15-of-30 pass attempts for 122 yards, an interception, and two fumbles. 

For the Badgers, their inability to convert on third down was the story of the day, considering they finished 2-of-17.

How long Mordecai is out for is anyone’s guess, but the Wisconsin Badgers offense might have to grow up in a hurry if that absence spans more than one week. 

The Run Defense Was a Problem 

One week after their best defensive showing of the season, the Wisconsin football program took major steps back as a run defense. 

On the day, Iowa’s offense totaled 48 carries for 200 yards, led by 174 yards from starting tailback Leshon Williams. His 84-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter ended up being the nail in the coffin for the Badgers.

Senior defensive end Rodas Johnson made a mistake in run defense that forced Jason Maitre out of position; he missed the tackle, and the Illinois native essentially called game. 

The Wisconsin football defense held the Hawkeyes to just 237 yards on the day but couldn’t shut down Iowa’s running game even though they made them one-dimensional

Other Wisconsin Badgers Musings 

Outside linebacker C.J. Goetz had a really impactful game. The Badgers sixth-year pass-rusher finished with five tackles, 2.5 TFLs, and a pass deflection. Goetz had his second straight productive game.

Will Pauling had another quality showing as the Wisconsin football slot wideout. The Cincinnati transfer had 12 targets for eight catches and 60 yards. He’s clearly a focal point to build around moving forward.

Braelon Allen was rock solid against Iowa, finishing with 18 carries for 87 yards. Nothing too good or too bad to take away from this one.


The Wisconsin football secondary held old friend Deacon Hill to 37 yards passing…and lost. That was gross.
Luke Fickell and this Wisconsin Badgers team are going to show us what they’re made of going into the Illinois contest next week.


Nathaniel Vakos is an NFL kicker. That’s all.

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Dillon Graff is a Substack newsletter best-selling author, publisher of AllBadgers, and the owner of, your go-to source for in-depth coverage of the Wisconsin Badgers. His work has been featured in top media publications like USA Today's BadgersWire, Athlon Sports, Bleacher Report, Verbal Commits, Bucky's 5th Quarter, and FanSided.