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Wisconsin Football Stumbles Against Iowa: Luke Fickell to Blame

Wisconsin football dropped the ball on Saturday against Iowa. This one’s on Luke Fickell, in my eyes.



Wisconsin football head coach Luke Fickell vs. Iowa
Oct 14, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell reacts during the third quarter against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

In a frustrating turn of events this past weekend, Luke Fickell and the Wisconsin football team fell short against the Iowa Hawkeyes, jeopardizing their Big Ten Championship aspirations in a 15-6 loss at Camp Randall Stadium

The game turned into a battle for field position. Iowa’s special teams, specifically Tory Taylor, confined the Badgers offense within their own territory for most of the afternoon, hindering Wisconsin’s ability to execute and build any sustainable momentum.

Despite this, the Badgers also encountered several missed opportunities and seemed like a lost puppy, sparking questions about why Wisconsin football looked so underprepared for the Big Ten West showdown. 

Wisconsin Football Underestimated Iowa’s Defense

During his press conference, Head Coach Luke Fickell acknowledged the challenges posed by the transition to Phil Longo’s offense, particularly regarding personnel. However, he also emphasized respecting Iowa’s defense in their preparations.

“I think maybe they didn’t recognize how stout this defense really was, how much they can limit you to a lot of things that you do,” Fickell said. 

Expressing his disappointment in the 15-6 loss, Fickell emphasized that the Badgers fell short in every aspect of the game. They were outmuscled and outperformed in various areas.

Taking responsibility for the loss, Fickell also acknowledged that he might not have prepared his team adequately for the challenges posed by the Badgers opponent (this is a problem). “We got beat in every phase of the game,” Fickell said. “They out physical-ed us; they out rushed us. All those things.”

Fickell underlined the importance of developing a better “complementary football” approach to create opportunities and make opponents take more offensive risks.

Looking ahead, the Wisconsin football team, with Braedyn Locke at quarterback, aims to regroup and rebound as they face the Illinois Fighting Illini. All I know is the Badgers need a far better showing in all three phases on Saturday if they want to beat an Illini team coming off a win over Maryland.

Let’s hope Luke Fickell recognizes just how difficult it is to win football games in the Big Ten from here on out. Rant over.

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Trevor Lovec is a freelance sports writer, correspondent, and a diehard Northern Iowa fan. He covers Wisconsin football & basketball, plus a little Badgers recruiting for