Badgers Musings: Defense Shuts Down Hawks
Wisconsin-Iowa promised to be ugly before the game began at 11:00 am. These two teams have played some slobber knockers in the past couple of years, and Saturday was no different. Wisconsin regains the Heartland Trophy in a 17-9 win where Badgers kept Iowa out of the end zone for first time since 1999.
Badgers need to finish drives
We talked last week how Wisconsin didn’t convert enough ‘four-point plays’ and again, this became a problem for this team. They could have blown the doors off Iowa in the first half. Instead, the game was close due to a lack of finish from Wisconsin’s offense. Andrew Endicott’s missed field goal, a failed fourth down and a Corey Clement fumble all factored into Wisconsin keeping this game within reach for the Hawkeyes.
Linebackers hold down Iowa’s rushing attack
The return of Vince Biegel on Saturday meant the rich got richer from a linebacker perspective. They dominated the playing field all day long with a combined 29 tackles and two sacks. Jack Cichy, Garrett Dooley, Biegel, T.J. Watt and T.J. Edwards all deserve a great of credit for how they played on Saturday afternoon. Iowa didn’t have an offense all game long, and much of that was due to Wisconsin’s linebackers.
Bart Houston took some snaps at quarterback for the first time since Georgia State. ESPN said it was ‘scheduled and nothing wrong with Hornibrook.’ Houston came in for one series and manufactured a touchdown out of the drive finding Troy Fumagali for six. Brian Greise criticized it, but Wisconsin looked just fine plus Hornibrook didn’t seem rattled. My guess is Wisconsin has a package of plays they like but Hornibrook doesn’t have the arm strength for them so Houston gets one possession in the first half. Look for this again next Saturday.
Unknown players made big plays
Good to see a couple unknowns like Quintez Cephus and Kyle Penniston making things happen for Wisconsin’s offense. If Badgers need one thing, it’s finding some depth with their playmakers. Paul Chryst really seemed to try and get more young players involved with the offense on Saturday. Curious to see if that happens versus Nebraska next week. It’s an encouraging trend.