When and where: November 9, 2019, Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI, 4:00 PM ET
The Wisconsin Badgers are in danger of falling out of the top-25 in Saturday’s Big Ten Conference clash with the Iowa Hawkeyes. After dropping a heartbreaking upset loss to Illinois, the Badgers were ramrodded on the road by Ohio State over a week ago. They’ve had plenty of time to stew over the loss and prepare themselves for what would be a statement performance, if they’re able to knock off the Hawkeyes. Since losing to Penn State and Michigan, the Hawkeyes have bounced back with consecutive wins over Purdue and Northwestern.
Can Stanley keep it clean?Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley wasn’t much of a factor against Northwestern in a game where the offense only punched the ball into the end zone once. Yet, such has been the case for the Hawkeyes, who typically play to their elite defensive unit, which is holding opponents to an average of 10.1 points per game.
Their goal on Saturday will be keeping the ball away from a Wisconsin offense that has the potential to be explosive. The one mistake the Hawkeyes can’t have on the road is turning the ball over. Stanley threw away three interceptions to Michigan in what has by far been the team’s ugliest offensive performance of the year. However, their defense still kept them in the game and gave the team a chance to win until the end.
That may not be the case against a team like Wisconsin that is averaging 35.6 points per game. They also have the No. 1-ranked defense in the conference, which presents an interesting double-edged sword scenario for the Hawkeyes. Stanley may have to take some deep shots if things stall to a point of desperation, but for the most part, he should take whatever the defense gives him and try to methodically work his way down the field. This is the type of game where good field position will mean everything.
Some injuries to monitor is the possibility of the Hawkeyes being without linebacker Kristian Welch, the team’s leading tackler, for another game. Dual threat running back Tyler Goodson is also nursing an ankle injury that could potentially keep him sidelined on Saturday as well.
Back against the wall scenario for WisconsinLosing consecutive games to Illinois and Ohio State has the No. 13 Badgers on the verge of taking a serious dip in the top-25 rankings. The loss to Illinois was especially shocking considering their defense gave up 141 rushing yards and 24 points to one of the worst offensive teams in the conference. They basically laid an egg in a loss that could ultimately come back to haunt them.
The Iowa offense is limited in explosive plays, but Stanley can be an effective game manager when he gets into a rhythm. Yet, an opportunity to consistently send pressure up front is the remedy to a comfortable night for the Hawkeyes’ quarterback. Wisconsin has the second-most sacks in the conference, and they should be able to at least force Stanley into some bad throws. The best-case scenario is them making him see ghosts to the point where he’s throwing multiple interceptions away as he did against Michigan.
The Hawkeyes have a steady stable of tailbacks, but none of them boast the game-breaking talent of Badgers running back Jonathan Taylor, who has already amassed over 1,000 yards rushing this season. He is sure to see plenty of carries in this game as the Badgers aim to stay disciplined and avoid any unnecessary risks. Junior quarterback Jack Coan has only thrown two interceptions all season, and he isn’t likely to give the Hawkeyes many chances for an extra possession.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Hawkeyes are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Badgers are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 conference games.