Wisconsin has experienced extreme turbulence this season and now finds themselves needing three straight victories over pernicious competition to qualify for a bowl game. For two decades spanning through the seventies, eighties, and most of the nineties, the Hawkeyes have been the impenetrable barrier for Wisconsin. However, the Badgers have reversed the years of depredation and replaced it with four consecutive years of victories over Iowa. A fifth straight would continue to save Wisconsin from its first bowless season since 1995. The improved team from Iowa City lands in Madison under similar circumstances. Their bowl hopes are not nearly as tenuous as the home team, but too many losses could sink their ship.
As usual, Hawkeye fans bruised Camp Randall with their black and yellow colors protruding into the Badger red. Even though the Badgers stunned Ohio State in Columbus three weeks ago, their recent two game losing streak forced fans to harbor a dissolved faith in Wisconsin’s chances against Iowa. A doubtful crowd flipped to hopeful as the Badgers built a 27-14 lead for halftime.
By the fourth quarter, the Wisconsin lead shrunk to 34-28. The Badgers had a chance to slam the game shut with a chip-shot field goal late in the fourth. This would prove to be the most frustrating part of the game for the Wisconsin faithful as the attempt sailed right keeping Iowa alive with little time remaining. But, the fickle defense of the Badgers found the determination they needed to keep the Hawkeyes off the scoreboard the entire fourth quarter.
Wisconsin saw their season ending and hushed the Iowa offense when they needed it to be most productive. Next week, Iowa should have little difficulty regrouping against the free-falling Northwestern Wildcats. Wisconsin opens Camp Randall’s doors for the always formidable Michigan Wolverines, a team they have not beaten in seven years. Finding determination should not be an issue.