Game 234: Iowa @ #19 Wisconsin

 In the fourth quarter, a Badger fan in front of me exclaimed, “I would rather see Iowa’s offense with the ball at their own ten than Wisconsin’s offense with the ball anywhere.” It sure seemed logical – the Badger defense appeared to possess a higher probability of scoring. It was that kind of game.

All other autumn days would envy this one. Sixty degrees, sunny, slight wind, and the smoky blue of Lake Mendota glistened from the October sun. The hustle bustle of the farmer’s market around the state Capitol flowed down State Street and onto campus where Badger and Hawkeye fans exchanged dueling glances. Camp Randall was ready to welcome Iowa for the first time since 2009 – but the hospitable attitude was a transitory one.

On the field, a classic Big Ten game ensued as both defenses played exceptionally well. Iowa seemed to struggle on offense. It’s not to say that Wisconsin was a juggernaut, but any momentum gained ended in a devastating turnover – the worst being at the one yard line poised to take the lead. The Hawkeye pressure had a lot to do with that, even though many Badger backers would claim that Wisconsin didn’t get beat – they beat themselves.  Still, Iowa is ardently deserving of their top 25 ranking this week.

Walking away from the stadium surrounded by sullen expressions (and the occasional euphoric Hawkeye grin), it’s hard to tell if the defenses were that stifling, or the offenses were that abysmal. More Saturday afternoons will help answer that question. In the meantime, as I have learned from one wise Badger fan – “Dude. If you can’t win the game, at least win the party.”  Sage advice.

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