Hopes for the Badgers to hone-in on a BCS bowl berth bolstered themselves in Iowa City, Saturday.
Polls released Sunday showed Wisconsin (6-2, 4-1) still locked at the 24th overall spot in the BCS polls – on the heels of one of their best defensive efforts of the season, to date.
Respectively, they didn’t move from their January 1, Capital One Bowl, prediction.
Michigan St. (8-1, 5-0) and Minnesota (7-2, 3-2) slid up a bit in the rankings. State on the strength of their 29-6 whipping of Michigan. Minnesota scored 21-points in the second quarter to take down Indiana, 42-39.
Hopes are that Wisconsin might still be able to secure an Orange or Sugar Bowl bid should they of course win out and someone in front of them inside the Big 10, slip.
With the impressive 28-9 win against Iowa (5-4, 2-3), Saturday, UW improved to 11-4 in November road games since the start of the 2006 season. It was the teams sixth win of the season, of course making the Badgers bowl eligible for the 12th-consecutive season. That is the longest active streak in the Big Ten.
The all-time series with Iowa now has Wisconsin up 43-42-1. It’s the first time Wisconsin has won consecutive games at Kinnick Stadium since scoring wins in 1998 and 2000. The 19-point margin of victory was also the Badgers largest over Iowa since a 41-3 win in 1999. It was UW’s largest win over the Hawkeyes in Iowa City since a 31-0 victory in 1998.
The strong defensive efforts just continue from the Badgers defense. Saturday marked the fourth time this season UW has held its opponent without a touchdown. And not just is their defense not allowing scores, their offense is clicking. Wisconsin’s last 10 wins have come by at least 19 points.
Iowa’s defense hadn’t been too bad either – especially against the run. They had allowed just two rushing touchdowns all season. It was the same number they allowed Saturday as James White rushed for two.
Making a team one dimensional, especially one who’s bread-and-butter is moving the chains on the ground, is tough. Wisconsin though did that Saturday, never allowing the Hawkeyes a chance to build momentum on the ground in a game that saw neither team really have success, early.
“It was tough to run the ball today for us,” Iowa head coach, Kirk Ferentz, said. “Obviously I’d like to have run the ball better, I wish we could have, and would have been more productive. But they made it tough on us.”
Statistically speaking, Wisconsin was not awe-inspiring in any facet. What they did do though is win the time of possession battle (32:06 / 27:54) and turn the ball over just once. The opening possession INT by QB Joel Stave was met by a 3-and-out defensively for UW. It was one of seven such sequences forces by Wisconsin’s defense during the game.
“To their credit (Wisconsin) did a good job,” Ferentz said. “They made it hard for us, we weren’t moving the ball consistently, we weren’t throwing or running with great proficiency, that’s a credit to them.”
“There’s been a lot of talk about their offense coming into the game. And I looked at their defensive stats and more importantly you watch their tape, and it’s not like people were getting a lot of points off these guys. They’re a good defensive football team.”