Poor Iowa had a lead late against Wisconsin but couldn’t get the game-clinching stop or put together a drive to win it after it relinquished the lead. If only there was some indication that the Hawkeyes weren’t all that good this year.
On paper, Iowa has solid wins. Not great, not bad. Solid. Against Northern Illinois, in the opener, Iowa only took a 3-0 lead into halftime. The following week was a snooze fest against in-state rival Iowa State. Before hosting Wisconsin, the Hawkeyes had a nice tune-up game against FCS Northern Iowa.
To be totally fair, there wasn’t much to knock Iowa on that you couldn’t knock Wisconsin on. Except that Iowa doesn’t have the track record of improving as the season goes on and being a team that regularly wins double-digit games in a season. Iowa was being treated as such and it didn’t make sense.
Iowa put up a good fight but fell short in the end when it just couldn’t make the plays it had to. That sounds about right for a middle-of-the-road Big Ten team facing a traditional power in the conference.
The Hawkeyes play four of their next five games on the road including games at Penn State and at Purdue, the team who just jumped them in these rankings. It’s not an easy road for Iowa. I’m very curious to see how it responds to this loss and the tough road ahead.