It is week four and we are already facing the biggest game of the season. It is desperation time. We lose to Iowa and our ship is sunk.
Maybe, just maybe, the Cougars awoke a sleeping giant. Or is this team just that? Sleepy. If anything, losing to BYU was the best wake up call the Badgers could get. A non-conference loss does not sting anywhere near the impact a loss in the B1G does.
We control our own destiny from here on out. A win and we will be well on our way to another B1G Championship Game. Lose and things could spiral quickly.
If only we didn’t have to play this game under the lights at Kinnick Stadium… But, here we are. Shine or sink on the national stage. Show something this game, maybe some more imaginative play calling. Anything. Please.
At the end of the day, we want to hear Gus Johnson yelling, “Oh my goodness!” to another Wisconsin touchdown.
This is Enemy Recon: Wisconsin edition. We go behind enemy lines to see what the opposing fans are saying about the matchup with the Hawkeyes.
Reasons for Reassurance vs. Iowa:
This team has a majority of the offense back from a team who put up 38 points on Iowa last year. Not to mention, the Hawks lost their two best defenders in Josey Jewell and Josh Jackson.
The Badgers should have more sense of urgency in this game to reflect how important every game is from here on out
The Hawkeyes were held to 66 yards last season and lost some key players from the offense
If you take TE Noah Fant away, the Hawks offense is pedestrian
This team will learn from their mistakes against BYU and will be a different team at Iowa
You never know with the Hawkeyes: one game they can beat you down like Ohio State last year. Another game, they can look completely inept
There is a lot to be said about away games, but there are fewer distractions than a home game. The Badgers will be able to just concentrate on football
The Badgers last loss inside Kinnick Stadium was 2008 (four straight wins in Iowa City)
The defense may not have brought their A-game against BYU, but still kept their points in check. Overall, they only had three bad plays and one of those was falling for a trick play
Paul Chryst’s teams have played well in the spotlight, so they should be excited for this game
Iowa’s Nate Stanley is a mediocre QB and looks worse this year than he did last year
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Stanley is strikingly similar to UW QB Alex Hornibrook in that he will throw more than his share of head scratchers and can be baited
The running backs are average without Akrum Wadley
The Hawks have no talent at skill positions
A win for UW is as simple as showing up focused and limiting turnovers against Iowa
Is this young Iowa defense better than expected or have they just not played anyone yet?
Reasons for Concern vs. Iowa:
Fans shouldn’t worry so much about Iowa as they should about Wisconsin right now
Unless the defense finds a pass rush, Stanley will have a field day on the Badgers defense
The Hawkeyes looked very good last weekend on offense and were attacking the edges and hitting on downfield passes for long gains
The UW defense could not contain the run game either up the middle or on sweeps vs. the Cougars
Defensive tackling for UW has been very suspicious
The Badgers offensive line has struggled thus far on the season
Coming into the season the Wisconsin offense was regarded as potentially one of the most dangerous in the country. So far, they have not even come close to meeting expectations
Iowa is one tough place to play
There is a lot of pressure on Wisconsin in this game. If they lose, they fall a game behind Iowa and lose the tiebreaker, plus a tough schedule remains so the outlook on the season would look bleak
Unless all of the young, inexperienced players suddenly mature this week, it could make for a long day in Iowa City
Hornibrook is slow with his movement in the pocket and could see a decent mix of schemes from the Hawks
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UW RB Jonathan Taylor looked tentative on some of his runs vs. BYU. Either he didn’t have his best stuff or he has been harped on too hard by the staff about holding on to the ball and it has become wedged in his head
There is no way Iowa will be as bad offensively as they were in Madison last year
The Badgers do not have a pass rusher; if they don’t blitz, the Iowa offense will have all day to make a play
It is going to take a monstrous effort to beat Iowa, especially from the defense
Fans Level of Confidence for a Victory (out of 5 stars):
1 Star – No shot
2 Stars – Improbable, but “you’re telling me we’ve got a chance”
3 Stars – Game could go either way
4 Stars – We are going to win this game, but it will be tough
5 Stars – No shot Iowa wins this game
Wisconsin Confidence vs. Iowa:
# Of Stars – 2.5 stars
The Wisconsin Fans Overall Narrative for this Game:
Badgers fans are very worried about their offensive and defensive lines, which look sluggish thus far. Despite their success in recent years at Kinnick, they are wary of playing the Hawks under the lights. However, they do feel good about Chryst having them more prepared than other Top 25 teams that have played Iowa at night. Wisconsin fans believe this game will be the indicator of who wins the Big Ten. So far, they have not been impressed with the Badgers and they are inexperienced in key spots. Maybe it would be different if this game were later in the year. But, it’s Iowa’s turn atop the Big Ten, 27-20.
*Follow Sean Neugent on Twitter: @SeanNeugentHN
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