While the Iowa vs Wisconsin football game was expected to be low-scoring, few expected as many offensive struggles as were shown. Injuries headlined the offensive struggles on both sides. For Iowa, losing tight end Erick All meant losing their top receiver. On the Wisconsin side, the Tanner Mordecai injury meant freshman Braedyn Locke had to lead the Badger offense against a terrific Hawkeye defense.
They say the football gods punish teams who pass up free points. Following an 81-yard first drive that ended in no points, the Wisconsin football team struggled the move the ball the rest of the day. Despite passing for only 37 yards in the game, Iowa pulled out the 15-6 road victory on Saturday, which could be a valuable win in the Big Ten West football standings.
Wisconsin Football Offense Falls Flat in Loss to Iowa
Rushing Attack Struggles Heavily
With the Tanner Mordecai injury bringing in backup Braedyn Locke, one would’ve thought Wisconsin would lean more on the run. Instead, the Badgers leaned on the passing game and were only able to run for 104 yards, averaging just 3.7 yards per carry. The Badgers struggled to create running lanes for Braelon Allen and it showed as he amassed just 87 rushing yards.
To be fair to the running game, the lack of success in the passing game didn’t help. The Hawkeye defense was able to completely change the way they were playing once the mobile Mordecai was out of the game. With that in mind, we’ve seen these struggles before this season. Too many times, the offensive line has been beaten in the trenches. As the schedule gets tougher for Wisconsin football, the challenge will only become harder. If the Badgers can’t control the line of scrimmage, they don’t have much of a chance against teams like Ohio State.
Offensive Grade: D+
Defense Again Struggles Against the Run
It was no secret what the Iowa Hawkeyes wanted to do on offense this week. They wanted to run the ball and win the field position battle, forcing the Badgers to drive down the field. Even with knowing what Iowa wanted to do on the ground, the Badgers couldn’t stop them. Sure, 82 yards came from one carry, but it’s still completely uncalled for to give up 200 rushing yards to this Iowa offense.
The defense didn’t give up many points, but their inability to stop the run allowed Iowa to bleed the clock and gain enough first downs to dominate the field position battle. Their inability to contain Leshon Williams on his long touchdown run changed the game for good as Wisconsin struggled to put points on the board. If Wisconsin’s defense knows what’s coming and still can’t stop it, they’re going to be in trouble.
Defensive Grade: B-
Wisconsin Football Week 7 Preview: @ Illinois
Next week, Wisconsin football will look to bounce back against an Illinois team led by former Badger head coach Bret Bielema. Illinois has struggled heavily this season, as they just got their first Big Ten win this past week against Maryland 27-24. Illinois’ offense has struggled to get much going offensively and their defense has given up 30 points or more in three games this season.
Wisconsin’s offense should be able to find more success against Illinois. With that in mind, if Tanner Mordecai is out for an extended period of time, the Badgers will have to find a way to make the offense work around Braedyn Locke this week. If the Badgers’ defense can force two or more turnovers, their offense should be able to do enough to get the victory.