You can tell a lot about a team in a game like this by looking at how they fared on third downs. Well, Iowa was atrocious in that department on Saturday. The Hawkeyes converted just 2 of 13 tries on third down, which made it hard to move the ball, for one. For two, it made it hard on the defensive players, who had to of been exhausted towards the tail end on the game. Wisconsin's defense is very talented, but I thought Iowa missed a lot of chances and just couldn't take advantage on offense after Wisconsin just kept letting them hang around. Iowa must be better on third down moving forward. They'll have the bye week to review some things.
Iowa's Offensive Line
I actually was quite impressed with the play from Iowa's offensive line today. Wisconsin is a tough team to block, much like the Hawkeyes are. Keagen Render did a good job filling in at LG for the injured Boone Myers and Cole Croston did a good job despite being a little bit banged up. Iowa only tallied 3.1 yard per carry, but the line did a good job keeping Wisconsin's linebackers away from C.J. Beathard. The Badgers got to C.J. just once on the afternoon, which was a key for me during the game. The offense for the most part was brutal to watch, but the line did a solid job of giving Beathard time and keeping him upright.
The tackling continues to be a problem for Iowa and the safeties might be the biggest suspects. Miles Taylor and Brandon Snyder both had tough days today. They allowed the big pass to Quintez Cephus that took the Badgers down inside the five yard line. Taylor had the coverage, but let Cephus get behind him. If he would have turned and got his hands up, he likely breaks up the pass. Josey Jewell missed a key tackle late in the game on Corey Clement, who totaled 134 yards on 35 carries, which is extremely unlike him. It may have hand something to do with how much time the defense spent on the field. He was likely exhausted because he doesn't miss tackles, you just don't see it. I was impressed with Iowa's defense today, but the safety play must be better.
This man is having himself a very nice senior season. Iowa hasn't exactly gotten much pressure on opposing QB's this season, but Johnson has stepped up when Iowa has needed a big play. He came up with two huge sacks on Alex Hornibrook on back to back plays, which got the fans back in it and gave Iowa a little bit of momentum. However, Iowa's offense would follow with a three and out, which would kill the buzz in the stadium. Johnson has been playing extremely well these past couple of weeks.
Iowa's Offense in General
I don't believe the Purdue game was fooling anyone. Iowa did a good job on the ground against the Boilers, but we have to remember what defense we are dealing with. The offense just has been really hard to watch in the last couple of weeks. Iowa's best tight end, George Kittle was limited this week and Iowa has been dealing with receivers who, for the most part, struggle to get open. Wisconsin did a good job of taking away Iowa's running game and it made it hard for Iowa to really get anything going because it made them wildly predictable. I was impressed with Akrum Wadley catching the ball out of the backfield and thought that was effective during Iowa's best drive of the game when they went to a more up tempo style. I am starting to believe Iowa's offense is just going to be very limited for the rest of the season.