ROAD WARRIORS: Hawks Top Badgers

In a game that certainly would make Hayden Fry proud, the Iowa Hawkeyes found a way to ‘scratch it where it itches' in overcoming a 14-point first half deficit and three first half turnovers to beat Wisconsin 26-21 in Madison, ruining Senior Day for the Badgers and denying Barry Alvarez of his 100th win at Wisconsin. Kirk Ferentz evened his Big Ten coaching record at 20-20 on the day while Alvarez fell to 53-54-3 during his 14 years in Madison.

BOX SCORE, OFFICIAL STATS

Kirk Ferentz evened his Big Ten coaching record at 20-20 on the day while Alvarez fell to 53-54-3 during his 14 years in Madison.

The game started ugly for the Iowa but ended with one of the most exciting finishes in Hawkeye history.

Nathan Chandler started out slow and had two first half interceptions and one fumble that Wisconsin recovered.

Iowa's Nate Kaeding kicked a 50-yard field goal with two seconds left in the half to narrow the lead to 21-17.

Iowa's defense did not surrender a point in the second half.

Iowa knocked Wisconsin quarterback Jim Sorgi from the game in the second quarter and knocked his back up Matt Schabert from the game in the second half.

Sophomore John Stocco came into the game and quickly threw and interception, but the Hawkeyes did not convert the error into any points.

On the last drive of the game which Wisconsin started just inside Iowa territory, Stocco threw some pretty passes and led the Badgers down to the Iowa five yard line. He completed a pass in the flat with 15 seconds to go, but the Badgers did not have any more timeouts.

They were able to get a snap off just before time expired, but Stocco's pass across the middle fell incomplete and the Hawkeyes won their first road game outside of the state of Iowa in 2003.

It was not Nathan Chandler's best day at Iowa. The senior was 5 of 16 in the first half with one touchdown pass and two interceptions. He was just 8 of 26 on the day for 66 yards, although there were some nice passes that Iowa receivers just could not hang on to.

He threw a pretty deep ball down the middle to Mo Brown in the first half and had Mo made the catch, it would have been on every highlight reel in the nation. Chandler also hit Ramon Ochoa over his shoulder in the 2nd half but Ramon could not hang onto the ball.

Unofficially, Wisconsin out gained Iowa 365 to 267 and knocked Wisconsin's first and second string quarterbacks out of the game for the second year in a row.

Iowa pounded out 201 yards rushing against Wisconsin (Fred Russell 18 carries for 137 yards) while the Badgers rushed for 171 yards on a blustery and wet Saturday afternoon in Madison. Iowa averaged 5.9 yards per carry. Iowa had just 38 net yards passing on the day.

The Hawkeyes capitalized on three Wisconsin interceptions and one fumbled punt, scoring 17 points off of Wisconsin miscues and all nine of their second half points.

Iowa may have earned a New Year's Day bowl bid with the win. The Hawkeyes finish the season at 5-3 in the Big Ten in a three-way tie for 4th place with Minnesota and Michigan State. Purdue beat Indiana and improved to 6-2 in the Big Ten but finished 9-3 overall due to their season opening loss to Bowling Green.

Michigan will represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl unless they can squirm their way into the national title game, but that seems unlikely. Ohio State has an outside shot at a BCS bid as well.

Should both of those teams earn BCS bids, you can all but guarantee Iowa will be in Florida for their bowl game in either Orlando (Capitol One) or Tampa (Outback).

Should Ohio State not get a BCS bid, they will likely play in Orlando, leaving the Outback to choose either Iowa or Purdue.

Iowa has never played in Tampa and after seeing the nearly 50,000 Hawkeye fans make the trip to Miami last year, Outback officials would be hard pressed to turn down an Iowa team that will finish in the Top 15 of the final BCS poll.

NOTES

With the win at Wisconsin, Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz holds a record of 31-29 in five seasons at Iowa as the Hawkeyes win in Madison for the first time since a 33-20 win in 1995.

Iowa ended the regular season with a 9-3 overall record and a 5-3 mark in the Big Ten. After winning 11 games in 2002, Iowa has won as many as nine games in consecutive seasons for the first time since winning nine games in 1986 and 10 games in 1987.

The Hawkeyes have started on offense 52 of its last 54 games and 54 of 60 times under Kirk Ferentz. Robert Gallery has started in 43 consecutive games, the best among offensive linemen in the Big Ten. Junior DT Tyler Luebke started for the first time in his career.

WR Ramon scored the first rushing touchdown of his career on an 18-yard reverse in the first quarter. Ochoa, who had a six-yard scoring reception in the second quarter, has scored six touchdowns this season on receptions and one touchdown on a punt return.

With two turnovers in the first quarter, Iowa had more than one turnover in a game for the first time since having three turnovers (one fumble, two interceptions) in a 26-14 win over Penn State on Oct. 25. Iowa had as many as three turnovers for the fourth time in 12 games. Iowa had four turnovers at Michigan State and three vs. Penn State and Ohio State.

Sophomore DB Jovon Johnson collected his fifth interception this season and the ninth of his career. Johnson's interception and 39-yard return led to Iowa's second quarter touchdown. His five interceptions in 2003 are the most by an Iowa player since Damien Robinson had six thefts in 1996.

Junior DB Sean Considine came up with third interception of the season in the third quarter, and his 24-yard return set up Iowa's third quarter touchdown. Later in the third quarter senior DB Bob Sanders had his first interception of the season and Sanders had his third fumble recovery of the year in the fourth quarter.

Iowa's defense came up with nine (five fumbles, four interceptions) turnovers in the last two games of the season, five in the win over Minnesota and four vs. Wisconsin. Iowa's three interceptions vs. Wisconsin mark the first time since the opening game of the season that Iowa had more than one interception. The Hawkeyes had four interceptions in the 21-3 opening win over Miami, OH and one interception in five other games.

Wisconsin's 21 points are the most allowed by Iowa in the first half this season. Michigan scored 20 points in the first half of Iowa's 30-27 win in Iowa City. Two of Wisconsin's first half touchdowns directly followed Iowa turnovers. But, Wisconsin also was the third Iowa opponent this season (Miami, OH and Arizona State were the others) that failed to score in the second half.

PK Nate Kaeding connected on a 50-yard field goal just before halftime, his second kick of at least 50 yards in two weeks (he had a 55-yarder vs. Minnesota), and he added a 28-yarder in the fourth period. He has made 17-18 FG attempts and 36-37 PATs this season, and he has made 64-77 career FG attempts and 162- 163 PATs. He is Iowa's career scoring leader with 360 points, including 354 kicking points. In his career, Kaeding is 5-5 on field goal attempts from 50 yards and beyond and 23-28 from outside 40 yards.

Kaeding ranks third in career kick scoring in the Big Ten Conference, one point shy of Purdue's Travis Dorsch in second place. Kaeding won the Lou Groza Award last season as the top kicker in the nation and he is one of three finalists for the award this season.

DT Matt Neubauer and TE Mike Follett both returned to action after missing last week due to illness. DT Derreck Robinson, injured last week, did not play against Wisconsin.

The Hawkeyes scored on their opening possession in four of 12 contests, including touchdown drives vs. Buffalo and Illinois and field goals vs. Iowa State and Minnesota. Iowa won all four contests when it scored on its opening drive.

The Hawkeyes outscored their opponents 118-22 in the second quarter and 101-28 in the third quarter this year, as Wisconsin scored seven points in the second quarter and failed to score in the third.

RB Fred Russell finished the game with 137 yards rushing (one TD) on 18 attempts. For the season, he has rushed 260 times for 1,205 yards, becoming only the third Hawkeye running back to rush for 1,000 yards or more in more than one season. His career totals include 493 carries for 2,610 yards and 16 touchdowns. He ranks fourth in career rushing yards and his 1,205 yards this year ranks fifth-best for a single season. Russell rushed 220 times for 1,264 yards in 2002. Russell rushed for at least 100 yards in six of 12 games this season and he has reached the century mark 13 times in his career.

QB Nathan Chandler has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 11 of Iowa's 12 games. His season total of 1,870 passing yards ranks 15th-best for a single season at Iowa, while his 2,014 yards of total offense rank 14th-best in a single season.


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