Wisconsin Preview

Iowa travels to Camp Randall on Saturday to face the ever-dangerous Wisconsin Badgers. Injuries figure to play a big role on both teams in this critical contest. Iowa is playing to stay above the .500 mark, while one more Wisconsin loss eliminates the Badgers from postseason play.

Iowa comes into the game with a quarterback controversy far more divisive than anything Jon Beutjer could contribute to. Kyle McCann is the experienced senior with a firm grasp of the offense, but his skills are limited, and his performance against top opponents has been substandard. Brad Banks is a skilled newcomer with a knack for making plays, despite his remarkably smaller playbook. McCann will start with Banks coming in at his familiar "change of pace" role once again this week.

No matter who lines up under center, Iowa ought to move the ball with ease. In their past 4 games, Wisconsin has given up just over 40 points per game, including a 63-point debacle against Indiana. The defensive efforts have included giving up 570 yards to Illinois, and 563 more against Michigan State. The defensive line continues to suffer, as three starters have been lost to injury over the course of the year. Luckily for the Badgers, all-world lineman Wendell Bryant has remained healthy, and he will spearhead the line against Iowa.

The Badger offense is embodied in one word: speed. Split end Lee Evans leads the nation with 1188 receiving yards, and he has 9 scores to go along with them. Iowa will be forced to put Benny Sapp on Evans, as he is far and away the best cover corner the Hawkeyes have at this point. Evans's fellow receiver, Nick Davis, is another speed demon who has notched over 300 yards of receiving. With cornerback Matt Stockdale down for the year, the task of covering Davis will go to the committee of redshirt freshmen Chic Ejiasi and Aramis Haralson, and senior Marqueas McLaurin-Miller. Tailback Anthony Davis is the conference leader in rushing with 1023 yards, and his rare combination of power and elusiveness makes him a threat to take it to the house on any play. Brooks Bollinger, who returns to action after injuries to him and his two top backups left coach Barry Alvarez to use his 4th string quarterback, Matt Schabert.

The weather forecast is almost picture-perfect football weather, as the high should be in the upper 50's, with cloudless skies. Television coverage begins at 11 AM on ESPN+. With any luck, the Hawkeyes will use their high-powered defense to keep the Wisconsin big plays to a minimum, as Ladell Betts and the Hawkeyes run wild into the Badger secondary. Iowa will have to beat themselves for the Badgers to have any chance of winning, and that doesn't seem likely this weekend. Iowa 38, Wisconsin 21.


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