Iowa-Wisconsin Preview

Iowa travels to Wisconsin to take on the hated Badgers in the Big Ten's most competitive rivalry. The teams have played to a dead heat in their 80 meetings, with the series knotted at 39-39-2. Something has got to give in Barry Alvarez's Camp Randall swan song; will it be the Hawkeyes or Badgers that emerge with a win?

TIME & PLACE – 2:35 p.m. (CST), Saturday, Camp Randall Stadium (80,360), Madison, WI.

RADIO -- (Originating Network): Learfield Communications with a network of over 40 stations. Gary Dolphin and Ed Podolak will call the action along with sideline reporter Rob Brooks.

TELEVISION – ESPN will televise the game to a national cable audience. Announcers are Mark Jones, Chris Spielman and Erin Andrews

THE SERIES: Something has got to give! This is the 81st meeting between the two schools in football. The all-time series is tied at 39-39-2. Wisconsin won the first six games in a series that began in 1894. The Hawkeyes have won the last three games, including last year's 30-7 win in Iowa City. Iowa's last win in Madison came two years ago (27-21). The last Badger win in the series came in 2001 (34-28) in Madison. Wisconsin leads the series (25-16-1) in games played at Madison.

THE NOTES

• Saturday's game will feature two of the nation's top running backs. Wisconsin's Brian Calhoun ranks fourth nationally in rushing (125.6) and Iowa's Albert Young ranks 11th (118.9).
• Wisconsin QB John Stocco ranks 20th nationally in pass efficiency (148.24), while Iowa QB Drew Tate ranks 22nd (148.09).
• Iowa's total offense (419.56) ranks 33rd, while Wisconsin's total defense (435.4) ranks 102nd. The Badgers boast the conference's top scoring offense (37.1), an average that also ranks 10th nationally.
• Wisconsin ranks second in the league in turnover margin (+8). Last week Iowa played Northwestern, who boasted a +10 and won the turnover battle with a +2. Iowa is +3 in turnover margin the last two games and now ranks sixth in the Big Ten (+0) after nine games.
• Redshirt freshman Jared Oberland (Whitefish Bay) is the only player on the Iowa roster from the state of Wisconsin. The Wisconsin roster does not include any Iowans.
• Iowa has played only one ranked opponent this season, and the Hawkeyes lost that game 31-6 at Ohio State on Sept. 24, 2005.
• Saturday will be Iowa's only regular season game on artificial field turf.
• Wisconsin ranks eighth nationally in punt returns (15.97) and net punting (38.22), while Iowa ranks 15th in punt returns (13.86) and 21st in net punting (36.93).
• Iowa Strength Coach Chris Doyle was the assistant strength coach at Wisconsin from 1996-98. Doyle's assistant at Iowa, James Dobson, earned his degree from Wisconsin and worked with the Badger football team for three seasons.
• Iowa boasts a 9-1 record when ESPN play-by-play announcer Mark Jones has called an Iowa football game the last three years.
* Between 1977 and 1996, Iowa did not lose a game to Wisconsin. They were 17-0-1 during that stretch. Wisconsin then reeled off five straight wins over Iowa and the Hawkeyes have won the last three meetings.
* Iowa's most recent regular season victory over a ranked opponent came at home against 9th ranked Wisconsin in November of last year. Iowa's last road win against a ranked foe came at Wisconsin (#21) in the regular season finale of the 2003 season.
* • Forty-eight of Iowa's opponents' 115 offensive drives have started inside the 20-yard line (41.7%).
* Iowa's 42 scoring drives have averaged 6.8 plays, 60.0 yards and 2:43 elapsed time. Thirty of Iowa's 42 scoring drives covered 50 yards or more. Iowa opponents have recorded 25 scoring drives, averaging 9.2 plays, 68.0 yards and 3:46 elapsed time. Five of the 21 scoring drives followed Iowa turnovers.
* Saturday's game will mark the 50th consecutive the Hawkeyes have been selected for television. The last Iowa contest not televised was against Minnesota on Nov. 17, 2001.

Albert Young on a Roll: Albert Young surpassed 100 yards rushing for the fifth straight game and sixth time this season (Iowa State, Illinois, Purdue, Indiana, Michigan and Northwestern). Young raised his season totals to 189 attempts for 1,070 yards, rushing for over 1,000 yards for the first time in his career. Previously, Iowa's most recent 1,000-yard rusher was Fred Russell in 2003 (282-1,355 yards). Young becomes the 11th Iowa running back to surpass 1,000 yards. Young's 38 carries against Northwestern was the fourth highest single game total in school history.

Tate and Fate: • Drew Tate failed to throw a touchdown pass last week for the third time this season. All three games have been on the road and Iowa lost all three (Iowa State, Ohio State and Northwestern).

Tackling Machines: Abdul Hodge (407) and Chad Greenway (380) rank fourth and fifth in school history in career tackles. Hodge is 28 stops from moving past Brad Quast into third place all time at Iowa.

HEARTLAND TROPHY: The Heartland Trophy will be awarded for the second time to Saturday's winner. The trophy, which is a bull mounted on a walnut base (native to both Wisconsin and Iowa), has the scores of all previous games between the two schools inscribed on it. The Iowa-Wisconsin series has been the closest and most competitive of all Big Ten series. The Heartland Trophy became the 16th Big Ten football traveling trophy last season. Iowa maintained possession of the Heartland Trophy after winning 30-7 last year in Iowa City.

Jon Miller's Prediction: Albert Young is coming off a career game and he has to be excited knowing he will be facing a Wisconsin defense that is surrendering 250+ rushing yards per game in its seven Big Ten games. Only Illinois is worse, allowing 257 per game. Running the ball has not been a problem for Iowa and they have also had success via the air. However, Iowa has done most of its damage in the first half, especially of late. Iowa has scored just six second half points in regulation over its last two games and has lost back to back fourth quarter leads for the first and second time in the Ferentz era. Wisconsin will be fired up for this one, but I think the Hawkeyes come out of Madison with a victory, beating Bucky for the fourth straight time. Iowa 24, Wisconsin 21.


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