A Personal Challenge

The Badgers dominated Ohio State's offensive line last week to end a three-year losing streak to the Buckeyes. Now with a healthy Gabe Carimi, considered the best left tackle in the conference, going against Adrian Clayborn, considered the best defensive end in the conference, the Badgers will have to bring the same kind of intensity.

MADISON — The parallels are obvious.

Ohio State possesses one of the top front sevens in the league, led by a dominant force in Cameron Heyward on the defensive line. Last season, the Buckeyes got the best of the UW offensive line, shutting down the run game and sacking quarterback Scott Tolzien six times.

This year the story went a little differently. John Clay cracked the 100-yard mark, making it the first time in 29 games Ohio State gave up a 100-yard rusher. Tolzien was given time to throw and completed 13 of 16 passes.

Lessons were learned from last season's defeat.

In 2009, Iowa's defensive front thrashed the Badgers O-line. UW managed just 230 yards of total offense and turned the ball over three times, while Iowa sacked Tolzien four times, collected seven total tackles for a loss and watched star defensive end Adrian Clayborn run rampant.

It was a rough day to be a 300-pounder in Wisconsin.

But what lessons were learned?

"It is like us, they are just going to line up and we are going to play football," Captain and senior left guard John Moffitt said. "That is going to be that. They don't blitz a lot, but they are good at what they do.

"Their feeling is their guys are going to beat your guys, so you appreciate the simplicity of it, but you have to prepare for the challenge — that is the beauty of the game that you have to prepare for that physical with Iowa."

It all starts with Clayborn up front. Matched up against left tackle Gabe Carimi last season, Clayborn got the best of the future NFL tackle. But Carimi has a reason.

"I got shot up before the game and we didn't shoot it up early enough so I was still feeling pain before the game and I landed on my shoulder in the first series," Carimi said. "It was pretty painful and I am looking forward to getting another [chance] this year.

"I felt like I was just a body in there. Am I better then the second person in? Maybe just a bit better, but I wasn't very good at all.

"I couldn't do anything with my left arm. If you watch you will see my left arm just dangling on the side."

Fresh off holding Heyward to four tackles and a non-descript day, Carimi is looking forward to facing Clayborn with two good arms.

Carimi said it is the first time since his freshman year he has been completely healthy midseason.

Just in time for a match up with the man Moffitt said is the "best D-end in the conference."

"Everyone knows he is a great player, top draft pick from next year and he is really strong, so I am getting my game plan down to go attack Adrian Clayborn," Carimi said. "It will be a lot of the same preparing for Heyward of Ohio State — maybe Clayborn is a little bit stronger."

The gameplan for the rest of Iowa's defense is pretty simple.

The Hawkeyes don't blitz much — Carimi said only 30 times in the past two seasons — and don't drop a man in the box to stop the run.

It is no frills, no tricks football. Line up and beat us.

Kind of like the Badgers offense. Whichever team wins the one-on-one battles, it will not be a fluke.

"Hey, I'm Peter Konz and I'm Wisconsin, and I am going to be lining up against you today," Konz said with a laugh. "It is kind of one of those things."

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