Breakdown: No.22 Wisconsin at Iowa

Beginning a critical five-game month of November, No.22 Wisconsin resumes its rivalry with Iowa when the Badgers travel to Kinnick Stadium on Saturday. Badger Nation breaks down the matchup.

No.22 Wisconsin (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten) vs. Iowa (5-3, 2-2 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Saturday, November 2 at 11 a.m. CT

Stadium –Kinnick Stadium (70,585/FieldTurf)

Television –ABC (ESPN2 Mirror) (Sean McDonough, Chris Spielman, Shannon Spake)

Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas), Sirius 119, XM 194

Series –Series tied 42-42-2 (Iowa leads 24-15-1 in Iowa City)

Last Meeting – Wisconsin won, 31-30, on Oct.23, 2010 in Iowa City

Last week's Badger Nation game coverage

Last meeting's Badger Nation game coverage

Series Notes

Since the Heartland Trophy debuted in 2004, Wisconsin is 12-4 in trophy games. The Badgers currently possess both the Heartland Trophy and Paul Bunyan's Axe (vs. Minnesota).

Iowa is the third most-played rival in UW history. The Badgers have faced Minnesota 122 times — the most played rivalry of any FBS teams — and Northwestern 95 times.

The teams' two-year hiatus in 2011 and 2012 marked just the second break in their all-time series since it became an annual matchup in 1937. The teams also went two seasons without facing off in 1993 and 1994.

Since the Heartland Trophy debuted in 2004, Iowa holds a 4-3 edge in the series.

The Badgers are 8-6 against Iowa since breaking an 18-game winless streak against the Hawkeyes in 1997. From 1977 to 1996, Wisconsin was 0-17-1 against Iowa.

Wisconsin is 6-2 against unranked Iowa teams since its win over the Hawkeyes in 1997.

Wisconsin Notes

With a win over Iowa, the Badgers would be bowl eligible for the 12th-consecutive season. UW's run of 11 consecutive bowl game appearances is the longest active streak in the Big Ten and ties the Badgers for the eighth-longest streak in the nation.

The Badgers are 10-4 in November road games since the start of the 2006 season.

The Badgers rank No. 4 nationally with 22 rushing plays of 20-plus yards through seven games. In 2012, UW had 36 runs of at least 20 yards to rank No. 5 nationally in that category.

Sophomore RB Melvin Gordon ranks fourth nationally and leads the Big Ten in rushing at 144.6 yards per game. He leads the Big Ten and ranks in a tie for ninth nationally with 11 rushing touchdowns.

Wisconsin is one of two FBS teams to rank in the top 10 nationally in both rushing offense (8th, 296.9 yards per game) and rushing defense (4th, 87.6). Ohio State (9th offense/6th defense) also ranks in the top 10 in both categories.

Iowa Notes

Iowa's three losses are to teams that have a combined record of 23-1 (Northern Illinois, 8-0; Michigan State, 7-1, Ohio State, 8-0). All three are in the BCS top 25 this week.

Iowa's defense has held 7-of-8 opponents under their rushing average this season. Wisconsin averages 296.9 rushing yards per game. Iowa allows 128.6 rushing yards per game, the fifth-best total in the conference.

The Iowa defense has allowed two rushing touchdowns this year, the lowest total in the nation. Gordon has rushed for 11 touchdowns this season, more than any other Big Ten player.

The Hawkeyes have held a halftime lead in every game this season.


While the head coach at Utah State, Gary Andersen would battle BYU for an Old Wagon Wheel and against the Cougars and Utah for the Beehive Boot, symbolizing state supremacy. At Linganore High in Maryland, Rob Havenstein and his teammates would battle Urbana for an I-70 highway sign.

The list goes on of the different kinds of trophies old and new members of the Wisconsin football team have played for in their careers, but only a select few have played for a trophy that means as much as the Heartland Trophy with Iowa.

"It's more than just the University of Wisconsin against the University of Iowa," said Havenstein. "It's the state of Wisconsin against the state of Iowa. It's bragging rights. All of our fans are playing in this game. It's something bigger than an actual football game because everyone is behind it."

Andersen has become an immediate fan of this rivalry. With a series tied 42-42-2 all time and Wisconsin holding a slim 8-6 advantage since 1997, Andersen sees two teams that like to run backs behind a big offensive line and use a lot of two tight end sets to balance out the offense.

It's one of the main reasons why Wisconsin's offensive line has the goal of being the premier unit on the field this weekend.

"It's always kind of in our realm every week," said right tackle Rob Havenstein. "It's not that we want to prove ourselves against the Iowa offensive line, we want to prove ourselves against offensive lines throughout the country. We want to put our legacy in there that we were one of the best offensive lines of the year, the century or whatever. That's kind of the goal we strive for in our profession."

One win away from bowl eligibility for the 12th straight season, Wisconsin's offense continues to produce at eye-popping levels. The Badgers rank third in the country with 510.6 yards per game, first in the Big Ten and eight nationally with 296.9 rushing yards per game and sixth in the country with 7.47 yards per play average.

It's one of the reasons why senior Ryan Groy doesn't believe his offensive line has been out performed by any other offensive line that Wisconsin has played this season.

"I am not saying that in a cocky way," said Groy. "It's in confidence that Wisconsin has been the offensive line in the country. That's why you come to Wisconsin to play offensive line."

The Badgers have done this despite having only one senior starter and no player projected to be a first round draft pick.

"We're all playing for the guy next to us," said Havenstein. "Here at Wisconsin, we haven't historically had the big names or the number one recruits coming in. If you look across our line, it's the same way. We only care about each other. I don't want to miss a block and have (Kyle) Costigan look bad, just like he doesn't want to make Dallas (Lewallen) look bad and on down the line."

Iowa's front seven is an effective unit that works well together. The defensive line doesn't have any mega stars, but the group is solid at handling double teams and creating gaps for the Hawkeyes' linebackers. Iowa has three backs in the top 12 in the conference in tackles per game.

But we've seen time and time again this season that Wisconsin's offensive line is up to the challenge. Through seven games, Wisconsin has only given up nine sacks (1.3 per game), and UW's trio of tailbacks have rushed for 2,137 gross yards this year, having lost 46 yards in 270 carries. Both are impressive numbers.

The winning team has won by 10 points or less in eight of the 12 meetings since 2000, so the Badgers being favored by 9.5 points seems a little out of the norm. However, Wisconsin has found a groove since the second half of the Ohio State game over a month ago. Iowa is good defensively, but nothing Wisconsin's offense can't handle, while the Hawkeyes' offense can easily be knocked off the tracks with the same kind of pressure UW unleashed on Northwestern.

Melvin Gordon gives Iowa another sharp blow, running for well over 100 yards, and the Badgers' defense frustrates quarterback Jake Rudock into a couple turnovers in a double-digit win.

Wisconsin 31, Iowa 20

Worgull's Predictions

Straight up: 6-1*

Against the Spread: 5-1-1

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