IOWA CITY, Iowa -Melvin Gordon has had many moments during his junior season; a year that has him over 2,000 yards and in the thick of the Heisman Trophy hunt. His moment Saturday at Kinnick Stadium might rank right up there as one of his bests.
Playing against the school he was once committed to long ago, Gordon delivered in the fourth quarter to help No.14 Wisconsin to escape Kinnick Stadium with a 26-24 victory, the Badgers third straight road victory in the series and retain the Heartland Trophy.
Clinching at least a share of the Big Ten West Division title, Wisconsin (9-2, 6-1 Big Ten) plays for the outright crown and a trip to the Big Ten Championship game against Ohio State with a win over Minnesota at Camp Randall Stadium next Saturday.
The Badgers appeared in control and comfortably ahead after Rafael Gaglianone’s 22-yard field goal late in the third quarter put Wisconsin up 19-3, especially with Wisconsin’s top-ranked defense bottling up Iowa’s inconsistent offense.
That changed in a hurry, as the Hawkeyes scored on consecutive drives to pull within 19-17, scoring their first touchdowns against the Badgers’ defense since the fourth quarter of 2010.
In dire straits, Wisconsin turned to Gordon on three straight plays to rescue the team once again. On third-and-13, Gordon delivered on a 35-yard catch and run (the longest reception of his career), another 10-yard completion and a 23-yard run around the left side of the line to give UW a 26-17 lead midway through the fourth quarter.Although he finished with 200 rushing yards to tie Ron Dayne’s single season rushing mark, Gordon couldn’t do it all himself, however, which was where junior quarterback Joel Stave stepped in.
After Iowa (7-4, 4-3) passed its way into the end zone for the third time in the second half, Stave’s 12-yard scramble on third-and-8 clinched the victory for Wisconsin, the first one possession victory for the Badgers since beat Gary Andersen’s Utah State team in 2012.
full coverage from BadgerNation.com – the Internet’s No.1 Wisconsin subscriber siteAudio: Inside the Locker Room
5 plays, 7 yards, 2:30 TOP, 11:52 left
FG Rafael Gaglianone 50
Key Play: On Iowa's second offensive play, junior safety Michael Caputo put his hat right on the football on a carry by Mark Weisman, popping the ball out and giving the ball to Wisconsin on the Iowa 40.
14 plays, 79 yards, 7:51 TOP, 3:01 left
FG Marshall Koehn 26
Key Play: After getting drive extended by a running into the kicker penalty, Iowa completed a pair of third downs, including a 28-yard completion to Matt VandeBerg on third-and-3 to the Wisconsin 27.
7 plays, 70 yards, 3:48 TOP, 11:02 left
Tanner McEvoy 45-yard run (kick failed)
Key Play: Wisconsin loaded the backfield with its three biggest running weapons - Clement, Doe and Gordon - and fooled everybody, as Wisconsin faked the sweep left and McEvoy found a huge hole in the defense for the score.
12 plays, 73 yards, 6:35 TOP, 1:05 left
Melvin Gordon 6-yard run (Gaglianone kick)
Key Play: Continuing to step up in big situations, Troy Fumagalli hauled in a tough 12-yard pass over the middle on third-and-8, giving Joel Stave and the offense a first down at the Iowa 25.
5 plays, 88 yards, 2:47 TOP, 5:33 left
FG Gaglianone 22
Key Play: Iowa could only stop Melvin Gordon for so long. On a perfectly blocked gap around the left side, Gordon scampered for a career-long 88 yards down the UW sideline, finally getting tripped up at the Iowa 4.
7 plays, 70 yards, 2:48 TOP, 2:45 left
Kevonte Martin-Manley 20-yard pass from Jake Rudock (Canzeri rush)
Key Play: Jake Rudock and Tevaun Smith have hooked up for some big pass plays against Darius Hillary and UW's secondary. The latest one - a 31-yard - got Iowa down to the Wisconsin 29.
6 plays, 82 yards, 2:44 TOP, 11:10 left
Jake Rudock 3-yard run (pass failed)
Key Play: Although pinned at its own 18, Jake Rudock completed consecutive passes of 28 and 33 yards, putting Iowa down to the 21-yard line.
7 plays, 75 yards, 3:26 TOP, 7:44 left
Melvin Gordon 23-yard run (Gaglianone kick)
Key Play: On third-and-13, Melvin Gordon bailed out Wisconsin with a huge catch and run, sneaking out of the backfield for a killer 35-yard gain down to the Iowa 33.
7 plays, 86 yards, 2:43 TOP, 5:01 left
Jake Duzey 9-yard pass from Rudock (Koehn kick)
Key Play: Wisconsin's secondary leaking like a sieve, as Rudock was responsible for two pass plays and one run of over 20 yards to quickly get the Hawkeyes into the end zone.
Join the Badger conversation on Facebook! Go to our Facebook page and "like" us!