Notes: UW's Defense Survives Off Day

After carrying the team throughout much of the season, Wisconsin's defense finally stepped aside for the offense, which the Badgers needed down the stretch to seal its sixth straight victory with a 26-24 decision over Iowa.

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Marcus Trotter admitted he was a little nervous.

Up 26-24 with 5:01 to go, the Badgers’ defense – suddenly started to leak oil in the final 20 minutes – thought they would have one more chance to redeem themselves.

They never got the chance, which was just fine for Trotter to happily end a tough day at the offense.

“We knew that the offense had our back the whole game,” said Trotter, as No.14 Wisconsin relied on its offense to seal the two-point victory over Iowa Saturday. “I’m so happy and proud of the offense. Offensive line just kept grinding out the whole game, and Melvin Gordon with all the plays he did. We’re happy with how it ended up.”

Wisconsin entered the weekend with the nation’s top defense, allowing 244.0 yards per game and the third-best pass defense, 147.3 yards per game, but the Badgers had no answer for Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock.

Rudock finished 20-for-30 for 311 yards – his second career 300-yard game – and two touchdowns. He also ran for a touchdown, as Iowa’s 412 yards of offense was the most the Badgers had allowed all season. Iowa also went 2-for-2 on fourth down.

“The quarterback threw some very nice balls, did a very nice job,” said Andersen. “I thought our pass rushing wasn’t good enough and to their credit they blocked us well…You let a quarterback get in a rhythm, we’re going to have some problems.”

The Badgers started rolling early by forcing a fumble on Iowa’s second play of the game, which the offense converted into three points, but couldn’t generate much pressure on the Hawkeyes after halftime.

Iowa gained 271 of its yards in the second half, including 153 in the fourth quarter, as the Badgers allowed two fourth-quarter touchdown drives for the first time since Oct.11.

“We still got a lot of work to do, especially on the defensive side,” said Trotter. “We pride ourselves as the number one defense in the country, and today we did not show that.”

Dropped to Second

Gordon’s reign as the FBS single game rushing record holder lasted just one week.

Oklahoma freshman tailback Samaje Perine took away the title with a 427-yard, five-touchdown performance in the Sooners’ 44-7 home victory over Kansas.

Perine broke the record on a 42-yard run on his 34th and final carry in the fourth quarter with the Sooners up 41-7, roughly the same time the Gordon and the Badgers were in the early minutes of the second quarter.

Gordon broke TCU tailback LaDainian Tomlinson’s 15 year record on only 25 carries against No.11 Nebraska, doing it on his final carry at the end of the third quarter.

“That’s tough,” said quarterback Tanner McEvoy. “Maybe he’ll break it again next weekend.”

A Change in Uniform

The classic “motion w” uniform look has been a mainstay for Wisconsin’s program for decades, but Andersen hasn’t been opposed to updating the wardrobe over the last two seasons.

Wisconsin debuted a new look for its rivalry game when the Badgers switched out their traditional red facemasks for white ones to pair with their white helmets.

The Badgers debuted red helmets and black facemasks with a white “motion w” last season and have worn that look seven times under Andersen. That look has proved to be a good luck charm, as Wisconsin has won all seven games those games by a combined score of 298-78.

Extra Points: Wisconsin won three straight games in Iowa City for the first time since the Badgers won four-straight from 1907-1928 ... Fifth-year senior safety Peniel Jean made a career-high seven tackles and sophomore nose tackle Arthur Goldberg tied a career-high five tackles … Despite his missed extra point, Rafael Gaglianone has made 10 straight field goals, including a 50-yard kick in the first quarter … The game had four official reviews and one Wisconsin challenge, none of which went in the Badgers favor … Andersen said Corey Clement (right arm/shoulder) was limited for precautionary reasons, making it sound like he was injured sometime after the Nebraska game, but should be ready for the Minnesota game.

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