New quarterback? Yes. Different result? No.
With the offense again struggling to find its rhythm, Iowa's talented running back Shonn Greene gave the Hawkeyes all the offense they would need, rushing for 217 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-16 blowout over Wisconsin.
The loss drops Wisconsin under .500 this late in the season for the first time since 2001 and 0-4 in the Big Ten for the first time since 1996.
The running performance of Greene was a statement of how good the 5-11, 235-pound back is and how poor the Wisconsin defense is playing.
In his career-high rushing performance, Greene had touchdown runs of 52, 34, 34, and 12 yards for Iowa (5-3 overall, 2-2), becoming the only player in the country with over 100 yards in his first eight games of the season.
"We're not playing with good fundamentals and not doing the things we need to do," senior Mike Newkirk said. "This wasn't something we expected or something we wished for. We have to find a way to get us out of this rut."
Tackling was again an issue for Wisconsin, as Greene never would have reached 200-plus yards had the Badgers been fundamentally sound. On Greene's third touchdown, his longest of the season, the junior made the Badgers look foolish on a safety blitz, as Greene shook Jay Valai and had a clear few to the end zone.
On three of Greene's four touchdowns, the Badger defense had a legitimate chance to stop the running back before maximum damage had been done and couldn't connect.
"He's a good player," Valai said of Greene. "He's a big boy and that's the thing right there. He's strong but we go against P.J. and Clay everyday so that's no excuse. We need to make tackles and need to hit back. We've got to man up and that's the biggest thing right there."
With Sherer making his first career start, it was obvious that the junior was nervous. Unfortunately, Sherer, who looked fairly crisp in the second half against Penn State looked no better than the man he replaced in the first half. Sherer was 10-for-20 in the first half for 100 yards and had few legitimate touchdown scoring chances, as he was inaccurate with his throws, often over throwing his receivers which nearly cost UW two first-half interceptions.
Despite, the Badgers were still within reach in the second half.
After watching Greene score Iowa's first two scores, Wisconsin (3-4 overall, 0-4) started to chip away before and after halftime, managing nine-consecutive points off the foot of Phil Welch. The freshman kicker, who only registered two kickoffs last week, had a well-rested leg, making field goals of 42, 40 and 35 yards to get the Badgers within five points, 14-9, with 10 minutes left.
Those positive thoughts were short lived, as Greene scored on his 52-yard run and less than four minutes later, Iowa added another nail to the Badgers' coffin, as quarterback Ricky Stanzi connected with wide receiver Brandon Myers to push the Iowa lead to 19.
"Things were going well, but you can't have a slip up like that," said Newkirk referring to the 52-yard touchdown. "Momentum is a big thing in this game and the offense was starting to get going by putting some points up on the board. We were playing good and a play like that takes you right back to where you were. We need to play more consistently."
Greene did come back for an encore performance. Running around the right end, Greene was hardly bothered on his way to his fourth touchdown, as he shook an early tackle attempt from Chris Maragos on his way to a 32-yard touchdown run, his third touchdown run of 30 yards or longer.
Things never got much better for Sherer. With the Badgers missing left tackle Gabe Carimi and right guard Kraig Urbik because of injuries, Sherer was on the run virtually the entire afternoon, forcing to scramble outside the pocket and throw on the run nearly every series.
Sherer finished the day with 17-for-34 for 161 yards (all career highs) and was picked off twice by Iowa linebacker Pat Angerer in the second half, further adding to Wisconsin's offensive woes.
"I've got to play a lot better and the team has got to play a lot better," Sherer said. "We kind of have to go back to square one at the beginning of camp in order to get things right because I am sure as you can see, things are not going right."
While the Iowa defense held Wisconsin without a touchdown for the game's first 55 minutes, the day belonged to Greene from the start. On Iowa's opening drive, Greene carried the ball five times on Iowa's seven-play scoring drive, scoring his first touchdown on a huge hole in Wisconsin's defensive line.
Greene was far from finished making the Badger defense look foolish. The following quarter, Greene broke four tackles on his way to the end zone, juking free safety Chris Maragos, shaking strong safety Jay Valai and running through two arm tackles on his way into the end zone.
In the first half alone, Greene rushed for 97 yards on 13 carries, eclipsing the 1,000-yard barrier for the season.
With the Hawkeyes continuing to pile on yardage and points and the Badgers offense continuing to be unproductive, the Badgers had little hope of salvaging anything from Iowa City once they fell behind on the scoreboard.
"We're going to take a very critical look at everything that we're doing and we'll get as simple as we need to get," Bielema said. "We need to get better at something because right now, we're not very good in all areas of the game. The team that is beating Wisconsin the most is Wisconsin."