The Wisconsin Badgers will be looking to remain atop the Big Ten West when they face the Iowa Hawkeyes in Madison, Wis., on Saturday in a matchup of the only two teams in the division with winning conference records.
Wisconsin (4-1, 2-0 Big Ten) is coming off a 24-13 conference victory against visiting Rutgers. Defensive-minded Iowa (5-1, 2-1) posted a 20-14 home victory last week against Purdue, a team the Badgers beat 38-17 on Sept. 22. All of the other teams in the West Division have at least two conference losses.
Cornerback Ricardo Hallman keyed Wisconsin’s win over Rutgers with a 95-yard interception return for a touchdown that put the Badgers up 17-0. Wisconsin held Rutgers to 64 yards on the ground and 275 yards of total offense.
Badgers junior running back Braelon Allen, who rushed for over 1,200 yards in each of his first two seasons, ran for 101 yards versus the Scarlet Knights. Wisconsin quarterback Tanner Mordecai has completed 64.2 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and three interceptions while averaging 204.2 yards per game.
The Badgers put up 31.4 points per game while allowing 18.4. Wisconsin averages 413.4 total yards of offense and is giving up 355.0. Iowa allows 16.3 points and 324.5 yards per game.
“I think if you just ask me over time of everything that I’ve watched and studied and learned about Iowa, it starts with they’re physical and tough,” Wisconsin coach Luke Fickell said on Monday about the Hawkeyes’ defense.
Iowa has struggled on offense, managing just 291 yards against Purdue, including 110 through the air. The Hawkeyes rank last in the nation with an average of 249.2 yards per game.
Deacon Hill, who transferred to Iowa after two seasons as a reserve at Wisconsin, has taken over at quarterback for injured Cade McNamara. Hill has completed 21 of 56 passes for 274 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Hill, who was 6-for-21 against Purdue, hasn’t had much time to look ahead to returning to Madison, where he played in just one game.
“We’ll see (this week) when we start looking at some film, but I haven’t really thought about it much,” Hill said.
Iowa averages just 119.3 yards per game on the ground, but Kaleb Johnson returned from injury to produce 134 yards on 17 attempts against Purdue, including a 67-yard touchdown run.
Iowa topped Wisconsin 24-10 last season at home, but the Badgers have won eight of the past 11 matchups, including three straight in Madison.