No. 8 Wisconsin smothers No. 20 Iowa, 38-14
MADISON, Wis. (AP) Kendric Pryor scored twice, and No. 6 Wisconsin relied on stifling defense to overcome four turnovers and Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson’s two touchdowns in a 38-14 win Saturday over the Hawkeyes.
The win allowed the Badgers (10-0, 7-0 Big Ten, CFP No. 8) to clinch a trip to the conference title game as West champions.
Credit their defense for another overpowering outing at chilly Camp Randall Stadium.
Leon Jacobs recovered two fumbles – one returned for a score – and fellow linebacker T.J. Edwards had an interception for the Badgers, who shut down an Iowa offense that had overwhelmed Ohio State last week.
“They’re a good team … so we had to prove a point,” Jacobs said.
The Hawkeyes (6-4, 3-4, CFP No. 20) were held to 66 total yards and five first downs, including just 15 yards and one first down in the first half.
Wisconsin turnovers kept the Hawkeyes in the game. Remarkably, Jackson accounted for all their points . The junior scored on interception returns of 43 and 52 yards, the latter coming with 11:18 left in the third quarter to get the Hawkeyes within 17-14.
The Badgers’ defense wanted to get in on the fun, too.
Jacobs scooped up a loose ball about 4 minutes later after a bad snap on third-and-10, running 21 yards to the end zone to give Wisconsin another 10-point lead.
“Their defense, better than advertised – not that they haven’t been playing well,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.
League-leading rusher Jonathan Taylor had 157 yards on 29 carries, but fumbled twice, losing one. Alex Hornibrook was 11 of 18 for 135 yards with two touchdowns and the three interceptions.
“Our offense struggled a little bit early, but we always have got their backs, just like they have ours,” Edwards said.
Iowa: Don’t throw at Jackson, the junior who came into the afternoon leading the country with 20 passes defended. A week after tying the school record with three interceptions in a game, Jackson tied another Iowa record with two interceptions returned for touchdowns in a game.
“Our defense tried to keep us in the football game,” Ferentz said. “But at the end of the day, we just couldn’t do the things you have to do to have any kind of a chance.”
Wisconsin: Hornibrook has now thrown 11 interceptions in Big Ten play, which isn’t ideal especially for a run-first offense. Taylor had a second fumble recovered by a teammate near the goal line in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach. The Badgers continue to get bogged down by mistakes in spite of a season-long effort by coach Paul Chryst to get the offense to cut down on miscues. Imagine how good Wisconsin might be without the turnovers.
Iowa: Hosts Purdue next Saturday.
Wisconsin: The Badgers face another ranked team in No. 21 Michigan at Camp Randall next week.