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Iowa has an 8-0 record, a No. 7 Associated Press ranking and a No. 4
Bowl Championship Series ranking, but the Hawkeyes have trailed in all
but one of their games this season.
Despite the four-game lead Iowa has on IU, the teams are almost
statistical reflections of one another. Other than Iowa’s daunting
defensive statistics, the teams would appear to be on equal footing.
The Hawkeyes (8-0) are led by a veteran defense that is among the nation’s best.
This season, Iowa is top-20 in the country for total defense, passing
defense, scoring defense and turnovers gained. It also leads Bowl
Championship Series teams in interceptions with 15 on the year.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Heading into halftime, IU held a 21-7 lead against the undefeated No. 7 Iowa Hawkeyes. The Hoosiers were poised to pull off the biggest win of their season. But then they played the second half.
Facing a Hawkeye team known for forcing turnovers, challenging
quarterbacks and shutting down opponents to end games, IU’s offensive
production all but vanished in the second half.
For the second week in a row, the Hoosiers were up by a double-digit margin at halftime against a Big Ten opponent.
In a 42-24 loss at Iowa, the Hoosiers, for the second consecutive week,
saw a comfortable lead disappear and a previously dominated game lost.
Again, the game featured an unstoppable IU team in the first half and a
group of patsies in the second.
The Hoosiers competed in five roller coaster games in October, the most of any month.
Before Adrian Burks could put on the pads as a starting cornerback, he had to put on a dress.
On the Thursday afternoon before IU’s matchup against Illinois, senior
safety Collin Taylor ran out onto the practice field as he normally
does. Except this time, he heard the voice of IU co-defensive coordinator Joe Palcic yell to him.
John Clay, the big, bruising 248-pound Badger running back who anchors the Wisconsin
offense, averages 104.9 rushing yards per game and has scored 10
touchdowns – four more than any other running back in the Big Ten.
A main issue plaguing IU this season has been a lack of production in
the fourth quarter. But despite scoring 14 points in the final period
against Wisconsin, it was still not enough to earn the victory.
After two weeks of giving up leads in the fourth quarter, IU played the comeback role today. But it wasn’t enough.
While their season may be dying, there will be no white flags raised on the IU sideline in the final stretch.
Going into its matchup with No. 24 Wisconsin on Saturday, IU knew exactly what to expect from the Badgers’ top rushing attack. But it didn’t matter.
Saturday’s football game at Memorial Stadium provided a different storyline for the Hoosiers.
The Bowl Championship Series is going to oust deserving teams again, and this time
there is a possibility that the damage might extend to multiple schools.
Late in the second quarter against Wisconsin, IU’s offense was struggling with only 55 yards the entire half. So it turned to a group that’s paced the offense all season – the wide receivers.
As coach of Penn State for the past 43 seasons, Joe Paterno has been
around football long enough to understand the importance of never
looking past an opponent.
The terms “must-win,” “do or die” and “win or go home” will have their
place in every preview of Saturday’s game, but they aren’t points of
emphasis within the Memorial Stadium walls.