Turnovers doom Badgers vs. Iowa
MADISON—The Wisconsin Badgers have been almost impossible to beat at Camp Randall Stadium, but they couldn’t overcome four turnovers by quarterback Joel Stave in their Big Ten Conference opener against Iowa.
Jordan Canzeri ran for 125 yards and Iowa scored all of its points off turnovers to upset the 19th-ranked Badgers 10-6 on Saturday.
“We’ve got to protect the football in all areas and we obviously didn’t do that today,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said. “It had a huge part in the result of this game, obviously.”
Tight end George Kittle caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from C.J. Beathard in the second quarter for the only touchdown in the game and Iowa (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) beat a ranked opponent for the first time in its last 10 attempts.
Stave was intercepted twice by Iowa cornerback Desmond King and lost two fumbles, including midway through the fourth quarter on Iowa’s 1-yard line. The Wisconsin quarterback tripped and lost the ball while attempting to hand off to freshman Taiwan Deal. Iowa’s Faith Ekakitie recovered.
“Absolutely takes the wind out of your sail,” Chryst said.
Stave said one of his linemen stepped on his foot just after the snap.
“I got stepped on and just lost it with a lineman going down,” he said. “I guess I should just tuck it, but it happens quick. It was a disappointing play.”
Wisconsin (3-2, 0-1) had its 10-game home winning streak snapped, and lost for only the eighth time in its last 79 home games dating to 2004.
The Badgers started their final drive on their 47 and drove to the Iowa 16, but Stave’s fourth-down pass to Troy Fumagalli fell incomplete with 36 seconds to go.
Stave finished 21-for-38 for 234 yards despite the team’s leading receiver, Alex Erickson, leaving in the third quarter to undergo the concussion protocol.
“We’ve got to be better in a lot of areas, not all on him, but certainly he’d be the first to take responsibility in it, just as I do and everyone,” Chryst said. “We need to be better. We can be better.”
Wisconsin typically has a stronger running game than Iowa, but the Hawkeyes out-rushed the Badgers, who played without injured starter Corey Clement.
Deal had 15 attempts for 59 yards and starting halfback Dare Ogunbowale had 11 carries for only 28 yards as Wisconsin managed 86 rushing yards and was 4 of 13 on third-down conversions. The Badgers averaged 188 yards rushing in its first four games.
“It’s really hard, especially if you’re not good on third down in the pass game,” Chryst said of struggling to run. “There are going to be games when you are going to win it running the football and you’ve got to win it throwing the ball.
“I didn’t think we were consistent at either one today,” he said.
Despite the turnovers, Wisconsin only trailed 10-6 midway through the fourth quarter when Wisconsin’s Joe Schobert stripped Beathard and recovered the fumble at the Iowa 27. The Badgers drove to the Iowa 1 and tried to run Deal, at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, up the middle.
But Stave tripped and dropped the ball while falling. Deal tried to dive onto the ball, but Iowa recovered to end Wisconsin’s best chance to score in the fourth quarter.
The Hawkeyes scored all of their points in the second quarter after a pair of Stave turnovers.
Before allowing Iowa’s TD, the Badgers had played 115 minutes, 2 seconds without allowing a touchdown dating to the season-opening loss to Alabama. Wisconsin scored on a pair of 46-yard field goals by Rafael Gaglianone in the first and third quarters.
The win was the 120th in the Big Ten for Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, moving him ahead of Wisconsin’s Barry Alvarez for ninth in conference history.