(Saturday, October 23rd)
Final Score: (10) Wisconsin 31, (13) Iowa 30
Iowa City, IA (Sports Network) - Montee Ball's reviewed touchdown with 1:06 left capped a drive during which Wisconsin converted two fourth downs, including one on a fake punt, and lifted the 10th-ranked Badgers to a 31-30 victory over No. 13 Iowa at Kinnick Stadium.
Scott Tolzien threw for 205 yards and a touchdown, and rebounded from a fourth-quarter interception to lead the game-winning drive. John Clay ran for 91 yards and two scores for the Badgers (7-1, 3-1 Big Ten), who were coming off last week's dethroning of top-ranked Ohio State.
Wisconsin, which will bring the Heartland Trophy back to Madison, has won three in a row.
Ricky Stanzi passed for 258 yards and three touchdowns for the Hawkeyes (5-2, 2-1), who had won their last three and came up short on their final possession. Iowa also had an extra point blocked in the first quarter.
Wisconsin began the decisive drive with 8:35 left to play, but looked to be in trouble when they faced a fourth down on the first set of downs.
But the Badgers caught Iowa off-guard, as punter Brad Nortman ran unimpeded for 17 yards up the middle.
"That was something that we had seen on film," said Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema. "With the scheme that we run from a punt standpoint, certain teams are going to defend it differently and we had seen that they had gone with two edge pressures and were covering down. We made that call once I saw them send out the punt return unit. Great execution, great faith."
Tolzien later found tight end Jacob Pedersen for 12 yards on third down, pushing the ball to the Iowa 40. Wisconsin then faced its second fourth down, but Ball hauled in Tolzien's slightly low pass over the middle as he fell. The seven-yard completion gave the Badgers a first down at the Iowa 27.
Wisconsin continued to move the ball and reached the eight before calling a play for Ball. The running back met resistance, but drove the pile toward the end zone and stretched his right hand for the goal line as he was being tackled. Ball was initially ruled down at the one, but it was called a touchdown upon review. The extra point from Philip Welch put Wisconsin in front.
Iowa still had a chance, and with 66 seconds to play and three timeouts, a field goal was very much a possibility. Stanzi completed a 13-yard pass to Allen Reisner to get the ball to midfield, but was sacked by J.J. Watt for an 11-yard loss on the next play, forcing the Hawkeyes to use their first timeout with 26 seconds on the clock.
Stanzi got the ball to the Wisconsin 42 with a 20-yard pass to Marvin McNutt, but because of the sack, it wasn't a first down. Iowa used its second timeout with 14 seconds left before Stanzi took a keeper for three yards. The clock temporarily stopped with the first down, but Stanzi had to use the Hawkeyes' final timeout because of some offensive confusion.
With 12 seconds to play, Stanzi dished a shovel pass to Adam Robinson, who wasn't close to getting out of bounds, and the clock ran out to seal Wisconsin's victory.
"We didn't play well enough to win. That's the first thing that comes to mind," Stanzi said. "We left a lot of plays out there and didn't have what it takes to play a great game. Our hats go off to them. They outplayed us in every way throughout the entire ball game."
That also ended a frantic, back-and-forth second half during which the teams combined for 38 points.
Iowa held a 13-10 halftime lead, but Wisconsin moved in front on its first possession of the third quarter. The Badgers used a mix of passes and runs to methodically move downfield, then gave the ball to Clay near the goal line.
He was stuffed for a one-yard gain to create a 4th-and-1 from the two. But Clay powered into the end zone on the next play for a 17-13 lead, ending the 80-yard drive that lasted nearly 6 1/2 minutes.
Iowa, though, countered with a 45-yard touchdown strike from Stanzi. Derrell Johnson-Koulianos lined up on the left side of the field and became wide open when his defender, Niles Brinkley, slipped and fell. Johnson-Koulianos made the catch over his shoulder and easily ran into the end zone as Iowa grabbed a 20-17 advantage with 3:08 left in the quarter.
David Gilreath returned the ensuing kickoff 37 yards to midfield, and Wisconsin used the good position as a springboard for a quick score. Tolzien's 30-yard pass to Isaac Anderson set up Clay's two-yard plunge with 1:01 on the clock.
The Hawkeyes then embarked on a long possession that stretched into the fourth quarter. The 80-yard march ended with Stanzi's six-yard floater to McNutt in the back of the end zone, as Iowa assumed a 27-24 edge with 10:16 to play.
Iowa had a big chance to extend that lead after Brett Greenwood jumped a route and intercepted Tolzien on the first play of Wisconsin's next drive. But despite getting the ball at the Badger 26, the Hawkeyes couldn't get a first down and settled for a 40-yard field goal from Michael Meyer.
Wisconsin got deep into Iowa territory on the game's opening drive, taking more than eight minutes off the clock, but settled for a 33-yarder from Welch.
Iowa then scored on a one-yard run by Robinson, but the PAT was blocked.
"It ends up being the game," Bielema said. "It's a good example of how our guys play every snap. J.J. burst through there."
The Badgers grabbed a 10-6 lead thanks to Tolzien's seven-yard pass to Bradie Ewing nearly three minutes into the second quarter.
But Iowa went back in front late in the half. On a 3rd-and-goal from the three, receiver Colin Sandeman set a pick to free Reisner, who made the easy catch in the left flat and got into the end zone with 16 seconds to play.
Wisconsin snapped a two-game slide in the series, which is tied 42-42-2...The Badgers' last win in Iowa City was in 2006...Tolzien completed 20-of-26 passes, while Stanzi was 25-of-37 with no interceptions...Wisconsin entered the game averaging 232.7 rushing yards per game, but was limited to 142 on Saturday...Robinson had 114 yards on 23 carries for Iowa, while Johnson- Koulianos hauled in five balls for 93 yards. McNutt finished with seven receptions for 70 yards...Former Iowa running back Shonn Greene, who won the 2008 Doak Walker Award and now plays for the New York Jets, served as an honorary captain.
10/23 22:45:02 ET