The Iowa football team will try to get the upper hand against Wisconsin on Saturday when the Hawkeyes host the 22nd ranked Badgers in Kinnick Stadium.
Kick off is set for 11 a.m. and the overall series is all square at 42-42-2. The last meeting resulted in a 31-30 Badger win in 2010 at Kinnick Stadium.
Here are a few notes about this year’s Heartland Trophy Game.
The game against Wisconsin will be the annual “Blackout” game and fans are encouraged to wear black Hawkeye attire.
Aside from that, the university also will be issuing red, white and blue pom poms to honor Veteran’s Day.
“The fact that we don’t play a home football game the Saturday prior to our country’s annual Veterans Day should not be reason to not show our appreciation for those who have served our country and those who are currently serving our country,” said Rick Klatt, the UI’s associate athletics director for external relations.
“Saturday is ‘Blackout Saturday’ for fans of the Hawkeyes. It’s also the Heartland Trophy game and a renewal of one of the most competitive rivalries in college football. Adding this splash of red, white, and blue as a reminder of the celebrations that will occur next weekend all across our country will add to the energy and excitement of what promises to be a great afternoon in one of college football’s most outstanding venues.”
Searching for a bowl bid
The Hawkeyes started last year 4-2 but were shut out of a bowl after losing their final six games. Iowa currently has five wins and a victory over the Badgers would make the Hawkeyes bowl eligible.
Iowa still a road game against a below-average Purdue team, but it wouldn’t hurt to get the eligibility out of the way.
The Hawkeyes are 5-3 this year and the three losses were to teams with a combined 23-1 record. The Hawkeyes have also led in every game they have played in this year.
Pete McMahon is honorary captain
Former University of Iowa offensive lineman Pete McMahon will serve as honorary captain when the Hawkeyes hosts Wisconsin on Saturday in Kinnick Stadium.
McMahon joined the Hawkeye program as a walk-on from Dubuque, Iowa (Wahlert HS) and played a key role in Iowa’s success while earning letters each year of his career, 2001-04. He started every game as a senior, taking over the right tackle position while helping the Hawkeyes earn a share of the 2004 Big Ten title.
McMahon was 38-12 in his four years at Iowa and helped the Hawkeyes share Big Ten titles in 2002 and 2004. He also played in four straight bowl games.
McMahon earned honorable mention all-Big Ten honors as a senior and was named a permanent team captain on offense.
The former Hawkeye will accompany the Iowa captains to the center of the field for Saturday’s pregame coin toss. He also will be with the Hawkeyes in the locker room before and after the game, and on the sidelines during the contest.
Stopping the Run
Wisconsin has two outstanding running backs in Melvin Gordon and James White. Both of them could get 20 carries as the contest is expected to be won in the trenches.
Iowa loves to run the ball, but it also is one of the best teams in the nation at stopping it. The Hawkeyes have only allowed two rushing touchdowns – both to Ohio State – this year.
The Badgers lead the Big Ten on the ground, averaging 295 rushing yards per game, but Iowa has held its opponent to under their rushing average in seven of the eight games played this year. The Hawkeyes are surrendering just 128 rushing yards per game, which ranks fifth in conference play.
There is speculation out of Iowa City that the Hawkeyes have been working on a few fake punt packages that involve Quinton Alston.
I will believe this when I see it because Ferentz is still the coach, but don’t be shocked if you see it called in a close game late or early when the coaching staff is trying to gain momentum on its homefield.
Whenever these two teams play, you can almost be assured that it will be a close game. The Hawkeyes and Badgers both same a similar brand of football and both are physical teams that hope to establish the run early and often.
This will be the 87th meeting in the series, and Iowa has won two of the last three and six of the last nine in the series with an all-time advantage of 24-16-1 in Iowa City.
The Hawkeyes keep this one close for awhile – and even lead again at halftime – but Wisconsin continues to move toward another quality bowl game with a road win.
Wisconsin 23, Iowa 21