Staff Predictions - No.18 Wisconsin at Iowa

Staff Predictions - No.18 Wisconsin at Iowa

Football

Staff Predictions - No.18 Wisconsin at Iowa

Wisconsin opens conference play in a tough road venue tonight, taking on undefeated Iowa (3-0) at Kinnick Stadium. The Badgers Insider Staff gives our game and score prediction.

Brian Becker – Wisconsin 24, Iowa 20

Wisconsin has won its last four road games in Iowa City but none of the victories have come comfortably. After the surprising loss to BYU, and Iowa moving to 3-0 at home, this should be another classic battle between the two programs.

Ultimately what this game will come down to is whether or not Alex Hornibrook can get into a rhythm on offense. If Hornibrook puts together a similar performance like he did against Miami in the Orange Bowl, the Badgers should win. The problem with Hornibrook through three games is his inconsistencies. UW needs to be better on third after going 4-for-13 against BYU and facing an Iowa defense holding opponents to 32 percent (13-for-40) on the down.

On the flip side, Wisconsin’s defensive line will need to get the better push to allow its linebackers to make plays in the backfield. Specifically, Wisconsin’s rush defense needs to do a better job of setting the edge and limiting outside runs. If Andrew Van Ginkel can’t play tonight, the rest of Wisconsin linebackers need to put forth a better collective effort than the one delivered last week. Outside of limiting chunk plays by Iowa rushing the football, the Badgers will need to be cognizant of Iowa’s two tight ends, Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson, who have combined for 24 receptions and 253 yards.

Although Wisconsin didn’t look great in its nonconference finale, the Badgers haven’t had a two-game losing streak under head coach Paul Chryst, a sign that this team knows how to rebound. UW finds a way to win.

Becker’s Record: 2-1

Billy Hirschfeld – Wisconsin 17, Iowa 14

This rivalry game is almost always a low scoring game and I expect to see another one here. How fitting that it will be decided by a field goal late in the fourth quarter. Rafael Gaglianone hits a redemption kick for last week and UW survives.

Hirschfeld’s Record: 2-1

Logan Samp – Wisconsin 21, Iowa 17

A classic ground-and-pound Big Ten clash comes our way tonight. Wisconsin is hungry to get back on track and live up to the preseason hype after last week’s shocking home loss, while Iowa is looking to prove its 3-0 start isn’t a fluke. Both teams will try to dictate the pace of the game and the battle up front on both sides of the ball will be a determining factor. That being the case, you have to side with Wisconsin in a bounce back from a loss to BYU. It certainly won’t be pretty, but I think the Badgers put a late score on the board in the fourth quarter to win this game

Samp’s Record: 2-1

Benjamin Worgull – Wisconsin 24, Iowa 21

The health of Van Ginkel is a huge factor in this game. He’s Wisconsin’s best edge rusher and can create all sorts of chaos when he is on the field. Removing him from the equation is a huge loss for a UW defense that is exceptionally young up front and showed us as much last weekend. Can UW pressure quarterback Nate Stanley enough to get him off his edge like last year, allowing the Badgers’ secondary – many of whom will be playing in their first rivalry game – a chance to make a play against Iowa’s talented receivers and tight ends?

Bottom line, however, the key to a win tonight for Wisconsin is its quarterback. Alex Hornibrook has to play significantly better than the way he played last week. Iowa will most certainly crowd the box after seeing BYU do it and the success the Cougars had in making UW one dimensional. If Hornibrook can’t hit open targets and play turnover free, forget it.

I’ve waffled on this pick and the 3.5-point spread all week. It came down to this for me: Wisconsin hasn’t played two clunkers in a row under Chryst, who has the ability to flip the script and keep the focus of the group. Somehow, someway, UW delivers a much-needed performance in a very tough night venue.

Worgull’s Record: 2-1

Worgull’s Record vs. spread: 2-1

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