A chance missed

A+chance+missed

Wisconsin was ready to take a 14-3 lead over Iowa with just minutes remaining in the second quarter.

The Badgers drove the ball from their own 25 to Hawkeyes’ 1-yard line, looking to build on its 7-3 lead. After having inched closer on first and second down, all-star running back Corey Clement took a handoff on third. He ran into a wall of Iowa defenders, but it looked as if he had crossed the goal line.

Then, all the sudden, the ball was loose in the back of the end zone. Cornerback Desmond King recovered it, and the Iowa offense then responded with a 7-play drive that ended in a 47-yard Miguel Recinos field goal as time expired, making it 7-6.

That, however, would be the closest the Hawkeyes would get to taking a lead in the eventual 17-9 defeat at the hands of the Badgers. Iowa had plenty of chances during the day; the ball seemed to just keep bouncing the Hawkeyes’ way.

“We have to develop a knack of becoming a little more opportunistic,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Some plays we left out there today certainly didn’t help our cause or momentum in the game, that type of thing.”

Oh, and the missed opportunities were everywhere. Wisconsin missed two field goals. Iowa recovered two of its own fumbles, one which was carried forward for a first down and actually extended a drive. Missed passes, missed blocks, missed routes, and a missed field goal near the end of the game from Hawkeye kicker Keith Duncan all helped dom the team.

Iowa was outgained 423-236, had possession for just 22:58 compared with Wisconsin’s 37:02, and was just 2-of-13 on third downs. Yet, somehow, it still managed to stay in the game until the very end.

Yes, the Badgers are good and ranked in the top 10, but this was a game Iowa could have won. Maybe even needed to win.

“We were limited in what we were able to do,” Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard said simply. “When you have the opportunity to kick four field goals, you want those to be four touchdowns.”

Issues with the offense certainly have not been exclusive to this game, and there’s more to Iowa losing this game than the offense only putting up 236 yards. When asked after the game, nearly every player said that Wisconsin had simply “executed” better than the Hawkeyes did.

And they’re absolutely right. Wisconsin was able to run the clock and ram the ball down Iowa’s throat for most of the game in a fairly efficient manner. Timely passing and converting 8-of-17 third downs also helped.

Basically, the Badgers were able to do all the things the Hawkeyes wanted to do but better. It made mistakes, certainly, but it could afford to, because Wisconsin was clearly the better team in this matchup.

Iowa again gave up big plays and again wasn’t able to make enough of their own. Outside of wide receiver Riley McCarron, the group managed just 2 catches for 12 yards. Running back Akrum Wadley was the leading receiver, catching 7 balls for 72 yards. He was also the leading rusher, with 10 carries for 44 yards.

At this point, the Hawkeyes are now all but out of the Big Ten West title race and have to figure out a way to salvage their season.

“This is all about us right now,” Wadley said. “We have to get back to what we do. We have to practice a little harder, I guess.”

Follow @JordyHansen for Iowa football news, updates, and analysis.

 

 

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