Grading Iowa football’s 24-10 victory over Wisconsin

Sports Editor Chloe Peterson graded the Hawkeyes in all three phases following their sixth win of the season.


Grace Smith

Iowa defensive back Cooper DeJean returns a pick six during a football game between Iowa and Wisconsin at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022. DeJean had 10 tackles and an interception. The Hawkeyes, defeated the Badgers, 24-10.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Editor

Iowa football became bowl eligible with a 24-10 victory over Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon.

The Hawkeyes are now 6-4 on the season and 4-3 in conference play, rounding out a four-way tie for first place in the Big Ten West Division with Illinois, Minnesota, and Purdue.

Following the final whistle, Sports Editor Chloe Peterson graded the Hawkeyes in all three phases:

Offense — C-

Iowa’s offense really was starting to improve. Then, it began to regress again. But the Hawkeye offense scored when it had to on Saturday afternoon.

The Hawkeyes’ longest scoring drive on Saturday was 27 yards, and Iowa came out of that with a field goal.

Iowa did score two touchdowns on offense, but it only needed 35 total yards to do so. 

Thanks to a blocked punt, Iowa started its first touchdown drive on Wisconsin’s 17-yard line. Two plays later, true freshman Kaleb Johnson found the end zone with a 4-yard rush. 

Iowa ran five plays to finish an 18-yard drive to the end zone in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Spencer Petras dove into the end zone for his second rushing touchdown of the season.

The Hawkeyes’ offensive line struggled again on Saturday afternoon. Offensive lineman Beau Stephens left the game with an injury, and the Hawkeyes allowed six total sacks. Iowa lost 41 yards on Petras sacks on Saturday. The Hawkeyes’ line also allowed Wisconsin linebacker Nick Herbig to force a fumble in the first quarter.

Iowa’s ground game also struggled on Saturday. Counting Petras’ loss of yards on sacks, Iowa picked up just 52 rushing yards. Johnson was the Hawkeyes’ leading rusher with 57 yards on 22 carries. Against Purdue on Nov. 5, Johnson tallied 200 yards on 22 carries.

Overall, the Hawkeyes picked up just 146 yards of offense. Petras went 14-of-23 for 94 yards and zero passing touchdowns.

Defense — A

Other than one play, the Hawkeye defense was flawless on Saturday afternoon.

Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz notched the Badgers’ lone touchdown of the game on a third-and-18 play in the second quarter. He threw a 51-yard pass to wide receiver Keontez Lewis, who blew by Hawkeye cornerback Riley Moss to catch the ball and get to the end zone.

But the Hawkeye defense, specifically defensive back Cooper DeJean, made up for that play. DeJean intercepted a pass from Mertz at Wisconsin’s 32-yard line in the second quarter, returning the ball to the end zone for Iowa’s first touchdown on the day. It was DeJean’s second pick six of the season.

DeJean also recorded 10 tackles on Saturday afternoon, trailing only linebacker Jack Campbell for the Hawkeyes’ team high.

The Hawkeye defense had no problem getting to Mertz on Saturday afternoon, sacking him four times for a total loss of 20 yards. Sophomore defensive end Deontae Craig led the Hawkeyes with 1.5 sacks. Joe Evans and Lukas Van Ness both tallied a sack, while Logan Lee registered half a sack.

Special teams — A+

Iowa’s special teams did everything right on Saturday afternoon.

Craig broke through multiple defenders to block the first punt of his career in the second quarter. Linebacker Jay Higgins recovered the blocked punt, setting the Hawkeyes up for a score on the Badgers’ 17-yard line.

DeJean, the Hawkeyes’ newly crowned punt returner, registered a 41-yard return in the fourth quarter, giving the Hawkeyes the ball at the Badger 17-yard line. DeJean’s return led to Petras’ rushing touchdown.

To top off Iowa’s scoring against Wisconsin, kicker Drew Stevens made a 44-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. He also cashed in on all three of his extra point attempts. 

Punter Tory Taylor averaged 43.4 yards per boot on Saturday, punting nine times for 391 total yards.