That could be used to describe both Wisconsin's defensive performance against Iowa as well as the way the Badgers have run through the Big Ten West.
Not all was perfect, of course, but what can be considered the best effort by a Wisconsin defense ever (more on that below), the Badgers steamrolled Iowa 38-14, clinching the division title and a spot in the Big Ten title game.
Iowa, which last week racked up 487 yards and 55 points against Ohio State, could do nothing on offense against the Badgers' swarming D, gaining a paltry 66 yards of offense and failing to get a first down on all 13 of its third-down attempts. The Hawkeyes had just two of their 14 drives last over two minutes, and those went for just 2:50 and 2:54 (neither of which ended up in points). In addition, the defense had a score and weren't called for any penalties. Like we said, utter domination.
Offensively, Wisconsin churned out 247 yards on the ground, with Jonathan Taylor gaining 157 of those.
However … Alex Hornibrook's recent struggles continued as he threw three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns by Iowa's Joshua Jackson. Jonathan Taylor also fumbled twice with Iowa recovering one, giving him four lost fumbles this season.
The defense helped bail out the turnover issue against Iowa, and Hornibrook did recover to throw a couple of touchdowns, but clearly if there's a bugaboo standing in the way of the Badgers' college playoff hopes, it's too many turnovers -- Wisconsin now has 19, although still is a plus-3 in turnover margin and 10-0 on the season.
We're loathe to hand out an individual award to a unit -- although if there ever was a time this would be it -- and there's plenty of players on the defense who had standout games. But we're going to go with linebacker Ryan Connelly, who made just the second start of the season and 10th of his career with Chris Orr sidelined. Connelly had a team-high nine tackles, no one else on Wisconsin had more than five, to go with two tackles-for-loss, sack, forced fumble and quarterback hurry. Even his hurry led to a fumble, as Connelly and the defense had Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley under duress all day. Connelly also had a big stop late in the second quarter, getting in to the backfield quickly (this was a common theme of the day for him) and stopping Akrum Wadley, nearly getting a safety. Iowa had to punt from its 1 and after a good return by Nick Nelson to the Hawkeyes 26, Wisconsin got a touchdown right before half to make it 17-7 -- all the points the Badgers would need.
USA TODAY SportsJerome Miron
DON'T FORGET ABOUT ME
Speaking of players stepping up for injured teammates, one of the big questions coming into this game was how would Wisconsin replace the production of leading wide receiver Quintez Cephus? Turns out the Badgers got production from a few players, but Kendric Pryor was the most notable. The redshirt freshman had only six catches for 80 yards. He had only one reception against Iowa, but it was Cephus-like, as he went up for a high pass and made a catch over an Iowa defender for the above-mentioned score which made it 17-7. Pryor actually got his first collegiate touchdown earlier in the second quarter. Lined up tight in the formation, Pryor took a handoff on an end around after a fake handoff and, thanks in part to a crushing block by Tyler Biadasz, ran 25 yards for Wisconsin's first touchdown. Only two touches, but boy were they big -- and needed in a half when the Badgers' offense was shooting itself in the foot way too often.
With Wisconsin clinging to a 17-14 lead, Iowa had the ball but it was third-and-10. Quarterback Nate Stanley was pointing and yelling out directions when suddenly the ball was snapped, bouncing off the QB's chest and rolling free. It kicked around a bit, but then appeared by the side of Badgers linebacker Leon Jacobs, who was kneeling on the ground. Jacobs reached for the ball, pulled back, and then got his knees off the ground -- so he wouldn't be down -- when he picked it up. The heads-up play -- quite frankly it was one of the smartest plays I've ever seen -- allowed Jacobs to run 21 yards for a touchdown and give Wisconsin a little breathing room. Former Badgers running back Dare Ogunbowale, who was known for his football smarts, tweeted after the play: "You know how much poise you have to make a play like that?!" It was one of two fumble recoveries for Jacobs, matching the second-highest total in a game in Badgers history, done by 17 others (the last: Chris Borland on Nov 23, 2013 vs. Minnesota).
47. This stands for Wisconsin's 47-yard line, which Iowa's offense never crossed. Wisconsin has had only one better defensive performance in terms of yards allowed, 45 against Temple in 2005 -- and that was an Owls team which finished 0-11. Iowa's longest play was 10 yards -- and there was only one of those. With the game out of hand, the Hawkeyes still could only gain 10 yards in fourth quarter. Iowa didn't convert one third down; on those plays, Iowa was 0-for-6 passing with two sacks and had five rushes for 2 yards. Did we mention that the 66 yards were the third-fewest by any team ranked in the AP top 25 over the last 20 years? As we said up top, total dom-in-ation.
USA TODAY SportsJeff Hanisch
THEY SAID IT
"You have to start with, that was a heck of a performance by our defense. Credit to the coaches for the plan, and the players went out and executed it. I thought they played with confidence, and obviously put in some tough situations, but they were a lot of fun to watch today. So many different guys stepped up and made plays. That was a heck of a performance by our defense." -- head coach Paul Chryst
"I thought it was fun. Going into the game we had a simple game plan and it was kinda just guys flying around and being comfortable in what they're doing. Our offense struggled a little bit early but we always have their back just like they have ours. There's going to be games like that where you have to pick them up." -- linebacker T.J. Edwards
"They're a good team, coming in ranked No. 20. We had to prove a point. ... We felt dominant from start to finish." -- linebacker Leon Jacobs
"Wisconsin's got an excellent football team. Their running back, it's the first time we've seen him and he's a very good player, a very strong player. Their defense was better than advertised, not that they haven't been playing well all season long, but I can't imagine they've played a better game than that." -- Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz
"We're pretty thick boys, and it's against the offensive lineman's code of honor to wear sleeves." -- guard Beau Benzschawel
USA TODAY SportsAP
It's the 2017 home finale for Wisconsin, which will host Michigan (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten). The Wolverines have won three straight games rather handily, but those have come against Rutgers, Minnesota and Maryland -- hardly the conference's murderer's row. Michigan's two losses were at home to Michigan State and at Penn State. Michigan has had to use three quarterbacks due to various injuries, with sophomore Brandon Peters likely behind center vs. the Badgers.