Joe Schobert's eight tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss, three sacks, five QB hurries, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery made for a bright point in Saturday's loss to Iowa.
Morry Gash/Associated Press
After an indifferent nonconference season against Alabama and the Three Stooges, Wisconsin finally got to Big Ten play but too many mistakes doomed the Badgers.
Wisconsin’s defense was stellar, but four turnovers by quarterback Joel Stave (two interceptions, two fumbles) led to all the points Iowa would get in a 10-6 victory at Camp Randall Stadium.
UW’s defense stepped up, especially in the second half when it held Iowa to no points while coming up with a pair of turnovers.
But the Badgers’ offense was inconsistent, never getting a run game over and turning the ball over at inopportune times.
The season is far from over, but clearly Big Ten play could have started better.
A recap of Saturday’s game:
— Wisconsin’s defense showed it is no fluke. In the second half, Iowa’s drives in yards: 1, minus-8, 6, 33, 18, 22, 8, minus-6 and minus-2. Unfortunately, that last one was because of a kneel down.
— Is Joe Schobert the best defensive player in the Big Ten? His five quarterback hurries would have led Wisconsin in every season from 2011-14, excluding 2013 when Chris Borland had six.
— Both of Iowa’s scores came off Wisconsin turnovers. Those drives lasted all of 31 yards and 1 yard.
— We officially have no idea what a targeting penalty is. It’s too bad a review could not have been issued on Jordan Lomax’s hit on Troy Fumagalli in the third quarter.
— Speaking of replaying penalties . . . Wisconsin got called for two penalties that upon TV replay looked like they shouldn’t have been called, a pass interference on Michael Caputo and a hands to the face on Jesse Hayes, the latter one wiping out a T.J. Edwards interception.
— Rafael Gaglianone missed his fourth field-goal attempt in five games. He missed three all of last season. Iowa’s Marshall Koehn also missed a 27-yard attempt. He was 4 of 4 entering Saturday’s game.
— Wide receiver Alex Erickson missed much of the second half and had to undergo concussion protocol. Tight end Austin Traylor was also hurt. Who might step up if they remain out? Robert Wheelwright had four targets and double as many targets, but also had a drop plus another which could have been caught. Troy Fumagalli was back after missing a couple of games, but still isn’t 100 percent.
— Jacob Maxwell got the start at right tackle for Hayden Biegel, who was out with an undisclosed injury. Maxwell had been splitting time with Biegel in previous games.
— Michael Caputo had his first interception against an FBS team.
— Wisconsin turned down a 49-yard field-goal attempt in the fourth quarter in lieu of a punt, putting the game in the hands of its defense. Drew Meyer’s punt pinned Iowa at the 5.
— Wide receivers Reggie Love and fullback Austin Ramseh each had their first catches of the season while wide receiver George Rushing had his first touch of the season on a run.
— Wisconsin converted just 4 of 13 third downs.
— Iowa’s Jordan Canzeri ran for the quietest 125 yards you’ll ever see.
No loss is good, obviously. However, the Big Ten West could be a mad scramble all year and a two-loss team could easily win the division. Also, remember the Badgers lost their opener in 2014 and made it to the title game. However, after that nonconference schedule we weren’t really sure what to make of Wisconsin. Now we know: the offense needs work. A lot of work.
Who could it be but Joe Schobert, who had the best game statistically for a Wisconsin defensive player since some guy named J.J. Watt. Schobert finished with eight tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss, three sacks, five QB hurries, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
It is easy to be overshadowed by Schobert, but his fellow outside linebacker, Vince Biegel, had a fine day as well with nine tackles and half-a-sack.
With just under eight minutes left in the game, Wisconsin had the ball at the Iowa 1-yard line and was poised to take the lead and rely on its defense to shut down the Hawkeyes . . . and then Joel Stave got tripped, tried to hand the ball off anyway and lost it, with Iowa recovering the fumble. The Badgers had two other possessions in the game, but this was a sure touchdown — and lead — lost.
86. Rushing yards for Wisconsin. Yes, the three turnovers were killer, but the Badgers’ problems are much deeper than a one-game issue of losing the ball. Wisconsin has twice been held to under 100 yards rushing. That hasn’t happened since 2012, when it occurred three times.
"I think certainly the storyline (is) we didn’t make enough plays to win." — Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst
"Wasn’t always pretty and it wasn’t always clean, but that’s really how the football game was." — Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz
"He’s playing phenomenal. He had a hell of a day today and I foresee that happening throughout the rest of the season." — Wisconsin cornerback Darius Hilary on Schobert
"We thought we saw some good things on film that we could attack, but we just couldn’t get it done." — Wisconsin left tackle Tyler Marz
Wisconsin (3-2, 0-1 in Big Ten) gets its first true road game as it plays at Nebraska (2-3, 0-1) in a 2:30 p.m. start. The Cornhuskers own wins over South Alabama and Southern Miss and suffered close losses to BYU (on a Hail Mary), Miami (in overtime) and Illinois (long drive to win with 10 seconds left). Yeah, neither team exactly coming in on a high.