Iowa Hawkeyes Football: Can the Hawks Score on Wisconsin's Defense?

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Iowa Hawkeyes Football: Can the Hawks Score on Wisconsin's Defense?
Marc Serota/Getty Images

The Iowa Hawkeyes recent contests against the Wisconsin Badgers have always received the hype of being defensive, bruising battles in which one team's strength is typically the other team's strength and something just has to give.

This year's clash between No. 13 Iowa and No. 10 Wisconsin is no different. Both squads feature excellent defenses and offenses that aren't flashy but have no trouble scoring.

This year's focus is on the defenses.

Iowa's defense leads the Big Ten, giving up only 13.2 points per game. Wisconsin is seventh with its opponents averaging 18.9 points per game. Seventh in the Big Ten may not seem like anything to brag about, but Wisconsin sits 27th nationally in that statistic. Iowa is sixth.

Regardless of statistical standing, both teams will be forced to make the most of points scored.

For Iowa, the best shot at scoring points against Wisconsin will come through the air Saturday.

In seven games this season, the Badgers have allowed 10 passing touchdowns and only three rushing touchdowns. Wisconsin gave up two ground scores last week to Ohio State's Dan Herron.

Iowa's Adam Robinson has been held scoreless by Arizona and Penn State, so it's by no means a stretch to think Wisconsin could keep him from crossing the goal line.

Luckily, Iowa has actually found the end zone by passing more often than rushing. The Hawkeyes have 14 passing touchdowns and 11 rushing touchdowns. 

Ricky Stanzi has had four multi-passing touchdown games so far this year and has thrown for three touchdowns in three of the last four games. If Stanzi's touchdown run against Penn State is counted, he's had five multi-touchdown games this season.

Hopefully Stanzi keeps this rhythm going. History is on his side.

In Stanzi's career against Wisconsin, he has completed 28-of-41 pass attempts for 332 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Those stats are solid but not phenomenal because Iowa's running backs usually find some success against Wisconsin. Don't ask about Shonn Greene in Madison.

That means Robinson will have to make his carries count. He will probably take a beating, but if he can break a few tackles, maybe find the end zone at least once and keep the Badgers defense honest, that will allow Stanzi—with his good history against Wisconsin—to put points on the Badgers.

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