The Wisconsin Badgers are once again in the hunt for a Big Ten title, looking to win their fourth in as many years and make it to yet another Rose Bowl. Wisconsin is off to a strong start to the season at 5-2 and 3-1 in conference play, but a tough, controversial non-conference loss is the reason it’s not 6-1.
On the other side of the field, the Iowa Hawkeyes are just one win away from becoming bowl eligible in 2013. The Hawkeyes had a hot start to the 2012 season, just like they have had in 2013, but missed out on a bowl, losing every game in the second half of the year. This game will determine just how good the Hawkeyes really are.
Wisconsin could be a favorite to win the conference this season and that can be attributed to the strong run game. The Badgers have two running backs that could start for every team in the Big Ten in James White and Melvin Gordon. Gordon has rushed for 1,012 yards and 11 touchdowns with a 9.5 yards per carry average while White has 672 yards and seven touchdowns while posting a 6.2 yards per carry mark. Sophomore quarterback Joel Stave has been solid as well, passing for 1,486 yards and 13 touchdowns, hitting wide out Jared Abbrederis 43 times for 752 yards and five scores.
Iowa has been a bit better than expected this season and that’s due in large part to the success of young quarterback Jake Rudock. He is completing over 60 percent of his passes for 1,616 yards and 12 touchdowns, but his eight interceptions show his youth and failure to make the right decisions on every throw. Kevonte Martin-Manley is the team’s top wide out but has struggled a bit this season, catching just 32 passes for 276 yards and two scores. Running the ball has been easy for Mark Weisman — or so it seems — as the big running back has accounted for 732 yards and three touchdowns.
Defensively, the Badgers are a very impressive unit, ranking sixth in the nation in points allowed per game while also ranking eighth in college football in yards allowed per game. The Hawkeyes rank 12th in points allowed per game and 14th in yards allowed per game — both teams are fairly evenly-matched on defense.
Wisconsin will travel to Iowa to take on the Hawkeyes at 12 p.m. EST on Saturday, Nov. 2. The game will be broadcasted on ABC and ESPN 2.
PREDICTION: Wisconsin 28, Iowa 30
Related: Iowa Hawkeyes Will Be Going Bowling