The Iowa Hawkeyes will host the Wisconsin Badgers as both teams kick off Big Ten Conference play on Saturday night. Wisconsin comes into this game as the number 18 ranked team in the country, while Iowa is sitting just outside the top-25. Wisconsin blew out the Hawkeyes last season, beating them by a score of 38-14.
Iowa has gotten off to a strong start in 2018, winning all three games that they have played. Their biggest win came against in state rival, Iowa State, in a game that they won 13-3. Wisconsin won their first two games of the season before being upset last weekend at home by a good BYU team. Wisconsin comes into this game as a three point favorite over the Hawkeyes.
Iowa Has Strong Rushing Attack
The Iowa Hawkeyes have been beating teams with their relentless rushing attack early on this season. Iowa is averaging 3.9 yards per carry so far in 2018, and they have scored seven rushing touchdowns through their first three games.
Sophomore Toren Young has been the workhorse for Iowa this season, racking up 234 rushing yards and two touchdowns for the team. Young is from Madison, Wisconsin and he will be no doubt excited to play against his hometown team.
Another reason for Iowa’s success this season has been their defense. Iowa is ranked second in the nation in points against giving up just an average of 8.0 points per game. Sophomore defensive end A.J.Epenesa leads the Hawkeyes with four sacks this season, which also is tied for the second most in college football. Iowa will try to slow down the Wisconsin offense in this game.
Taylor A Heisman Candidate For Wisconsin
Wisconsin sophomore running back Jonathan Taylor has put up eye-popping numbers so far this season and is on the short list of Heisman Trophy candidates through three games. Taylor is the second leading rusher in FBS with 515 rushing yards.
He is averaging 6.7 yards per carry through the team’s first three games and has found the end zone five times already this season. Things should get tougher for Taylor as Big Ten play begins, but he is one of the best running backs in the country.
The Wisconsin defense struggled mightily last weekend in their loss to BYU, and head coach Paul Chryst hopes that it isn’t a sign of things to come. Wisconsin was dominated by the offensive line of BYU and gave up 191 rushing yards in the loss. The Badgers will likely face a similar rushing attack in this game, and Wisconsin must prove it can slow down the run.
Badgers Rebound For Victory
Wisconsin was the clear favorite to win the Big Ten West division, but they appear to have a few chinks in their armour. The Iowa Hawkeyes could be one of the teams that challenge for that title this season, but Iowa must prove it in this game. The Hawkeyes will rely on their defense to try to slow down Taylor and the Badgers offense.
Wisconsin knows that they let a game slip away last weekend, and they will bounce back nicely in this game. The Badgers have too much talent to lose to the Hawkeyes, and their defense will get enough stops to allow the offense to win the game. Bet Wisconsin -3.0 in the Big Ten opener as they win by a touchdown in this one.