(20) Iowa- (8) Wisconsin
Time: 2:30 PM CT (ABC)
Spread: WIS -12
Odds c/o 5dimes
The No. 20 ranked Iowa Hawkeyes scored a huge 55-24 win over Ohio State last week, to improve to 6-3 on the season. Iowa now visits No. 8 Wisconsin as 12-point underdogs at 2:30 (CT) on ABC. The over/under is set at 44 points according to college football oddsmakers at 5dimes.
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Last week’s victory over Ohio State was a huge one for the Hawkeyes. Quarterback Nathan Stanley threw for 226 yards and Iowa picked up another 243 yards via the rush, as it out-gained OSU in total yardage 449 to 371. Iowa running back Akrum Wadley led all rushers with 118 yards, and Stanley threw five TD passes without a single interception. Ohio State’s typically strong defense was utterly thwarted by a versatile Hawkeye attack. J.T. Barrett struggled badly for Ohio State, throwing four interceptions and incurring a sack. He also fumbled, as did Mike Weber.
Weber had just 27 yards on five carries, while Barrett managed 63 yards on 14 attempts. Overall, though, Ohio State looked like the ‘Little brother’ in Big Ten play as it suffered its first conference loss of the season.
Stanley has been very solid this season with 1,929 yards on 58.3 percent passing, throwing for 22 TDs and with just four interceptions. His passer rating is 145.8, and he has four receivers with 300 yards or more on the season, led by Nick Easley who has 402 yards on 39 catches and four TDs. Noah Fanta leads the team in TD receptions with seven, and he also leads Iowa in yards-per-catch with 15.3.
Akrum Wadley has been a unique dual threat out of the backfield with 761 yards rushing and five rushing TDs as well as his 308 reception yards and three receiving TDs. Wadley is the engine to a tough offense, that averages 28.3 points per game, but Iowa’s defense has been more stringent still, allowing just 18.1 points per game and ranking No. 16 in the nation. The Hawkeyes are not overly dominant offensively, but with a defense that did what it did to Ohio State last week, the Hawkeyes must be taken seriously as a Big Ten power. A second win over an AP ranked Conference foe would speak very loudly this week.
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Of course, that may be asking a lot. Wisconsin is still undefeated at 9-0 this season and is coming off five consecutive weeks of winning by double-digits. Its last win by less than 10 came against Northwestern, but it was also the closest call of the season, a 33-24 win. Wisconsin has simply been rolling.
The Badgers have been pretty pleased with quarterback Alex Hornibrook, who has thrown for 1,728 yards on 64.4 percent passing while averaging 9.19 yards per reception. He has 15 TD passes to just nine interceptions, and his top receiving option Quintez Cephus has 501 yards and six TD catches. The backfield has been more than dominant, averaging 5.2 yards per carry, paced by Jonathan Taylor’s 1,368 yards on a 7.2 yard-per-carry average.
Taylor also leads the team with 12 rushing TDs, as Wisconsin has managed 23 rushing TDs on the year. Bradrick Shaw has 300 yards on 79 carries and three TDs, and Garrett Groshek has 242 yards on 45 attempts. The Badgers have four rushers averaging more than five yards per carry (min. 25 attempts), and with Taylor doing the damage he does, this is an offense capable of running up scores. Wisconsin ranks No. 17 in the nation in rushing yardage (244.8) while maintaining a top-five defense that allows just 13.3 points per game. Expect Wisconsin to take care of business and improve to 10-0, but covering the spread is no sure thing after what Iowa did to OSU last week.