IOWA CITY — Jake Rudock wasn’t having his best day, even before he sprained his left knee while throwing an ill-advised third-quarter interception.
The sophomore completed 12 of 24 passes for 109 yards, though the wind seemed to affect quarterbacks from both teams, regardless of which direction the offense was moving.
And, until Wisconsin got rolling in the fourth quarter, neither offense was sparkling.
Iowa rushed for 115 yards against a Badger team that entered the day fourth nationally in rushing defense at 87.6 yards per game.
No Borland, no problem
Wisconsin played without All-America linebacker candidate Chris Borland, who was out with a hamstring injury. But the Badgers fared OK without him.
“Chris looked good at practice Thursday,” Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen said. “He really did some good things. He felt good, but Chris has gone through this before and he just came up to the trainers and myself and said that he needed to not play. But we need him back where he needs to be.”
Iowa played without defensive end Dominic Alvis of Logan, Iowa, who has a back injury. Junior Mike Hardy started in his place.
Strange day for Donnal
A good day for an offensive lineman usually means not being noticed. Andrew Donnal might have played very well Saturday, but two negative plays — one not of his own doing — will stand out.
When Donnal came in for injured guard Jordan Walsh in the second quarter, Iowa had third-and-goal at the 3-yard line. Donnal moved before the snap, and the 5-yard penalty pushed the Hawkeyes back to the 8. They had to kick a field goal and settle for a 6-0 lead.
Then, on a fourth-quarter pass, Donnal was looking for someone to block when quarterback C.J. Beathard’s pass bounced off the back of Donnal’s helmet and Wisconsin defensive end Pat Muldoon made a leaping interception.
“I was just looking for it and hoping it was on the ground,” Donnal said. “It wasn’t.”
Wind games favor Wisconsin
Iowa typically opens games with the ball as coach Kirk Ferentz prefers to keep the ball when winning the coin toss or if the opponent wins the toss and elects to defer. With the wind streaming in from the north at 13 mph and gusting to 30, Ferentz deferred after winning the toss. Wisconsin chose to keep the ball and Iowa took the wind for the first quarter, but managed just three points despite having the chance for more.
“Some of the things that happened early in the game really came back to make it tough for us in the fourth quarter,” Ferentz said.
When Iowa had the choice to take the ball or the wind in the second half, Ferentz took the ball. But Wisconsin bucked standard operating procedure by electing to go into the wind for the third quarter so that it would have the wind in the fourth.
After taking advantage of a short field on a third-quarter interception, the Badgers scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns with the wind at their backs.
“That wind was a big factor today,” Andersen said.