IOWA CITY –
They swear they’re not trying to hurt anybody. The last thing they want to do, they say. But they also know this isn’t two-hand touch.
They swear they’re not trying to hurt anybody. It just works out that way.
The Iowa defense KO’d Wisconsin’s first- and second-string quarterbacks Saturday, while Hawkeyes quarterback
Brad Banks shredded the Badgers for 275 yards and two touchdowns in No. 9 Iowa’s 20-3 victory before a full house of 70,397 at Kinnick Stadium.
The Hawkeyes improved to 9-1 and to 6-0 in the Big Ten, the first time an Iowa team has been 6-0 in the Big Ten. The best Big Ten start before Saturday was 5-0 in 1921-22.
The Badgers fell to 6-4 (1-4 Big Ten) while having their five-game winning streak over Iowa snapped.
Well, less snapped and more broken into tiny, little bits.
This was ugly, gritty, mean football. The kind of football that breaks the opponent, visibly and physically. This was — and after week after week of this, you have to say it — Iowa football.
The defining moment came just before halftime.
Iowa had just taken a 10-3 lead, and UW quarterback Brooks
Bollinger, who entered Saturday’s game with a 3-0 record
against the Hawkeyes, tried to ignite his offense.
A screen pass broke down and Bollinger took off toward the sideline to save clock. He never made it.
Linebacker Kevin Worthy had Bollinger’s legs, and free safety Derek Pagel finished him off with a vicious helmet- to-helmet clack that set off migraines through the first 20 rows of Kinnick bleachers.
“When you’re trying to get away from a tackle like that
and you get hit face-on like that, that’s tough to walk away from,” defensive tackle Colin Cole said.
“I knew pretty much right then that he was going to be done. He got up slow and he was blinking his eyes a lot. I could tell something was wrong with him.”
Pagel has his sweet side, posing for pictures with some hometown folks from Plainfield just after the game, hugging any Plainfield folk who wanted hugging.
But this isn’t two-hand touch.
“We want to be the most physical defense in the Big Ten,”
said Pagel, who also had his team-high fourth interception.
“You get a hit like that, you hope maybe it shakes him up a little bit. You want it to shake his confidence.”
The hit shook Bollinger, who suffered a concussion two weeks ago at Ohio State, out of the game with a concussion. His backup, Jim Sorgi, was knocked out, too, leaving after Cole, a 307-pounder, flopped on him in the fourth quarter.
“They told me Brooks was going to play in the second half, but he wasn’t thinking clearly,” Wisconsin Coach Barry
Alvarez said. “They didn’t want to take a chance putting
him in there.”
Alvarez said Sorgi wasn’t hurt. “I just took him out. We
didn’t want to take any chances,” he said.
Like it or not, violence is as much a part of football as ankle tape.
Iowa is good at violence.
Counting the two Saturday, Iowa has now knocked out six
quarterbacks for various parts of games this season.
Start with Akron’s Charlie Frye to Purdue’s Kyle Orton to
Michigan State’s Jeff Smoker to Michigan’s John Navarre
to Saturday’s double knockout.
“If it wasn’t Pagel, I was going to get him on that
play,” defensive end Howard Hodges said. “I was chasing
him, but the next thing you know, Pagel just took his head off. Pagel took him in the stands.”
While Iowa’s offense struggled to find itself, the defense
pitched the flag.
The Hawkeyes held tailback Anthony Davis to a career-low 34 yards on 16 carries. They held the Badgers to 215 yards offense, including just 78 on the ground.
Iowa has allowed just one TD in its last three games. Michigan cashed in a gimme TD from the 1-yard line last week after Iowa botched a punt.
“Our guys like to hit,” said Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz, who
won for the first time in eight tries against a former Hayden Fry assistant. “That’s a Hawkeye tradition that we want to keep going.”
Running back Fred Russell didn’t dress Saturday because of the hand injury he suffered last week against Michigan.
With sophomore Jermelle Lewis at running back, Iowa’s offense came out sluggish, starting the game with two three-and-outs and a punt.
After nearly a half of scratching for everything they could get, the Hawkeyes put it all together on their final drive of the half.
With the score tied at 3-3, Banks found receiver Mo Brown wide open in the end zone for a 21-yard TD with 1 minute, 3 seconds left before halftime.
Iowa ran the play three times during the drive, but this time Brown ran a different route. Three Wisconsin defenders bit on receiver Ed Hinkel. No one was within 15 yards of Brown.
“That was one of those plays where you’re so wide open
you worry about dropping it,” said Brown, who caught six
passes for 107 yards. “I didn’t want to be that
On Iowa’s next score, it was tight end Dallas Clark’s
turn to be the guy who doesn’t drop a wide-open TD.
The Hawkeyes showed tunnel screen, a play that flummoxed Michigan last week, but Banks pumped and faked a pass into a mass of helmets and jerseys, pulled it back and had either Brown or Clark for an easy TD.
“You don’t want to be the guy who ends up on ESPN for
dropping a pass like that,” said Clark, who caught five passes for 97 yards. “That’s not how you want to make
The Hawkeyes made ESPN in so many ways Saturday.
Banks completed 17 of 30 for 275 yards and two TDs. Against eight- and nine-man fronts all day, Lewis chugged for 81 yards on 25 carries.
The Hawkeyes outgained Wisconsin, 405-215.
“We missed a lot of stuff today,” said Banks, who rushed
for 61 yards before subtracting three sacks.
“We had a slow start, but we caught on fire.”
The highlights from the defense will come with a rating. Way too much violence for youngsters.
You’ve been warned.