By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Only the redshirt seniors on the Iowa football team know how it feels to defeat Wisconsin, but none of them even played in the game when it last happened in 2015.
To say that Wisconsin has had its way with Iowa over the past decade would be an understatement.
The Badgers have dominated Iowa, winning six of the last seven games in the series, including the last three in row.
Iowa will try to end the misery on Saturday when it faces Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis.
That was the scene of Iowa’s last victory over a Wisconsin, a 10-6 win in 2015 in which Iowa only had 77 passing yards.
Iowa would go on to finish undefeated during the regular season in 2015 and 12-2 overall, so it took a special Hawkeye squad to get over the Badger hump four years ago.
Iowa’s current defense shows signs of being special, but the offense has been inconsistent, especially the running game, and especially against quality opponents.
Iowa and Wisconsin are both known for having power rushing attacks, and are often lumped together for how they achieve success.
But the truth is, Wisconsin has been vastly superior to Iowa when it comes to running the football.
Since 2004, the Badgers have led the Big Ten in rushing five times and have averaged at least 200 rushing yards per game in 11 of 15 seasons.
Iowa, on the other hand, hasn’t finished higher than fourth in the conference in rushing during that same time or averaged more than 188.7 rushing yards per game.
Select members of the Iowa team met with the media at the weekly press conference on Tuesday and the struggles against the Badgers was obviously a hot topic.
The loser of Saturday’s game will pretty much be eliminated from the Big Ten West Division race because that would be three conference losses for either team.
But it’s hard to see Iowa winning without having some success on the ground.
Iowa quarterback and Wisconsin native Nate Stanley is more effective when he has the luxury of using play action, but it’s hard to establish play action without a running game.
Wisconsin’s 3-4 defense has caused fits for Iowa because it always seems that one or two defenders go unblocked.
Iowa was held to just 66 yards during a 38-14 loss at Camp Randall Stadium in 2017. Both of Iowa's touchdowns were scored by former All-America cornerback Josh Jackson on pick-sixes.
The offense was a disaster from start to finish, largely because the running game failed to produce.
Here are multiple videos of Iowa players from Tuesday's press conference talking about the Badgers and more: