Iowa Wisconsin Football

Wisconsin's Andrew Van Ginkel reacts after Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley is sacked during the first half of the Badgers' 38-14 win over the Hawkeyes on Saturday. The Hawkeyes are looking for consistency heading into this week's game against Purdue.

AP

Five things to think about following Iowa's 38-14 loss at Wisconsin on Saturday:

1. The good

Josh Jackson. Wow.

Talk about being in a zone.

With two interceptions on Saturday, Iowa's junior cornerback now has five interceptions in the Hawkeyes' last two games.

He returned both against Wisconsin for touchdowns, the first pick sixes of his college career. Jackson is the first Hawkeye to do that in a single game since B.J. Lowery accomplished it against Western Michigan in 2013.

Jackson remains humble, but teammates say  the meticulous detail in the way he prepares is likely making a difference for a player whose anticipation, reaction and action in recent games have been difference makers.

The Texas native's vision, technique and athleticism are positioning him to make plays and his work Saturday included an additional pass break up and the first forced fumble of his career.

He now has seven interceptions on the season. Only three Hawkeyes have had more in a single season. Nile Kinnick in 1939, Lou King in 1981 and Desmond King in 2015 share the Iowa school single-season record with eight interceptions.

If upcoming opponents are crazy enough to continue to throw Jackson's way, he has a legitimate shot to break that record.

2. The bad

Beyond the consistent consistency of Miguel Recinos, the Hawkeyes' special teams weren't overly special at Wisconsin.

Punter Colten Rastetter is getting plenty of work - Iowa punted nine times for the second time in three games - but inconsistency remains an issue.

Rastetter opened Saturday with punts of 52 and 48 yards, one with the wind and other against it, but he ended up averaging 40.2 yards and was unable to drop any of his punts inside the 20-yard line or drive any into the end zone.

A high 36-yard punt in the second quarter set Wisconsin up at midfield for a five-play, 51-yard drive which ended with Kendric Pryor's 25-yard touchdown run on a reverse which moved the Badgers ahead to stay.

On the flip side, Iowa struggled to field punts.

Anthony Lotti, who averaged 43.6 yards but placed three of his five punts inside the 20, benefited from lengthy rolls inside the 15 twice when the Hawkeyes opted not to field what Lotti's was serving up.

Both instances left Iowa with more field in front of it than a struggling offense was able to master.

3. The ugly

Iowa went 0-for-13 in third-down conversion chances against Wisconsin.

The Hawkeye defense didn't make life much easier on the Badgers, limiting Wisconsin to a 5-of-13 success rate on third down including 1-of-7 after halftime.

Those numbers indicate that defenses rules the day, but Iowa ugly part for Iowa is that the Hawkeyes didn't give themselves much of a chance.

Iowa needed fewer than five yards on third down just three times against the Badgers, facing a pair of third-and-2 situations and one third-and-1 play.

Nate Stanley threw incomplete passes on all three occasions, including a first-half drop by Ihmir Smith-Marsette on a third-and-2 play. In the second half, Stanley threw a third-and-2 pass dropped by Nick Easley and had a third-and-1 ball intended for Noah Fant fall incomplete.

Iowa found itself in third-and-10 or more situations four times against Wisconsin.

4. The really ugly

You won't win Big Ten football games averaging less than one yard per carry on the ground.

The run game has been an issue all season for Iowa - a situation that boils down to cohesion in the front five, reliable blocking across the board and effectiveness once the ball is handed off.

The Hawkeyes did run for six more yards than they collected in a 17-10 loss at Michigan State in late September, but 25 rushing yards on 26 carries will get you beat. Every. Single. Time.

Losses totaling 37 yards on four sacks and another nine yards lost that was credited to the team when Nate Stanley wasn't ready to field a James Daniels snap factor into that total, but collectively Iowa's ground game was ineffective.

James Butler averaged 3.8 yards on his eight carries, nearly a yard below his season average of 4.6 yards per carry.

Akrum Wadley, who averages 4.2 yards per attempt, was limited to 2.9 yards on his eight rushing attempts.

The pair combined for 53 yards on the ground, not nearly enough to give Iowa a chance to deny Wisconsin a record-setting day.

The 66 total yards Iowa managed were the fewest ever allowed by Wisconsin against a Big Ten opponent, passing the previous low of 78 that Illinois mustered in a 1977 game against the Badgers.

The rushing total of 25 yards were the fewest allowed by Wisconsin since Penn State collected 23 yards in a game against the Badgers in 2001.

That will get you beat. Every. Single. Time.

5. The, hey, that's football

How does a team go from looking oh-so-good one week to looking oh-so-disfunctional the next?

Before crossing the finish line of the 24-hour-rule today and moving on to Purdue on the practice field Monday morning, Iowa players and coaches are probably asking themselves that today.

The same offense which seemingly could do no wrong against a solid Ohio State defense couldn't move the football against a Wisconsin defense that was as coach Kirk Ferentz put it, "better than advertised.''

In many respects, the Badgers strengths on defense mirrored those of the Michigan State defense which also cut the legs out from underneath the Hawkeye rushing attack and turned Iowa into an ineffective offense.

Wisconsin probably has more pieces to make that happen. The Badgers' linebackers thrive in a 3-4 look that Iowa never figured out.

Quarterback Nate Stanley and Akrum Wadley were among players trying to dissect just what changed within a week for Iowa.

"It's hard to go from being that good to where we were today, but that's football, you've got to be at your best or you'll get beat and we weren't at our best,'' Wadley said.

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