Football: Badgers drop low-scoring contest 15-6 to Iowa, suffer first conference loss of the season

  • Post Author
    by Sports director
  • Post Date
    Tue Oct 17 2023

By: Camryn Fjelstad

Quarterback Braedyn Locke (#18) throws the football to a receiver at “The Launch” a Red-White spring football scrimmage game at Camp Randall at the University of Wisconsin–Madison on April 22, 2023. (Photo by Taylor Wolfram / UW–Madison)

It was a hard day for Wisconsin Badgers fans as the Iowa Hawkeyes secured the Heartland trophy for the second year in a row, beating the Badgers 15-6 last Saturday in a low-scoring game at Camp Randall Stadium.

The injury of Badgers Quarterback Tanner Mordecai late in the 1st quarter was a crucial factor to Wisconsin's success the rest of the game. Mordecai suffered a hand injury, causing him to leave the game early. The Badgers brought in the backup QB Braedyn Locke, a transfer from Mississippi State, to go under center for the rest of the game. Locke struggled, throwing one interception and fumbling twice, one of those resulting on a turnover.

The Hawkeyes scored the game's only touchdown on Leshon Williams' lengthy 82-yard run to give the Hawkeyes a lead early in the second quarter; the touchdown was the only scoring play of the half for either team.

The Badgers started their second half with a 36-yard field goal from Kicker Nathanial Vakos. Nearing the end of the quarter, Vakos kicked another 52-yard field goal, shortening the Hawkeyes lead to 1. The Badgers defense held the Hawkeyes to 7 points up until early in the fourth quarter when kicker Drew Stevens kicked a 48-yard field goal to lengthen the lead back to four. 

While missed opportunities plagued the Badgers, the Hawkeyes converted on their opportunities by getting two points with a safety early in the 4th quarter and kicking another game-sealing field goal near the end of the fourth quarter as they lengthened the lead to 9. The Badgers struggled to move the ball the whole fourth quarter and committed two turnovers, a fumble and an interception, at the end of the game. 

That was not the only struggle the Badgers had though. Penalties by the special teams unit were crucial to field position both defensively and offensively. 3rd down conversions was also a struggle for Wisconsin as the Badgers were forced to punt 10 times and went 2-17 on 3rd down.

The Badgers struggled on all sides of the ball, falling to 4-2 (2-1 Big Ten), and earning the tough loss of the Heartland trophy once again.