It was an extremely ugly game on both sides, with the Hawkeyes losing top tight end Erick All early, while the Badgers lost Tanner Mordecai for the game after the quarterback sustained what appeared to be a hand injury in the second quarter.
Defensively, both teams battled it out, but the mistakes from the Badgers were far too many to overcome in the loss.
Here are three quick takeaways from the Badgers 15-6 loss to Iowa.
Early on, it was apparent that this game was going to be a field position game on both sides, as there were a combined 12 punts in the first half and only seven points.
That’s why it was questionable that the Badgers were aggressive on their fourth drive, electing to go for it on fourth down, despite their ineffectiveness thus far, instead of kicking a field goal.
But, the real killer for the Badgers was during the second half, as the Badgers started at their six-yard line twice and seven-yard line on three consecutive drives.
Iowa seemed extremely content just punting the ball and pinning the Badgers deep to play the field position game, and it worked in their favor, as they limited Wisconsin to six total points and forced a safety as well.
While the Badgers started inside their ten-yard line four times, the Hawkeyes just saw one drive start in that range offensively.
Field position killed the Badgers in this game, and a certain feature attributed to that: penalties(more in a minute).
Additionally, there were some questionable decisions, such as Chimere Dike’s choice to return the kickoff after Iowa’s first field goal, which placed the Badgers at their own seven-yard line due to a penalty.
Dike also mishandled a punt later on, which forced him to fall on the ball at the six-yard line, leaving the Badgers with poor field position again.
After weeks of fairly disciplined football on the penalties front, the Wisconsin Badgers committed seven penalties for 48 yards on the day.
What really impacted the game was the timing of each of those penalties, as many served as drive-killers for a Wisconsin offense scrounging for points.
The first one came on a crucial 3rd & 1 for the Badgers in the redzone as a false start by right tackle Riley Mahlman backed Wisconsin up, and they ultimately turned it over on downs two plays later while failing to convert on a 4th & 1 instead of kicking a field goal.
The Badgers later had a delay of game on a 3rd & 7 during the opening drive of the second half that killed their chances with quarterback Braedyn Locke and a false start on 3rd & 2 early in the fourth quarter on a drive that resulted in a punt.
On special teams, the Badgers had three penalties, including a block in the back and a holding penalty on two separate returns, backing Wisconsin up inside their own ten-yard line to start drives in both instances.
Big Ten West
Not only did the Badgers lose the Heartland Trophy, but the loss to Iowa presents a much bigger challenge in regard to the Big Ten Championship.
Entering the game, the Badgers were 2-0 in conference play, while the Hawkeyes were the lone other team in the Big Ten West with a positive record in Big Ten games at 2-1.
Now, both teams are 2-1, but Iowa has the tiebreaker with the win over Wisconsin, which is crucial given the remaining schedules on both sides.
Wisconsin, who could be without quarterback Tanner Mordecai for a while, now faces Ohio State in two weeks, which they're not expected to win according to projections.
The Hawkeyes will need multiple losses, while the Badgers will have to finish two games above their counterparts going forward to have a shot at the Big Ten Championship Game.