Game Recap: Defense Leads the Charge

Pedersen hauls in the half's lone TD (Fleming/13)

Follow along for free on BadgerNation's drive blog. Once a one-point game at halftime, No.22 Wisconsin uses a pair of second-half interceptions and two James White rushing touchdowns to distance itself from Iowa, beating the Hawkeyes, 28-9, Saturday.

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Even without its best defensive weapon for four quarters, its best offensive weapon for the final quarter-and-a-half and no rhythm in its all powerful running game, No.22 Wisconsin still found a way against one of its toughest rivals.

Thanks to a superlative defensive effort and two timely touchdown passes by sophomore quarterback Joel Stave, the Badgers grind out a 28-9 victory over Iowa at Kinnick Stadium Saturday.

Wisconsin (6-2, 4-1 Big Ten) is bowl eligible for a 12th straight season and the Badgers have its defense to thank for the assist. Iowa drove into the red zone four times and only managed three field goals, unable to crack a Badgers' defense without Chris Borland on the field for the seventh straight quarter.

UW was held to only 100 rushing yards through three quarters, but Jacob Pedersen's 44-yard touchdown pass right before halftime put the Badgers on the scoreboard and ahead heading into halftime, and Jared Abbrederis' game-winning 20-yard catch in the third quarter was set up after Darius Hillary's first career interception the play before.

The Badgers iced the game with senior defensive end Pat Muldoon's first career interception late in the fourth quarter, setting up the Wisconsin offense at the Iowa 25 and leading to senior James White's 11-yard touchdown with 6:29 remaining. White finished with 132 yards after his 2-yard plunge in the final two minutes.

Iowa (5-4, 2-3 Big Ten) went through two quarterbacks and only had only two plays over 25 yards.

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From the other side: Iowa is just average

No.22 Wisconsin 28, Iowa 9

First Half

First Quarter

3-0 Iowa

11 plays, 28 yards, 4:07 TOP, 6:20 left

FG Mike Meyer 28

Key Play: Choosing to go for it on fourth-and-inches at the UW 19, Iowa tailback Mark Weisman lowered his shoulder for a five-yard gain ... just two plays after making a one-handed catch on a 12-yard screen play that got the Hawkeyes deeper into UW territory.

Second Quarter

6-0 Iowa

13 plays, 66 yards, 6:25 TOP, 4:52 left

FG Mike Meyer 22

Key Play: Wisconsin couldn't move the ball into the wind, but the Iowa offense had no problem with it. Jake Rudock's shovel pass to Damon Bullock went for 24 yards, as the tailback out ran the linebackers in pursuit and got down to the UW 17.

7-6 Wisconsin

6 plays, 72 yards, 3:03 TOP, 1:49 left

Jacob Pedersen 44-yard pass from Joel Stave (Jack Russell kick)

Key Play: After having no flow offensively throughout their first five drives, the Badgers got on the board when Joel Stave fired a perfect pass to Jacob Pedersen, who was wide open on his route, caught the ball inside the 10 and walked into the end zone after surviving contact.

Second Half

Third Quarter

14-6 Wisconsin

1 play, 20 yards, :06 TOP, 7:34 left

Jared Abbrederis 20-yard pass from Joel Stave (Jack Russell kick)

Key Play: After Drew Meyer pinned Iowa at its own 1, Ethan Armstrong's pressure on a play-action pass forced an underthrown pass by Jake Rudock, which Darius Hillary picked off at the Iowa 20.

14-9 Wisconsin

5 plays, 48 yards, 1:49 TOP, :38 left

FG Mike Meyer 29

Key Play: With Mark Weisman banged up, Iowa's Jordan Canzeri delivered with the Hawkeyes biggest play thus far, running for a 43-yard gain down to the UW 17 through a huge gap in the middle of UW's defense.

Fourth Quarter

21-9 Wisconsin

3 plays, 25 yards, 1:14 TOP, 6:29 left

James White 11-yard run (Jack Russell kick)

Key Play: Pressure from Marcus Trotter forced a quick pass from backup quarterback C.J. Beathard, which hit the helmet of his right guard, deflected into the air and was brought down by a leaping Pat Muldoon at the Iowa 25.

28-9 Wisconsin

8 plays, 76 yards, 3:39 TOP, 1:35 left

James White 2-yard run (Jack Russell kick)

Key Play: Bottled all day by Iowa's front seven, James White got outstanding lead blocks from Derek Watt, Ryan Groy and Jacob Pedersen for a 59-yard gain down to the Iowa 17.

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