Badgers clinch appearance in Big Ten Championship Game with win over Iowa
MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58/ AP) – With a victory over Iowa on Saturday, Wisconsin secured a berth in the 2017 Big Ten Football Championship Game presented by Discover and at least a share of the Big Ten West Division title. The East Division title and participant in the Big Ten Football Championship Game will be decided over the final two weeks of the season.
Receiver Kendric Pryor scored twice, and No. 6 Wisconsin relied on stifling defense to overcome four turnovers and Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson's two touchdowns in a 38-14 win Saturday over the Hawkeyes.
The win allowed the Badgers (10-0, 7-0 Big Ten, CFP No. 8) to clinch a trip to the league conference title game as West champions.
Credit their defense for another overpowering outing at chilly Camp Randall Stadium.
Leon Jacobs recovered two fumbles — one returned for a score — and fellow linebacker T.J. Edwards had an interception for the Badgers, who shut down an Iowa offense that had overwhelmed Ohio State last week.
The Hawkeyes (6-4, 3-4, CFP No. 20) were held to 66 total yards and five first downs, including just 15 yards and one first down in the first half.
Wisconsin turnovers kept the Hawkeyes in the game. Remarkably, Jackson accounted for all their points . The junior scored on interception returns of 43 and 52 yards, the latter coming with 11:18 left in the third quarter to get the Hawkeyes within 17-14.
The Badgers' defense wanted to get in on the fun, too.
Jacobs scooped up a loose ball about 4 minutes later after a bad snap on third-and-10, running 21 yards to the end zone to give Wisconsin another 10-point lead.
League-leading rusher Jonathan Taylor had 157 yards on 29 carries, but fumbled twice, losing one. Alex Hornibrook was 11 of 18 for 135 yards with two touchdowns and the three interceptions.
Iowa: Don't throw at Jackson, the junior who came into the afternoon leading the country with 20 passes defended. A week after tying the school record with three interceptions in a game, Jackson tied another Iowa record with two interceptions returned for touchdowns in a game.
Wisconsin: Hornibrook has now thrown 11 interceptions in Big Ten play, which isn't ideal especially for a run-first offense. Taylor had a second fumble recovered by a teammate near the goal line in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach. The Badgers continue to get bogged down by mistakes in spite of a season-long effort by coach Paul Chryst to get the offense to cut down on miscues. Imagine how good Wisconsin might be without the turnovers.
Iowa: Hosts Purdue next Saturday.
Wisconsin: The Badgers face another ranked team in No. 21 Michigan at Camp Randall next week.
The Badgers secured at least a share of their fourth division title and second in as many years after improving to 10-0 overall and 7-0 in conference play. Wisconsin would clinch the outright division title with a Purdue win over Northwestern later today. If Northwestern defeats Purdue, the Wildcats would remain alive for a share of the West Division title, but Wisconsin would advance to the Big Ten title game by winning the potential tiebreaker.
The 2017 Big Ten Football Championship Game will be played on Saturday, Dec. 2, at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium and will be broadcast nationally on FOX with kickoff set for 8:17 p.m. ET. The winner will earn the Amos Alonzo Stagg Championship Trophy and a chance to play in one of the six bowls that comprise the College Football Playoff, including the Rose Bowl Game.