Hard to grade Iowa against Badgers star Gordon

Andrew Logue

IOWA CITY, Ia. – It sort of felt like Iowa's defense did a nice job on Melvin Gordon.

And then someone passed out the stat packet: Gordon, Melvin … 31 carries … 200 yards … 2 touchdowns.

"As a defensive guy, as a linebacker, you never want to see somebody get 200 yards," Hawkeye senior Quinton Alston said. "You never want to see somebody get over 100. You want to keep them contained as much as possible."

On the bright side, Gordon rushed for 408 yards a week earlier against Nebraska. Iowa held him to half that, and just 39 yards in the first half.

But he ripped off a career-long 88-yard run in the third quarter and showed a knack for making key catches.

Gordon finished with four receptions for 64 yards, giving defensive coordinators something else to worry about.

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"He wanted to be involved as a receiver and he is," Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen said. "Caught a couple balls that were difference-makers for us, so he's another weapon in the passing game that's tough to deal with."

That will only bolster Gordon's Heisman Trophy credentials.

As Alston looked back on Saturday's loss, he wondered if hype played a role in Iowa's performance.

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"We played a little bit too defensive," said Alston, who was credited with six tackles. "We had that feeling-out process. Well, you can't do that.

"When you've got a guy like that, you've got to take your shots … I feel like we played a little bit too much on our heels."

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Hawkeye coach Kirk Ferentz was a little more complimentary.

"I thought our guys competed extremely hard," Ferentz said when asked about Gordon. "They were blocking hard and we were playing blocks hard, trying to get to the football."

Gordon now has 2,109 rushing yards this season, making him the 17th player in major-college history to eclipse the 2,000 plateau.

"Credit to them for sticking with it," Ferentz said of Wisconsin's run-oriented offense. "They don't get away from their plan."