No. 18 Iowa puts clamps on No. 25 Wisconsin for sixth straight win

Mark Emmert
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY, Ia. — A blustery snow started coating the turf of Kinnick Stadium in the fourth quarter Saturday.

The Hawkeyes took the opportunity to frolic in it. And why not?

Iowa's defense put the clamps on Wisconsin throughout the mid-December afternoon. The offense produced some big plays in the second half, at last. Even a pair of rare special-teams miscues couldn't derail the No. 18 Hawkeyes, who routed the No. 25 Badgers 28-7 to earn the Heartland Trophy for the first time since 2015.

Keith Duncan kicked two field goals. Spencer Petras connected with Ihmir Smith-Marsette for two touchdown passes, the latter of which Smith-Marsette celebrated a bit too heartily with a flip into the end zone that left him with an ankle injury. And Tyler Goodson punctuated it all with an 80-yard dash through the snowflakes that left no doubt about who the better team was.

"I think all running backs expect to break a long run," Goodson said of his career-long jaunt.

"It was all for us to keep going, keep pounding and then once we break their will, we break one."

Iowa (6-2) has won its past six games, extending streaks against rivals Minnesota and Nebraska in the process. But it also snapped losing streaks to Penn State and Wisconsin (2-3).

In a season delayed by, and then often disrupted by, the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hawkeyes made it to the finish line by playing all eight scheduled games, and their best football at the end.

That was cause for celebration for the Hawkeyes, several of whom ran onto the field and made snow angels when the clock hit zero.

"That was the first time I've ever done a snow angel or played in a snow game," said sophomore safety Dane Belton, a Florida native. "It was incredibly fun." 

Iowa's Chauncey Golston reacts after sacking Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz in the third quarter.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, as he frequently does, shed some tears in the postgame locker room after getting the Heartland Trophy back.

"He just loves it for us and he loves it for the program," Belton said of Ferentz.