MADISON – Two Grantsburg graduates were on the winning sideline for an important football game on Saturday.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison hosted Iowa with the Heartland Trophy and any hopes of a Big Ten West Division title on the line. The Badgers, including John and Leo Chenal, withstood a late Iowa rally for a fourth-consecutive win over the Hawkeyes, 24-22. A season-high 250 rushing yards from Jonathan Taylor helped get the win and a 300-yard team rushing total for the Badgers.
“That's one of the things I've always been impressed with (Taylor): every day he comes and you know you're going to get his best,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said. “I think it affects (players) all around him as much, if not more.”
While the Hawkeyes scored the only points of the first quarter and took a 3-0 lead into the second, the Badgers took their first lead with a 17-yard touchdown run from Danny Davis. Wisconsin then answered another Iowa field goal with Davis’ second touchdown to take a 14-6 lead into halftime.
A 27-yard touchdown pass from Jack Coan to Cephus Quintez late in the third quarter gave the Badgers a 21-6 lead. But, the Hawkeyes put Wisconsin’s lead in jeopardy in the fourth quarter.
Iowa pulled within a score with a touchdown pass early in the fourth and made it a five-point game with a field goal. Collin Larsh hit a 29-yard field goal for the Badgers to give them a 24-16 lead, though the Hawkeyes had a quick response.
A 75-yard touchdown pass made it a 24-22 game and the 2-point conversion would have tied the game, but the Badgers stopped the run attempt to maintain the lead. They were able to hold on for the win and end a two-game win streak for the Hawkeyes, including Cody Ince – a Unity graduate and former Lakeland Conference competitor to Grantsburg.
Wisconsin improved to 7-2 overall and 4-2 in the Big Ten; the Badgers go to Nebraska this Saturday.