There’s no secret to limiting Wisconsin’s offense.
“In their losses, the formula to beat them is to stop him.” Iowa senior cornerback Michael Ojemudia said.
It’s just extremely difficult to stop Jonathan Taylor.
“They have as good a running back as we’ve seen during our time here, and we’ve played against some pretty good players, when you talk about Barkley, McCaffrey to name two that are doing pretty good right now,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said.
Taylor has averaged 135 yards per game in two meetings against Iowa. Ojemudia said slowing down the junior running back takes the entire defense.
“Just put more bodies on him, because you know he can make people miss,” Ojemudia said. “If there’s more guys around him, and everybody’s running to the ball, all 11, then we can contain him and stop him.”
The priority when it comes to stopping Taylor is the big play. He’s already had six rushes of 20 yards or more this season, while the Hawkeyes haven’t given up one.
“Those plays break your back,” Ferentz said. “They’re tough to come back from. The big thing is you’re on edge the entire game as long as he’s out there. You might be stopping him for a while, but it’s that threat that he can take it and then go the distance.”
Linebacker Djimon Colbert is confident the Hawks defense is ready for the challenge.
“We all been looking forward to this opportunity all year,” Colbert said. “We’re going against a Heisman contender, a guy who has a lot of buzz around him. Our defense does too, so it’s gonna be a fun day out there on Saturday.”
A number to watch for on Saturday is 17. Wisconsin is 10-1 against Kirk Ferentz and Iowa when scoring 17 points or more. The Hawkeyes’ only win in those 11 games came in 2003 in Madison.
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