Iowa’s got the brass bull back. The Hawkeyes’ 24-10 victory over Wisconsin marked their first home win over the Badgers in front of a crowd since 2008. The previous Iowa victory was in an empty Kinnick in 2020, but this one was met with a stadium filled to the brim with happy Hawks fans.

“It felt really good to win this at home, we just had to get that trophy back,” Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras said of the Heartland Trophy. “Over my career and the last 10 years it’s rarely been here.”

For senior safety Kaevon Merriweather, this was a dream come true.

“It’s a beautiful piece of hardware and something I always wanted to get since I was a freshman,” Merriweather beamed. “Seeing the guys carrying it out of the stadium was a great feeling. I finally got my chance to do it so it was surreal.”

How about another senior’s thoughts? Linebacker Jack Campbell was around for the 24-22 heartbreaker in 2019, and the 27-7 loss last season.

“Anytime you can come out of this series with a win, it’s great,” Campbell said. “They’ve been a thorn in our side. We busted out butts for the full 60 today and I’m so proud of all of the 10 other guys on the field.”

Jack and those 10 other guys on defense limited the Badgers to 10 points — none in the second half — and just 51 yards rushing. They also sacked Graham Mertz four times and turned the Badgers over three times.

For head coach Kirk Ferentz, beating Wisconsin has been a 21st century struggle. One thing he’s learned: Wins in this series are earned, not given.

“The way I looked at it — and this goes back 23-plus years — they were at the top, they literally were at the top and we helped them do a victory lap up there in Madison,” Ferentz laughed. “The one positive — I tried to find positives that year — and the one positive I told our guys, that’s how it’s supposed to look like. That’s what you want. That’s where you want to be. We obviously had a long road, so it took us, whatever it was, four years to catch them finally. And then the series has gone back and forth, but I’ve got a lot of respect for them as a program. They’re built on defense. They’re built on being physical. They play sound, smart football. I respect anybody that kind of fits in that category, and they’ve done it pretty consistently.”

Ferentz knew it wouldn’t be easy.

“To beat them, again, that’s the first thing I told our guys on Monday — Monday team meeting — was just understand, if we’re going to win this game, we’re going to have to earn it because don’t expect any freebies,” Ferentz said. “We’re not going to get anything easy out of this. We’re going to have to go out and play and win it, earn it, or you’re going to go home sad. We’ve had a few of those, and it’s not much fun.”

Beating Wisconsin keeps Iowa in the thick of the battle for the Big Ten West. The Hawkeyes got some help from Purdue, who took down Illinois earlier in the day. Iowa’s path to Indianapolis is clear: Beat Minnesota, beat Nebraska and hope either Michigan or Northwestern defeats Illinois. With any luck, the Wolverines will take care of business in Ann Arbor this upcoming Saturday.

Iowa now sits at 6-4 and tied for first place in the Big Ten West.

Iowa defensive back Riley Moss, left, and defensive back Kaevon Merriweather carry the Heartland Trophy off the field after an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Iowa City, Iowa. Iowa won 24-10. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

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