Nearly every facet of Iowa football played poorly on Saturday. The offense had its worst game in the past 20 years, Matt VandeBerg let punts bounce inside the five, and Iowa's punting remained sub-par.
Even in one of the worst games of the Kirk Ferentz Era, Joshua Jackson found a way to shine. He scored Iowa's only points of the game, a pick-six on Wisconsin's first possession and another in the second half. He now leads the nation with seven interceptions -- one away from tying the school record shared Desmond King, Nile Kinnick, and Lou King -- and extended his national lead of passes defended (23). He also forced a fumble, punching the ball out of Jonathan Taylor's arm. For as poorly as Iowa's offense played, Jackson might've locked up the Thorpe Award this week.
Joshua Jackson is the first Big Ten player with two pick-sixes in a game since 2013 (Iowa's B.J. Lowery). pic.twitter.com/LGUq0I7uS2
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 11, 2017
Josey Jewell has lived in Joshua Jackson's shadow over the past couple of weeks, but on Saturday he registered his sixth double-digit tackle game of the season and 19th of his career. His 12 tackles gives him 104 on the season, which ranks fifth in the nation despite Jewell missing one game; his 11.56 tackles per game ranks fourth in the nation. Jewell also became the seventh player in school history to surpasses 400 career tackles (405). And he still has three games remaining.
— Blair Sanderson (@BlairRIVALS) November 11, 2017
A.J. Epenesa didn't put up gaudy numbers, but he sacked Alex Hornibrook in the first half. In a game where very few things went right, at least Iowa's five-star recruit showed there's reason to be optimistic about the future. He's second on the team with 3.5 sacks this season.
A.J. Epenesa is here. pic.twitter.com/vumnxkL5HV
— On Iowa (@GazetteOnIowa) November 11, 2017
Usually I avoid putting the opposing team in 'Five Stars of the Game,' but there is always an exception. Sure, Wisconsin was helped by poor offensive play-calling by Iowa, but it also showed why it's one of the best units in the nation. It held Iowa to four first downs, 66 yards and one yard per play, all the lowest in the Ferentz Era. It also sacked Nate Stanley four times, had four quarterback hurries, recorded six tackles for loss and had a scoop and score in the second half. This game will go down as 14 points allowed for Wisconsin, but in reality, the Wisconsin defense pitched a shutout.