University of Wisconsin football fans was spoiled.
The Heartland Trophy, created in 2004, is a relatively new addition to a century-old rivalry.
"I have to imagine that is what they're thinking again, that whatever success we've had up to this point has been pressure-oriented".
No. 19 Wisconsin gets its conference run underway on Saturday when it hosts Iowa at Noon ET on ESPN. "I think it's exciting that now we get a chance to prove in the Big Ten that we can be as good of a rushing team as we were previous year". The Badgers will attempt to claim the trophy for the fourth consecutive game. "But my freshman year we lost 10 matches and we played on the last day of the season".
"What you see is what you're going to get", running backs coach John Settle said. In fact, Ferentz said Alvarez was the first person he met when he interviewed at Iowa for a position on Fry's staff. Hawaii (2-2) has now been shut out twice on the road against Big Ten opponents, losing two weeks ago at Ohio State, 38-0. That ball security shown by Stave is another example, along with his completion percentage and quarterback rating, of his improvement since UW coach Paul Chryst was hired.
"It's not exactly alike", Ferentz said. "I think his grasp, what it is, to be a starting quarterback at a major school; I think he's really taking that responsibility to heart".
The results on the field reflect just how close the programs are. Now Wisconsin will start the league slate at home against an Iowa club that they have beat the last two seasons in Iowa City. QB Joel Stave is a game manager and has been accurate this year.
A lack of big plays has forced the Badgers to score the hard way. Senior wideout Alex Erickson has emerged as Stave's favorite target, and Erickson leads the Badgers with 23 catches and 320 yards, plus one score.
Notes: Wisconsin starting CB Derek Tindal sat out the first half due to a targeting violation at the end of the third quarter in the Badgers' win against Troy.
UW linemen and linebackers will have to maintain their rush lanes and make sure they don't penetrate so deep into the pocket they allow Beathard room to step up and escape.
Still, the game's outcome figures to be decided where it usually is: at the line of scrimmage. Canzeri has a team-best 316 yards and eight rushing TDs - just one off the national lead. In the three games without Clement's presence, Ogunbowale has averaged 15 carries for over 90 yards, plus one touchdown per game, so Wisconsin's bread and butter is still the ground game even without an All-B1G-caliber dynamo back there.
That one-two punch helped take the sting out of the loss of No. 1 tailback Corey Clement, who will miss four to six weeks with required surgery.
On the next set of downs, the Rainbow Warriors promptly went three and out, having to punt to Wisconsin.
The Badgers now have 20 players committed for 2016. Interesting enough Saturday's game will be the just the 2nd time the two have played in Wisconsin.
UW has produced 17 plays of 20 or more yards this season, which is tied for 64th nationally among 128 teams. He broke a big run that was called back for holding, but more than made up for it a couple plays later with a 26-yard run, en route to a short, albeit impressive seven carry, 60 yard performance.
If so, Wisconsin may commence an enthusiastic, yet cautious, postgame celebration with the brass bull.