A former Wisconsin QB is 6-1 as a starter in the Big Ten this year

A former Wisconsin QB is 6-1 as a starter in the Big Ten this year

One of the stories of Wisconsin’s first offseason under head coach Luke Fickell and Phil Longo was the turnover in the quarterback room. Out went Graham Mertz, Deacon Hill and others. In came Tanner Mordecai, Nick Evers and Braedyn Locke.

It was one of Fickell’s focuses as he started to build his program.

Well, the results have been mixed in year one. Mordecai battled a hand injury and has been fine, while Locke has shown some promise in limited action. The quarterback room has reflected the team as a whole: brilliant at times, yet painfully inconsistent.

Meanwhile, a former Wisconsin quarterback is winning at an impressive clip. That is Iowa Hawkeyes starting quarterback Deacon Hill, who improved to 6-1 as starter after today’s 13-10 win over Nebraska. Hill was a four-star recruit in Wisconsin’s class of 2021 and appeared in one game as a Badger before transferring to Iowa last offseason.

Are his numbers great this year? No. They’re actually quite awful. 49.7% completion, 882 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions in seven starts. And that leading an offense that barely cracks 18 points per game.

But as we’ve learned with this Iowa team, the offense can be atrocious and the defense and special teams can still win games. Today was a fantastic test of that, as Hill threw a back-breaking last-minute interception with the game tied at 10.

What happened next? Well, obviously Nebraska QB Chubba Purdy answered with an interception of his own which set Iowa up for a game-winning field goal to improve to 10-2 on the season.

Iowa, as we all predicted, will face the winner of Michigan vs Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship in a few weeks.

Iowa’s Caitlin Clark holds top-spot for most 30 point games, surpassing Kelsey Plum

The last player to hold the record is current WNBA Las Vegas Aces player Kelsey Plum.

Iowa pushed past Drake on Sunday night, 113-90, to walk away with a win at home. Iowa’s Caitlin Clark had 35 points and tallied a career-high seven steals to lead the team, along with 10 assists and six rebounds.

This was Clark’s 39th career 30-point game, which put her in the top spot for most 30-point games by a D-I player over the last 25 seasons. The last player to hold the record is current WNBA Las Vegas Aces player Kelsey Plum.

“We came out playing Iowa basketball — high assists, low turnovers,” said Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder. “I thought our energy level was a lot better out there tonight. We were more focused. We scored the most points in program history in the first half, that was pretty fun. Obviously, we shot the ball pretty well, but I was happy with our 3-point defense.

“Drake averages almost 12 3s a game, and we held them to 26% 3-point shooting average, and they were averaging over 40%. I thought that was big for us. Kate Martin had a special game for us and played tonight like she was playing in the summer, and I love to see that. Caitlin had a double-double in 30 minutes of play, and also broke the NCAA record for most 30-point games. I love the fact we forced 22 turnovers tonight as well.”

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Big Ten Power Rankings after Week 11: A dark day for Wisconsin

Big Ten Power Rankings after Week 11: A dark day for Wisconsin

Wisconsin fans may not be huge fans of these power rankings.

Things looked fine a few weeks ago, Wisconsin had just orchestrated an amazing comeback victory vs Illinois and had a great shot to win the Big Ten West.

But since then, things have collapsed. The team fell to top-ranked Ohio State, inexplicably lost at Indiana and now were lifeless in a 24-10 home loss to Northwestern.

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It’s been the worst stretch of Wisconsin football I can ever remember.

So, where does the rest of the Big Ten stand? There were big upsets and weird results all weekend in-conference. Here are our Power Rankings coming out of Week 11:

Notre Dame lands commitment from 2025 Illinois defender recruit

Like this get for the Irish?

Elmhurst, Illinois is starting to become a hotbed for 2025 Notre Dame defensive commits. Earlier this year, the Irish received a commitment from defense end recruit [autotag]Joseph Reiff[/autotag] from York. Now, IC Catholic Prep in the same town has a commit for the same recruiting class in edge rusher [autotag]Dom Hulak[/autotag], who announced his decision Friday.

Like Reiff, Hulak was recruited by [autotag]Al Golden[/autotag] and [autotag]Al Washington[/autotag]. They beat out offers from many other schools, all of which were either in or near the Midwest. They included Louisville, Purdue, Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa.

According to 247Sports, Hulak is ranked eighth on the list of 2025 Illinois recruits. Reiff is right behind him at ninth.

Hulak is the eighth commit in Notre Dame’s 2025 class, which ranks third on 247Sports behind Georgia and Alabama. The Irish are the highest-ranked program on the list without a five-star recruit. Fortunately, it’s early enough that that still can change.

Contact/Follow us @IrishWireND on Twitter, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Notre Dame news, notes, and opinions.

Follow Geoffrey on Twitter: @gfclark89

Big Ten Power Rankings after Week 10: A final ode to the Big Ten West

Big Ten Power Rankings after Week 10: A final ode to the Big Ten West

The Big Ten West is going out in perfect fashion.

Things actually looked promising with Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Nebraska all playing well and contending for the crown. Then the last two Saturdays happened…

Wisconsin has lost two straight including one at Indiana, Nebraska just lost to a terrible Michigan State team and Minnesota lost to Illinois. Somehow Iowa is the only team still winning.

Meanwhile, the Big Ten East picture looks the same its looked for months. Michigan is dominant, Ohio State keeps winning but is the clear No. 2 and Penn State is really good but not quite good enough to win the division.

November was created to settle all these races and battles. As we enter the best month of the year, here are our Big Ten Power Rankings after Week 10:

The Big Ten West is a beautiful mess in its final season

The Big Ten West is a beautiful mess in its final season:

Wisconsin lost 24-10 to Ohio State on Saturday, dropping to 5-3 on the season and 3-2 in Big Ten play. The Badgers had a leg up in the Big Ten West after their big comeback win over Illinois, yet Saturday’s loss moved the team back into a massive pack of mostly average teams.

Iowa is 3-2 with the tiebreaker over Wisconsin, Wisconsin is 3-2, Minnesota is somehow 3-2 with a tiebreaker over Iowa, Nebraska is quietly 3-2, Northwestern is 2-3 and both Purdue and Illinois are 1-4. The division is a beautiful mess in its final season of existence.

Usually, there are 1-2 teams clearly above the rest. This year, every squad might just be equally average. While not great in the national landscape, it does make for captivating late-season football.

Here is a visual look at the hilarious Big Ten West standings through this weekend:

Wisconsin sits top-10 in a very important defensive statistic

Wisconsin sits top-10 in a very important defensive statistic:

This is probably not the note everyone wants to see after Wisconsin’s 15-6 loss to Iowa on Saturday.

But there was one significant highlight of the game: the play of Mike Tressel’s defense. Yes, it came against one of the worst offenses in the country. But the unit kept the Badgers in the game throughout despite the offense failing to score a single touchdown.

Wisconsin’s defense through six games ranks No. 37 nationally in yards per game and No. 24 in yards per play allowed. It also sits No. 9 in Stop Rate, also known as the percentage of the defense’s drives that end in punts, turnovers or turnovers on downs.

The Badgers boast a rate of 77.3% in the category:

Saturday’s matchup with Iowa’s putrid offense helped this area immensely. Wisconsin stopped Iowa on 11 of its 14 drives, good for a rate of 78.5%. Unfortunately for the Badgers, none of those stops were turnovers. The Hawkeyes were able to flip the field constantly with star punter Tory Taylor and maintain control of the contest.

Wisconsin is back this Saturday against Illinois in a game the Badgers should win, even with backup QB Braedyn Locke under center. Then comes Ohio State, a now must-win game if Wisconsin has any hope in the Big Ten West.

Like big bunkers? Check out Tyler Rae’s restoration of Wakonda Club in Iowa

Big, steep bunkers and fresh greens highlight the work at Wakonda Club in Iowa.

Wakonda Club in Des Moines, Iowa, is nearing completion of a restoration at the hands of golf architect Tyler Rae and his associate, Jim Ryan Jr. Work is nearly complete with just a few items left as the course grows in.

Wakonda Club opened in 1922 with a design by William Langford, who started laying out courses during the golden era of golf design. Langford typically worked with partner Theodore J. Moreau through the early 1940s before continuing on his own later.

Along with Wakonda Club, Langford’s highest-rated courses include Lawsonia Links in Wisconsin, Texarkana Country Club in Arkansas, Skokie Country Club in Illinois and Culver Academies in Indiana. Wakonda Club, as judged before the restoration, ranked No. 4 in Iowa in Golfweek’s Best 2023 ranking of private clubs in each state.

Wakonda Club has an extensive competitive pedigree, having hosted many tournaments including the 1963 U.S. Amateur won by Deane Beman, who would go on to play on the PGA Tour before becoming the Tour’s longtime commissioner. The club has hosted the Principal Charity Classic on the PGA Tour Champions since 2013, with Stephen Ames having won it this year.

Rae has an extensive list of credits to his name, including historical restorations and new builds. His other projects include Lookout Mountain Club in Georgia, Brookside Country Club in Ohio, Mountain Lake in Florida and Brae Burn in Massachusetts.

As noted in an email from the club, Rae’s extensive plan for Wakonda has included:

  • All new tee boxes, adding length to the championship tees while shortening the forward tees.
  • Ten-plus acres of fairway expansions, reinstalling width to the course. This includes joining two sets of fairways at Nos. 8 and 10 and Nos. 11 and 15.
  • Added five new greens (Nos. 2, 5, 9, 15 and 17) using themes from Langford and Moreau’s best work.
  • Used 22,000 square feet of sod from the old greens that were rebuilt to expand the greens on the 13 other holes.
  • Rebuilt every bunker to Langford and Moreau’s style, and reclaimed many bunkers that had been grassed over – L&M were not afraid to build deep bunkers with tall, nearly vertical faces. (Check the photos below for examples.)
  • Added XGD drainage to every green and installed a new Toro irrigation system.
  • Rebuilt the short-game practice area.

Check out several photos of the work below:

Big Ten Power Rankings after Week 7: Iowa wins the Big Ten West

Big Ten Power Rankings after Week 7: Iowa wins the Big Ten West

Week 7 in the 2023 Big Ten football season saw a big upset. It was not Ohio State, Penn State or Michigan, as all three teams won their games by a combined margin of 156-14.

Unfortunately, it was Iowa as 9-point underdogs coming into Madison, Wisconsin and defeating the Badgers 15-6. Both team’s seasons were effectively on the line, and it was Iowa that played like a team with championship aspirations.

Week 8’s schedule is a massive one. Penn State visits Ohio State, Minnesota visits Iowa and Michigan visits Michigan State. It is now through mid-November when the two division races will be all-but-decided in the format’s final season.

Wisconsin fans may want to look away. But here are our Big Ten Power Rankings after Week 7:

QB Deacon Hill and Iowa won Saturday’s game in hilarious fashion

QB Deacon Hill and the Iowa offense beat Purdue 20-14 without completing a pass to a wide receiver:

Welcome to Iowa Week, arguably my favorite week of the year. The Wisconsin Badgers enter at 4-1 (2-0 Big Ten) and in the driver’s seat in the Big Ten West.

Iowa enters at 5-1 (2-1 Big Ten) with a cupcake schedule left for the rest of the year. It should go without saying that Saturday’s game will decide the 2023 Big Ten West.

Related: Big Ten Power Rankings after Week 6: Wisconsin continues to rise

If you’ve followed Iowa at all this season, you’re likely aware of the Drive to 325 — where offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz must average 25 points per game in order to keep his job. Yes, Brian Ferentz who happens to be the head coach’s son.

The progress on that quest is not great, to say the least. The Hawkeyes average 21.8 points per game through six weeks, including a few average offensive games (by their standards) against some of the worst competition in the country.

Here’s a stat that can define the Hawkeyes’ season: Iowa is undefeated this season when it scores a point — the one loss being a 31-0 beatdown at Penn State. It has found a way to still win football games despite its offense maybe being just as bad as last year’s unit.

On Saturday, that win was a 20-14 triumph over Purdue. And I have a terrific anecdote from the contest:

Hawkeyes quarterback Deacon Hill finished the contest 6/21 passing for 110 yards, one touchdown, one interception and a QBR of 2.0 (meaning only 2% of the time will that performance lead to a win). Of his six completions, five went to tight end Erick All and one went to running back Kaleb Johnson.

That means Iowa, a team that includes wide receivers on the field when running offense, has now completed only 20 passes to wideouts this season. That averages out to 3.33 per game.

For context, Army runs a triple-option. Yet Army has completed 34 passes to wide receivers.

But Iowa is still winning, of course, and there could not be a better build-up to Wisconsin vs Iowa this weekend.