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November 11, 2006

Donovan steps in, leads Badgers to 10th win

BOX SCORE

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Tyler Donovan stepped in for an injured John Stocco and threw for 228 yards and two touchdowns as No. 16 Wisconsin beat Iowa 24-21 on Saturday.

Luke Swan added 113 yards receiving and a TD for Wisconsin (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten), which snapped a four-game losing streak against Iowa (6-5, 2-5) and reached 10 regular-season wins for just the second time.

With the victory, coach Bret Bielema became the first Big Ten coach to win 10 games in his rookie year. Only Buffalo, which visits Camp Randall Stadium next week, stands in the way of the Badgers' first 11-win regular season.

Wisconsin scored the eventual game-winning score early in the fourth quarter on a 97-yard touchdown drive. Swan, whose 42-yard touchdown catch late in the first half gave the Badgers the lead, bailed them out again with a 48-yard, one-handed catch on third-and-11.

P.J. Hill's 1-yard TD run put Wisconsin ahead 24-14.

Hill lost his first career fumble on the Badgers' next possession, however, and Drew Tate hit Trey Stross on a 24-yard touchdown pass to pull the Hawkeyes within three with 10:20 left.

But fourth-quarter drops hurt the Hawkeyes. Scott Chandler stalled one drive by dropping a sure first-down catch, and wide-open Dominique Douglas misplayed yet another easy grab on fourth-and-7 with 2:32 left.

Tate threw three touchdowns for the Hawkeyes - who have lost five of seven - but completed just 10-of-31 passes.

Wisconsin blew an early 10-0 lead, but Donovan's TD pass to Swan with 39 seconds left in the first half put the Badgers ahead 17-14.

Iowa scored touchdowns on consecutive possessions to take a 14-10 lead. Tate set up the first score with a 64-yard completion to Chandler. A miscommunication by the Badgers' defense left Tony Moeaki wide open in the end zone, and his 4-yard TD catch brought the Hawkeyes within 10-7.

Tate followed with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Tom Busch.

The Badgers capitalized on an interception by Roderick Rogers and moved ahead by 10 late in the first quarter. Tate threw a floater that Rogers brought back to the Iowa 26, and Donovan threw a 3-yard TD pass to Travis Beckum.

Stocco, who has started 35 straight games, sat out with a shoulder injury suffered against Penn State last week.

Representatives from the Capital One, Champs Sports, Outback and Alamo bowls were in attendance. With Ohio State and Michigan both currently in line for BCS bids, Wisconsin is considered the front-runner for the Big Ten's Capital One slot. Iowa is likely headed to either the Alamo or Champs Sports Bowl.

Notes from UW Athletics Communications:

Team Notes
  • Today's win was the seventh straight victory for Wisconsin.
  • With the win the Badgers recorded their second 10-win regular season in school history (1998 was the other). It is the fifth 10-win season in school history.
  • UW finished the Big Ten season with a 7-1 record, tying the school record with seven Big Ten wins (1998 and 1999).
  • Wisconsin has scored in the final two minutes of the first half in eight of its 11 games this season (six touchdowns and two field goals).
  • Entering today's game, Wisconsin's defense had given up just three touchdown passes this season.
  • Iowa's two touchdowns in the second quarter were the first given up by UW's defense since the second quarter of the Illinois game (a span of seven quarters).
  • UW, which entered the game third in the country in time of possession, held the ball for 38:48 today (compared to 21:12 for Iowa).

    Individual Notes
  • Bret Bielema became the first Big Ten coach to record at least 10 wins in his rookie season as a head coach.
  • Junior quarterback Tyler Donovan made his first career start, replacing the injured John Stocco. Stocco, out with an injured right shoulder, had started the last 35 games in a row.
  • Donovan connected with Travis Beckum in the first quarter for a 3-yard touchdown pass. It was Donovan's first TD pass of the season and the second of his career (his first was against Temple on Sept. 10, 2005). He later tossed a 42-yard touchdown pass to Luke Swan. He recorded career highs in completions (17) attempts (24) yards (228) and TDs (2).
  • Donovan completed his first seven passes. His first incompletion came on a pass to Paul Hubbard with less than a minute left in the first half. He finished the first half 8-of-9 for 103 yards.
  • P.J. Hill scored on a one-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. It was his 15th touchdown of the season and first since a 3-yard run in the third quarter of the Badgers' win at Purdue.
  • With 77 yards rushing today, Hill has 1,447 on the season. That is the 11th-best total by a freshman in NCAA history and the 11th-best total in UW history.
  • The Badgers' 97-yard touchdown drive at the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth quarter was UW's longest scoring drive since Lee Evans caught a 99-yard touchdown pass from Jim Sorgi against Akron on Sept. 6, 2003.
  • Luke Swan recorded the first 100-yard receiving games of his career, totaling a career-best 113 receiving yards.
  • After hitting a 31-yard field goal in the first quarter, Taylor Mehlhaff is 13-of-13 this season on field goals inside of 47 yards.
  • Roderick Rogers recorded his second interception of the season (and second in two games) in the first quarter. Rogers now has five interceptions in his career. UW has at least one interception in each of the last six games and 22 of the last 26 games.


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