Rotating quarterbacks has been a hot point of contention for Iowa faithful this season.
While junior Jake Rudock was silencing talks of a quarterback rotation with perhaps his best game as a Hawkeye Saturday afternoon, Wisconsin was busy using a two-quarterback rotation to perfection.
Wisconsin got big contributions from both Joel Stave and Tanner McEvoy as the No. 14 Badgers escaped Iowa City with a 26-24 win over Iowa.
McEvoy ran for 62 yards and a touchdown and Stave threw for 139 yards and clinched the game with a first-down producing scramble with under two minutes to play as Wisconsin won at Kinnick Stadium for the second year in a row and the third straight time.
“His patience in the pocket showed up two or three times today,” Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen said of Stave. “He stepped up, came back in, threw some balls, so his presence in the pocket was very good today.”
Rotating quarterbacks like relief pitchers throughout most of the game, both Badger signal callers took turns making big plays.
McEvoy struck first, racing 45 yards nearly untouched for a touchdown on a zone read play in the second quarter.
The 6-foot-6 former defensive back faked a handoff to Heisman Trophy candidate Melvin Gordon and raced 45 yards to put Wisconsin up 9-3 with 11:02 left in the second quarter.
“He’s a big distraction, it’s Melvin Gordon and that is what we keyed on,” Iowa linebacker Quinton Alston said.
Ironically it was the Badgers’ throwing quarterback Stave who iced the game with a run.
Stave secured the win by eluding the Iowa rush for a 12-yard gain on a third-and-8 play with less than two mintues to go.
The game-clinching run by Stave produced Wisconsin’s seventh third-down conversion in 13 attempts.
“Joel made a great read, I couldn’t even tell you right now if there was three or four of them coming but Joel saw the crease and he took a good angle and was able to make a very, very good play,” Anderson said.
Stave finished 11-of-14 through the air for 139 yards while McEvoy didn’t attempt a pass but ran for 62 yards on six attempts.
“When No. 2 (Stave) was in the game you had to think about the pass and the run,” Alston said. “Then No. 5 (McEvoy) gets in and we saw on film that he struggled a bit throwing the ball but he has really great feet and he can run really well.”
Reach Ryan Murken at 339-7369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.