Nov 22, 2014 7:09 PM
No. 14 Wisconsin holds off Iowa 26-24
The Associated Press
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Melvin Gordon surpassed 2,000 yard rushing with 200 yards and two touchdowns, and 14th-ranked Wisconsin held off Iowa 26-24 on Saturday for its sixth straight win.
Gordon became the 17th FBS player with a 2,000-yard rushing season to lead the Badgers (9-2, 6-1 Big Ten). Wisconsin still has to beat Minnesota in Madison next weekend to earn a shot at Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.
Gordon's performance came just hours after Oklahoma's Samaje Perine broke his week-old FBS record with 427 yards rushing in a win over Kansas. But Gordon was sensational in his own right, cracking the 2,000-yard on an 88-yard run midway through the third quarter.
Jake Rudock had 311 yards passing and two TDs for the Hawkeyes (7-4, 4-3), who rallied from 16 down to get within 26-24 with just over 5 minutes left.
Iowa and Nebraska wrap up the regular season in Iowa City on Friday.
Wisconsin watched its 16-point lead dwindle to 19-17 early in the fourth quarter.
Gordon made sure the Badgers didn't blow it. He caught a 35-yard pass on a 3rd-down and 13 and followed his blockers for the 23-yard TD run that put Wisconsin ahead 26-17.
Rudock's 9-yard TD pass to Jake Duzey with 5:01 left made it 26-24, but Joel Stave's 12-yard run with 1:55 left clinched it for the Badgers.
Stave was 11 of 14 passing for 139 yards for Wisconsin.
Gordon had a sluggish first half, running for just 39 yards against an Iowa defense that was intent on stopping him.
Gordon reminded everyone why he's the best back in the country early in the third quarter.
He broke left and bolted for a career-high 88 yards before cornerback Greg Mabin caught him from behind. Iowa held the Badgers to a field goal that put them up 19-3.
Gordon reached 2,000 yards on just 241 carries faster than anyone in NCAA history and tied Ron Dayne's single-season Big Ten mark of 2,109.
But Rudock rallied the reeling Hawkeyes with an impressive 20-yard TD strike to Kevonte Martin-Manley and a two-point conversion. Rudock then pulled Iowa within 19-17 on a 3-yard TD run with 11:10 left, but his two-point conversion throw was incomplete.
The attention that Iowa paid to Gordon cost them dearly early in the second quarter.
Quarterback Tanner McEvoy faked a handoff to Gordon. While many Hawkeyes fans were cheering a hit on Gordon in the backfield, McEvoy sneaked through the defense for a 45-yard TD run to put Wisconsin ahead 9-3.
Gordon went untouched for his 26th touchdown of the year, from 6 yards out, to give Wisconsin a 16-3 halftime lead.
Iowa pushed the Badgers to the brink in the second half. But thanks to Gordon, Wisconsin is just one step away from setting up a title game showdown with the Buckeyes in Indianapolis.
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