Oct. 22, Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa

Record: 5-2 (2-2 Big Ten)

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Wisconsin defense had plenty of opportunity to crumble Saturday in Iowa City.

Nose tackle Olive Sagapolu, the Badgers’ key clog in the middle, didn’t make the trip due to injury. Inside linebacker Jack Cichy played much of the final two quarters with one usable arm before finally being pulled from the game. Cornerback Derrick Tindal missed the entire second half after hurting his right leg, a loss amplified by the absence of No. 3 cornerback Natrell Jamerson since Week 2.

None of that mattered. Not for a UW defense that continues to prove itself as one of the country’s best and carry the 10th-ranked Badgers through a season of national relevance.

Even when a 77-yard kickoff return gave Iowa a short field and hope of a last-ditch comeback in the final minutes, Iowa failed to reach the end zone in UW’s 17-9 victory at Kinnick Stadium.

“The defense, they gave us a chance to win this one,” UW coach Paul Chryst said. “They closed it out."

While UW (5-2, 2-2) was sifting through rotations at four positions on the offensive line and squandering golden opportunities in the red zone, its defense was making sure any shortcomings on the other side of the ball were moot.

Iowa (5-3, 3-2) managed 236 total yards, including 88 rushing on 27 carries, and converted on just two of its 13 third-down attempts. The Badgers have now held nine of their last 14 opponents to under 100 rushing yards and won all nine of those contests.

“It doesn’t matter if we’ve got injuries or not,” said UW outside linebacker Vince Biegel, who missed the past two games with a fractured foot before returning Saturday. "I think it’s a credit to the guys we have stepping up.

"We’ve been banged up a little bit on our defense, but I think it shows the determination and grit that we have to step up and make some plays."

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