Rivalries are the foundation of college football. There are more rivalries of note than any book could hold each battle between bitter opponents coming with a litany of history that deserves its own time and attention.
Among the most notable rivalries in the legendary Big Ten Conference is the battle between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Wisconsin Badgers. The two have been facing one another off and on since 1894, with more than a few memorable moments between.
Let’s take a look into the battle for the Outland Trophy, a tilt between two of the Big Ten Conference’s most historic programs.
The All-Time Records
The rivalry between Wisconsin and Iowa began all the way back in 1894, with the Badgers shutting out the Hawkeyes to the tune of 44-0. They have met a total of 96 times since then, including the 2022 victory by the Hawkeyes.
The series has been largely even throughout, with Wisconsin holding the advantage at 49-45-2. The home team has a clear advantage in the rivalry as well. Iowa is 26-20-1 in the friendly confines of Kinnick Stadium while Wisconsin is 29-19-1 at Camp Randall Stadium.
Wisconsin has also been in the driver’s seat for much of the last decade. Posting seven wins in the last ten tilts, Iowa still has some work to do in order to get back on the positive side of the rivalry.
The Outland Trophy
Though the rivalry lasted for 128 years, things were taken to another level in 2004. That year saw the introduction of the Heartland Trophy given to the winner of the annual matchup between Iowa and Wisconsin.
That 2004 season would be a memorable one for Iowa. Not only did they take home the Heartland Trophy that first year, but also claimed a share of the Big Ten title in the process.
The Outland has been in Wisconsin more often than not since then, with Wisconsin winning posting a 10-7 record since the trophy’s creation.
The Outland Trophy itself features a brass bull that has been mounted on a wooden base. The entire thing weighs a whopping 72 pounds, making it a hefty prize for the victors.
There are a lot of ups and downs throughout the course of the average college season. Being able to win rivalry games like this can make a season for the victor.
How Did the Last Game Go?
Heading into the 2022 matchup, things had largely gone the way of the Badger. Wisconsin had won five of the previous six contests, the latest being a decisive 27-7 victory in front of the Madison, WI faithful.
The 96th contest between the Hawkeyes and Badgers saw the two meet in Kinnick Stadium. For both teams, 2022 has not been kind. The Badgers, in particular, have seen a level of struggle like they had not in several years.
That day would not ease their pain. The story of the game would be Cooper DeJean, who returned an interception for a touchdown while also setting the table for another score thanks to his 41-yard punt return. The sophomore cornerback was all over the place on the day, tallying 10 tackles to shut down the Wisconsin attack.
Though the offensive attack for Iowa had been inconsistent throughout the year, it managed to do enough to propel Iowa to victory. With a final score of 24-10, the Outland Trophy will stay with Iowa for the next year.
The Most Memorable Games in the Series
The Big Ten Conference as a whole is filled with programs that have a history exceeding 100 years. Both Wisconsin and Iowa have been playing football since the late 1800s, their inaugural meeting coming in the fall of 1894.
With nearly 100 games between the two, finding a few standout editions has not been difficult. Here are some of the standouts from the rivalry.
October 15, 1960
The 1960 season was a historic one for Iowa, including their matchup against then-12th-ranked Wisconsin in Kinnick Stadium. Entering the action, Iowa would be ranked second in the nation, riding a three-game winning streak against the Badgers.
The game was a back-and-forth contest as many between the two programs had been to that point. The game itself, tied 21-21, would come down to a span of just 13.
That was all it would take for Iowa’s Larry Ferguson to field a punt at his own 19-yard line and even a long reception from Ferguson to be called back. But a connection between quarterback Wilburn Hollis and receiver Sammie Harris would be the difference maker.
Iowa would prevail, winning the day 28-21. Even more importantly, the victory over the 12th-ranked Badgers would push Iowa ahead to the #1 ranking in the country.
November 20, 2004
You can’t talk about the most memorable games in the series without discussing the very first game with the Outland Trophy on the line. More importantly, both teams came into the game with a lot on the line.
Both had 9-2 records, Iowa ranking 17th while the Badgers sported the 9th ranking in the Associated Press.
For Hawkeyes fans, the game would not be a disappointment. Iowa jumped out to an early lead thanks to a Drew Tate touchdown pass before Booker Stanley responded with a touchdown run to start the second.
The Hawkeyes would not look back from there. A pair of touchdown passes from Tate, giving him three for the day, and a trio of Kyle Schlicher field goals would finish out the day, giving the Hawkeyes a 30-7 victory over a top 10 team and the very first Heartland Trophy win.
October 23, 2010
Entering the contest, both teams were ranked in the AP top 15: Wisconsin was the 11th team in the nation and Iowa was the 13th. To make things even more interesting, Wisconsin entered the game in Kinnick having knocked off the top team in the nation, the Ohio State Buckeyes, the week prior.
The two teams were even throughout much of the contest both on