Wisconsin visited Iowa on Oct. 18, 2008, riding a three-game losing streak and in search of their first Big Ten win, which appeared possible given the Hawkeyes were one week removed from their own three-game skid during which they scored 50 total points.
Iowa forced three turnovers, ran for 254 yards and kept Wisconsin — led by offensive coordinator Paul Chryst — out of the end zone until late in the fourth quarter of a 38-16 win. Three weeks later, the Hawkeyes ended undefeated Penn State's title hopes with a stunning upset of the Nittany Lions at Kinnick Stadium.
That win didn't surprise Chryst, nor did Iowa's demolition of Ohio State last weekend. The Badgers' third-year head coach has grown accustomed to seeing their Big Ten rival take down elite opponents. Since 2008, Chryst has been a part of four Wisconsin teams that played Iowa in the weeks before or after the Hawkeyes beat a top-five opponent.
He was Wisconsin offensive coordinator in 2010 when the Badgers beat Iowa at Kinnick Stadum, a week before the Hawkeyes smoked Michigan State. Last year, he was head coach for Wisconsin's loss in Iowa City, three weeks before Iowa ended Michigan's playoff hopes. And this year, his team will host Iowa a week after they obliterated the Buckeyes, 55-24.
And like years' past, Chryst was not surprised.
"They were going to have our full attention [regardless]," he told HERO Sports this week. "I'm not saying that I knew what was going to happen in the game but [it was] nothing surprising . . . they didn't do anything that you hadn't seen them doing or capable of doing all year. We knew they were a really good football team and that just verifies it."
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Chryst is facing Iowa for just the third time as head coach (1-1), but the Madison native and former Badgers' quarterback has played the Hawkeyes 12 times as a player, assistant coach or head coach. Wisconsin lost all three meetings during his playing days (1986-88), along with his first two as an assistant (2002, 2005). They rebounded with victories in 2006 and 2007 — Chryst's first two years as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach — before dropping their next two (2008, 2009). Wisconsin has won two of the last three, including last year's 17-9 win at Kinnick Stadium, their fourth consecutive victory in Iowa City.
"It's not a surprise," he reiterated. "We've [had our schedules] cross over enough watching Iowa vs. the opponents you're playing. You know they're a good football team and certainly well-coached. Not a surprise but you never know how games turn out . . . as you dive into them this week and study them and prepare to play them, you have even more respect them."
Though Chryst says there is respect regardless of Iowa's record or, in this case, their throttling of a playoff contender a week earlier, such a statement win likely has the blood pumping a little faster in Madison this week as the Hawkeyes look to crush more playoff dreams.