Dustin Sherer, making his first career start in place of Allan Evridge, was 17-of-34 for 161 yards and two interceptions for the Badgers.
Sherer finally got Wisconsin’s offense moving on its first two drives of the second half. But Iowa held the Badgers to field goals instead of touchdowns, as Philip Welch hit from 40 and 35 yards out to pull Wisconsin within 14-9 midway through the third quarter.
The Badgers would soon regret not finding the end zone.
Just three plays later, Greene outran Wisconsin’s defense for his longest touchdown of the year, a 52-yarder that put the Hawkeyes ahead 21-9.
Paki O’Meara then blocked a punt to give Iowa the ball on the Wisconsin 33. Ricky Stanzi threw behind tight end Alan Reisner in the flat, but Reisner made a one-handed grab and, thanks to a key block from Brandon Myers, ran 16 yards to make it 28-9 with 1:38 left in the third quarter.
Sherer was picked off by Pat Angerer early in the fourth quarter, and Greene put a capper on his best day yet with a 34-yard touchdown run to give the Hawkeyes a 35-9 lead with 9:18 left.
“It’s that feeling of, when something negative goes wrong it affects a couple different areas and that has a cumulative effect on your mentality, Bielema said. “Any time you’re a little mentally beat down, you become physically beat down.”
Until the past two games, Iowa’s problem was that it couldn’t win the close ones. The Hawkeyes won’t have to worry about that if they keep pounding teams like they have these past two weeks, when they’ve outscored their opponents 83-25.
“I don’t think our confidence has ever been down,” defensive tackle Mitch King said. “We knew we were there. We knew we were close.”
Stanzi had 114 yards passing and a touchdown for Iowa, which reclaimed the Heartland Trophy after two straight losses to Wisconsin.