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3rd-string QB stopped at the 4

11/23/2003

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Iowa Hawkeyes knew they wanted their
dominant defense and not their ordinary offense on the field at the
end. Still, some of them couldn't bear to watch the final play.

"I just closed my eyes and listened," running back Fred
Russell said.

He heard nearly 80,000 fans moan when free safety Sean Considine
broke up John Stocco's pass in the end zone with no time left to
preserve No. 17 Iowa's 27-21 victory over Wisconsin on Saturday.

"You've got to believe in our defense," Russell said. "They
carried us all season."

Considine, whose interception of Matt Schabert's pass in the
third quarter led to the Hawkeyes' go-ahead score, batted down
Stocco's throw intended for Jonathan Orr on fourth-and-goal from
the 4.

"We didn't want it any other way," Considine said. "It was up
to us. It was a test of character."

The Hawkeyes (9-3, 5-3 Big Ten) overcame three first-half
turnovers and an early 14-point deficit to thwart the Badgers'
long-shot bid for a New Year's Day bowl berth.

The Badgers (7-5, 4-4) were playing great until starting
quarterback Jim Sorgi was knocked out of the game with a head
injury in the second quarter. Schabert threw three interceptions,
all of which led to Iowa scores, before being benched.

Jovon Johnson got the first interception and the Hawkeyes
converted it into a touchdown that made it 21-14 when Nathan
Chandler, who was just 8-of-26 for 66 yards, found Ramon Ochoa from
6 yards out.

Nate Kaeding's 50-yard field goal with 11 seconds left cut
Wisconsin's lead to 21-17 at halftime.

In the third quarter, Considine intercepted Schabert's pass at
the Wisconsin 25 and returned it to the 1. Russell ran it in from
there to put Iowa on top 24-21.

Three plays later, Schabert again threw an ill-advised jumpball
and this time safety Bob Sanders grabbed it, leading to Kaeding's
28-yard field goal.

Wisconsin got the ball at the Iowa 48 with 3:38 left and drove
to the 10. Dwayne Smith rushed for 4 yards and Stocco gained
another on a quarterback draw, bringing up third-and-goal from the
5.

After using the last timeout with 21 seconds left, Johnson
wrapped up Smith after a 1-yard reception and the Badgers hustled
back to the line and snapped the ball just as time expired.

"I couldn't imagine they got the play off," Hawkeyes coach
Kirk Ferentz said. "I thought we were in good shape when we
tackled Smith inbounds. I thought the game was over. But they got
the play off. I think it was legal. That was amazing."

The Hawkeyes went from yelling that the clock had already
expired to rushing the field to celebrate their first Big Ten road
win.

"That was a very difficult loss," said Badgers coach Barry
Alvarez, who failed to win his 100th career game. "We just turned
it over too many times in the second half."

Alvarez praised Stocco and his defense.

"But it's hard when you give the other team the ball," he
said.

His teammates insisted Schabert shouldn't feel as though he let
them down. After all, he threw the game-winning, 79-yard touchdown
pass in the closing minutes to end defending national champion Ohio
State's 19-game winning streak last month.

"Matt's done a great job this year," linebacker Kyle McCorison
said. "He's had some great games. We just fell short, that's
all."

Anthony Davis, who has missed most of the season with ankle
injuries, scored on runs of 1 and 4 yards and set up Smith's 1-yard
TD run by gaining 30 yards on a fourth-down screen pass from
Schabert.

Sorgi, who had thrown for 685 yards and nine touchdowns in his
previous two games -- the best two-game stretch in school history,
was hurt when he was hit by defensive end Tyler Luebke after
delivering a pass.

"I was confident he would have a good ball game," Alvarez
said. "We hated to lose him."

The pain lessened after Stocco entered the game.

The redshirt freshman who had thrown just one pass all season,
completed 5-of-9 passes for 84 yards, including a 49-yarder to
Evans.

"I was shocked. He was incredibly poised to step into that type
of environment in a big game and he ran the offense really well,"
Evans said. "I was proud of him."

And he was pleased with the Badgers' gutsy effort, too.

"We couldn't ask for much more," Evans said. "We were in
position to win the game. Just one more play at the end would have
done it. But we just came up a little short."