Sports

Hornibrook's final drive against Iowa highlights spectacular night

With senior Alex Hornibrook on his way out of the program, sophomore Jack Coan and freshman Graham Mertz are set to compete for Wisconsin's starting job.

Image By: Bobby Burmeister

In their first conference game of the season, the Badgers (1-0 Big Ten, 3-1 overall) would continue to be challenged, and absolutely could not afford a loss to start Big Ten play, and more importantly a game against Iowa.

Entering the fourth quarter losing 17-14 in hostile territory, the Badgers had struggled all night on offense against the top ranked Iowa defense that had only given up 13 points per game. With the run game from Heisman-hopeful Jonathan Taylor slowed from the production Badger fans are accustomed to, Wisconsin was looking to have a disappointing 2-2 start on their hands.

With under six minutes left in the game and the ball at their own 12-yard line, UW needed to at least get a field goal to extend the game. With a near perfect performance on that drive, quarterback Alex Hornibrook stepped up with a season defining drive.

Hornibrook showed great control of the offense as the Badgers methodically moved the ball down the field with a mix of solid running the running backs and clutch throws from Hornibrook.

After a 28-yard dime from Hornibrook to sophomore wide receiver Kenric Pryor that brought the ball into Iowa territory, the Badgers were faced with a crucial third down and five a few plays later.

That’s when Hornibrook calmly found running back Garrett Groshek, who was just able to stress across the line and grab a first down. Two plays later, Hornibrook found tight end Jake Ferguson for a 12-yard game to bring the Badgers to the 17-yard line with less than a minute left in regulation.

The Badgers were now well into field goal range, but with ample time left, a win was on their mind. Hornibrook found AJ Taylor in the end zone for the go-ahead score on a 17 yard touchdown pass.

Hornibrook finished the drive 5 for 5 for 65 yards and the game winning throw, coming up big in a primetime matchup. His performance on this final drive told the story of how big Hornibrook was on the night. Going 17-for-22 with 205 yards and three scores, the junior came up huge on the night as the Badgers eventually capped off the 28-17 win.

The win in Iowa can become a season defining moment for the Badgers. They often started sloppily in the their first three games including the terrible performance against BYU where Hornibrook threw a crucial interception that gave the Cougars all the momentum.

Hornibrook — much maligned as he is — seems to have found his groove in the Iowa game, and he’ll look to continue his great play in leading the offense against a struggling Nebraska team at home Saturday night.

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