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Donovan's first start a success for Wisconsin at Iowa

Nov 11, 2006 - 10:35 PM IOWA CITY, Iowa (Ticker) -- Tyler Donovan will have a positive memory of his first career start. Drew Tate will not think back fondly on his final home game.

Starting in place of the injured John Stocco, Donovan threw for a pair of touchdowns as No. 16 Wisconsin held off Big Ten Conference rival Iowa, 24-21, to snap a four-game skid in the series.

For the first time in 36 games, Stocco did not start at quarterback for Wisconsin after suffering a right shoulder injury in a 13-3 home win over Penn State last week. But Donovan, a junior, completed 17-of-24 passes for 228 yards without an interception to help Bret Bielema - who played at Iowa - become the first coach in Big Ten history to win 10 games in his first season.

"We told Tyler from Sunday on that the team was in his hands and he prepared to be the number one quarterback all week," Bielema said. "He went out and executed today. His play today spoke volumes of what he was all about and what our defense was able to do in a very hostile environment."

"You've got to give (Donovan) a lot of credit for going on the road and operating the way he did," Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz said.

Wisconsin also recorded just its second 10-win regular season, having also accomplished the feat in 1998.

P.J. Hill gave Wisconsin (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten) a 24-14 lead by capping a 15-play, 97-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run with 13:49 remaining. The drive consumed 7:40.

The Badgers forced a three-and-out but Hill fumbled a screen pass three plays later after a hit by cornerback Charles Godfrey. The Hawkeyes went 59 yards in just four plays, with Tate throwing a 24-yard touchdown to Trey Stross to pull the hosts within 24-21 with 10:20 to play.

After a series of fruitless possessions, Iowa got the ball at its own 31 with 3:29 remaining. On 4th-and-7 at the 34, Tate threw a pass to a wide-open Dominique Douglas near midfield that the true freshman bobbled and dropped, and Wisconsin ran out the final 2:32, though had a brief scare when Hill dropped a handoff before recovering the ball.

"We played tough and we played hard we just didn't make the plays when we needed to at the end of the game," said tight end Scott Chandler, who also dropped a potential first down midway through the fourth quarter. "It's disappointing. There are those plays we need to make and we didn't make them."

Tate went just 10-of-31 for 170 yards with an interception but did throw three TDs for Iowa (6-5, 2-5), which lost its fourth consecutive conference contest. He finished 14-4 in starts at Kinnick Stadium.

"It's fair to say we just haven't played consistently in any area all year, especially on offense," Ferentz said.

The 82-game series is tied, 40-40-2. This was the third year that the Heartland Trophy was presented to the winner.

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