Nebraska rush offense vs. Iowa rush defense
The Huskers have gone three straight games without a 200-yard team effort, dropping to No. 14 nationally in rushing offense (256.2 yards). That has coincided with the injury to I-back Ameer Abdullah, but includes running into stout running defenses with Wisconsin and Minnesota. Iowa is closer to the Gophers than the Badgers, allowing 158.5 yards per game and 4.2 per carry. Abdullah said he is getting healthier each week, so maybe that can make a difference here.
Nebraska pass offense vs. Iowa pass defense
Tommy Armstrong regained his touch against Minnesota after completing a combined 14 of 39 passes in the prior two games. Still, his season completion percentage is at 52.4, the running game isn’t adding the diversion it was before, and Nebraska finished its last game without all-time leading receiver Kenny Bell. The Hawkeyes haven’t allowed an opponent to hit 150 passing yards since Maryland reached 206 on Oct. 18.
Iowa rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense
Iowa has to be licking its chops after watching Wisconsin and Minnesota absolutely shred NU the last two weeks, but it also has its own issues. Since midseason the Hawkeyes have had games where they managed just 116 rushing yards against Maryland, 84 against Minnesota and 101 against Wisconsin — and they rarely break the big ones. Somebody needs to win here, and maybe the Huskers regain some of the success they had earlier in the season.
Iowa pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense
The Hawkeye air attack is probably more efficient than pretty, but that might be all it takes Friday if they can avoid mistakes. Jake Rudock is completing 64.2 percent of his throws, with 14 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Nebraska is holding opponents to the lowest completion rate in the Big Ten (47.3 percent) and has more interceptions (11) than passing TDs allowed (10). But the Huskers have been falling victim to some timely throws.
NU ranks ahead of Iowa in net punting, kickoff coverage and punt returns. The Huskers also swung the Minnesota game last week with a blocked field goal that they returned for a touchdown. Both teams have missed five field goals. The difference might be Nebraska having De’Mornay Pierson-El on punt returns and Sam Foltz punting.
The visiting team has won the last two years, but the Huskers aren’t exactly arriving in Iowa City with momentum or self-confidence. The two have gone a combined 0-4 against Wisconsin and Minnesota (each with an embarrassing blowout) so it comes down to pride and bowl placement. Both have negative turnover margins, but Iowa is one of the least penalized teams in the nation, has fewer injury questions and is bidding farewell to its seniors.
Key matchup: Iowa's Brandon Scherff vs. Nebraska's Randy Gregory
Two of the Big Ten’s best will cross paths from time to time Friday when Iowa left tackle Brandon Scherff gets matched up with Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory. Scherff, a senior from Denison, Iowa, has battled a knee injury but started the season with All-America and Outland Trophy attention. Gregory, a junior from Fishers, Indiana, also had September knee trouble but has rebounded with seven sacks, 10 tackles for losses and 16 quarterback hurries.
The Hawkeyes’ defense has held Nebraska to 288 and 263 total yards in the previous two meetings and forced five turnovers, although the 2012 game at Kinnick Stadium was played in some severe wind and cold. But if Nebraska doesn’t have Bell to stretch the field and Abdullah at his most dangerous level, it will put an awful lot on the shoulders of Armstrong. Iowa is coming off a spirited effort against Wisconsin, and if it can maintain the better focus and wear out the Huskers that could result in the difference.
Our prediction: IOWA 21, NEBRASKA 20
Big Red Today coverage
When Nebraska commit Brendan Radley-Hiles steps to the line against an elite receiver, that's when he unleashes the "Bookie." That's the nickname he's had nearly his entire life, but it's also become his persona — the embodiment of his confidence.
The World-Herald’s annual list of best Big Ten players is stacked heavily toward a trio of teams: Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin. Not surprisingly, it’s those teams that should start inside the top 10 when the coaches and media…
Four-star quarterback prospect Max Duggan of Council Bluffs Lewis Central made plans this week to visit Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. On Thursday on Interstate 75 near Atlanta, the rental SUV the family was riding in was rear-ended, causing whiplash to…
When Howard Griffith is breaking down Nebraska, he's doing it for two reasons. First, he's an analyst for BTN, so it's his job to see how the Huskers stack up with the rest of the Big Ten. But he's also…
Catch up on everything you might have missed during Thursday's episode of "The Bottom Line."
Who are the best 20 Huskers in the Big Ten era? With six seasons of data and top performances through which to sort, here’s the list – for now.
Houston Griffith has heard the criticism since he first started drawing recruiting interest as an eighth-grader in Chicago.
I’ve been reviewing preseason magazines in July for several years. Rarely have they collectively been this bearish on a Nebraska football season. It’s a contrast to the natural tendency of local media — myself included — to focus on the…
Brendan Radley-Hiles is approaching five-star status after the latest update to Scout’s recruiting rankings. The Nebraska commit moved up 27 spots to No. 22 nationally and is the nation’s No. 4 cornerback.
Nebraska’s 2017 recruiting class looks different now than it did five months ago. How might the class rankings change if the three players that won't be with Nebraska this fall weren’t included?
World-Herald staff writers Sam McKewon and Evan Bland tackle top local topics and the hottest headlines from across the country in the July 19 edition of "The Pick Six Podcast."
As Nebraska football re-emerged to prominence at the start of the 1980s after a pair of national championships a decade earlier, Dave Rimington laid the foundation for an enterprise that came to be known as “The Pipeline.”
Nebraska signee and four-star cornerback Elijah Blades will not be joining the football team this fall — and likely not ever. Now the Huskers’ focus turns to the six scholarship corners it already has while continuing to pursue multiple recruits…
The four-star wide receiver will continue to weigh options into the fall season.
For at least half the season — and perhaps all of it — the Huskers will be without a key piece of their defense after Jones, their top cornerback and a legitimate All-Big Ten candidate, tore the meniscus in his…
Plano (Texas) East and 2017 signee Deiontae Watts will not be playing football at Nebraska, his mother, Sandra, told The World-Herald on Sunday night.
Perhaps the best moment for Nebraska’s athletic department in 2016-17 happened more than 1,000 miles east of campus on Penn State’s baseball field May 20. With a Big Ten regular-season crown on the line, the Huskers blasted their struggling counterparts…
Nebraska coach Mike Riley announced Saturday that top Husker cornerback Chris Jones had knee surgery to repair his left meniscus.
Brendan "Bookie" Radley-Hiles proved at The Opening Finals earlier this month why he's the Huskers' highest ranked commit. Radley-Hiles earned near-unanimous praise from analysts in attendance, and he added another honor to his list Wednesday.
Changes could be coming to college football, and Nebraska's athletic director is part of a group of NCAA representatives tasked with making sure any tweaks are the result of exhaustive and informed study.
Cornerback Chris Jones, quarterback Tanner Lee and linebacker Chris Weber will represent Nebraska at Big Ten media days later this month.
All six of Nebraska's 2018 four-star football commits found themselves in the top 250 of 247Sports' best recruits, including three in the top 100.
Bob Elliott, a veteran college football coach hired by Nebraska in February, has died. Elliott coached 38 years with stops at nine schools, including Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State and Notre Dame.
Former Husker linebacker Adam Skoda died Saturday after battling neuroendocrine cancer. He was 42.
Niles Paul, who turns 28 in August, enters his seventh NFL season with something to prove. Two injuries have sidelined him all but eight games since his breakout season of 2014. Can he stay healthy and revive his career?
While fans eagerly await the next starting quarterback — Tanner Lee — to take a snap at Nebraska, you might want to chew on this: The Huskers will likely face equally experienced — if not always equally good — signal-…
Now retired after playing eight NFL seasons, Usama Young laughs at the memory of himself as an upperclassman cornerback at Kent State in 2005 and 2006. His defensive backs coach regularly broke down game film by explaining what every participant…
The Opening Finals brought together many of the nation's top college football recruits, and Nebraska commit Brendan "Bookie" Radley-Hiles stood out with his performance and personality.
Not surprisingly, Ohio State is on top. Not surprisingly, the Big Ten East dominates the top five. But Nebraska is holding strong.
Bob Diaco, who hadn’t chatted with any reporters in more than two months, was gracious to give an hour of his time. We talked about a variety of topics, including and especially his love for food, but he doesn’t always…