Nebraska rush offense vs. Iowa rush defense
Senior Imani Cross piled up 188 rushing yards in his past two games. He had just 146 in the first nine contests. But it remains unclear how exactly he'll be used now that the speedy and shifty Terrell Newby is back healthy. NU seems to have found some rhythm in its ground game of late, but Iowa enters Friday allowing just 3.37 yards per carry (15th nationally). Opponents have produced just seven runs of 20-plus yards against the Hawkeyes this year.
Nebraska pass offense vs. Iowa pass defense
The Hawkeyes have been efficient against the pass, holding teams to 6.0 yards per attempt (17th nationally). They've recorded 13 interceptions, which is tops in the Big Ten. But most of their opponents have struggled through the air. Tommy Armstrong threw four touchdown passes against Iowa last year, averaging 16.8 yards per completion in that overtime win. Jordan Westerkamp should find several openings against that zone scheme.
Iowa rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense
Stopping the run has been the strength of Nebraska's defense. Occasionally a few ball carriers break into open space, particularly quarterbacks — but still, the Huskers have surrendered just 32 rushes of 10 or more yards (only three teams have allowed fewer). Quarterback C.J. Beathard will likely make a few plays with his legs. The Hawkeyes do have 33 rushing touchdowns (fifth nationally). But can they rely on the run?
Iowa pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense
The Huskers' secondary has been steadily improving, gaining a significant amount of confidence along the way. Nebraska's opponents are now averaging 7.5 yards per pass attempt (88th nationally). The key, though, will be a controlled and effective pass rush against Beathard. If not, he has options. Matt Vandeberg is Iowa's go-to guy. Tevaun Smith is averaging 18 yards per catch. Five of tight end George Kittle's 16 receptions have resulted in touchdowns.
Nebraska's coming off its most complete performance in the kicking game, which contributed to the ease of a 31-14 win over Rutgers. The Huskers haven't been consistent enough, though. In league play, NU's net punt average is 39.2, second in the Big Ten and one spot better than Iowa (38.2). The Hawkeyes, with the ball in King's hands, can be dangerous in the return game — they rank 23rd nationally on punts (12.7) and 20th on kickoffs (24.4).
The pressure is mounting on the Hawkeyes. And it's hard to predict how they'll react. They keep winning, and others keep losing. The chance at earning a spot in the College Football Playoff is becoming more real — as is the threat of devastation and disappointment. That wears on you. Nebraska, meanwhile, is overflowing with confidence. The Huskers also had the benefit of a week off to recharge and refuel.
Key matchup: Nebraska's outside receivers vs Iowa's Desmond King
Brandon Reilly and Alonzo Moore have made plenty of plays downfield this year — oftentimes just by winning one-on-one battles and taking the football away from well-placed defenders. They'll be called on again Friday. NU will need a few big gainers. But can Reilly and Moore consistently beat King? The talented junior cornerback has eight interceptions this year. He certainly won't make it easy.
This is exactly what the Nebraska-Iowa series needed. The historical powerhouse crawling its way back to relevance as its under-appreciated neighbor enjoys a surprisingly perfect campaign. The Hawkeyes want to reaffirm their legitimacy. The Huskers want to prove they're still capable of being the dominant force in this region. The atmosphere will be wild. The weather will be miserable. The game should be fascinating.
Our prediction: Iowa 27, Nebraska 24
Big Red Today coverage
247Sports, Rivals and Scout have all released their final batch of rankings of the nation’s top college football prospects, and Tyjon Lindsey leads the way among Husker commits according to all four services.
As Nebraska football finishes its 2017 recruiting class and gears up to start the 2018 cycle, Ryan Gunderson’s departure from the player personnel department should not go unnoticed.
Nebraska and Iowa — and possibly a SEC school — will square off for a tall, sure-handed tight end in the final weeks before signing day.
Nebraska gave scholarships to at least three Husker in-state walk-ons Wednesday: Fullback Luke McNitt, I-back Austin Rose and wideout Bryan Reimers.
Nebraska received on Wednesday a coveted commit from one of Los Angeles’ top talent hubs – for next year’s recruiting class. NU wouldn’t mind getting a few commits for the 2017 recruiting cycle from Los Angeles Hawkins High School. For…
Bob Diaco's first public comments as Nebraska's defensive coordinator underlined his passion for the new job, his new boss and returning to the Big Ten.
Nebraska got the biggest commit of the 2017 recruiting cycle on Saturday, when top 100 prospect Tyjon Lindsey flipped from Ohio State to the Huskers. But NU wideouts coach Keith Williams isn't done on the trail.
Nebraska doesn’t have a defensive back committed to its 2017 recruiting class with two weeks left until national signing day, but the Huskers are about to host two of their top targets, and another is set to announce his commitment…
Take a closer look at the game and you see that staff turnover is commonplace in big-time college football. Some head coaches replace an assistant every season. That wasn’t the Nebraska way, not the old Nebraska way. But then, that…
For a second straight recruiting cycle, Nebraska snagged an in-state commitment just before signing day — flipping a prospect from Wyoming.
Nebraska has been trying to get back to the Big Ten championship game since 2012. Bob Elliott thinks Bob Diaco can help it get there as the new defensive coordinator.
As he built one of the best defenses in the nation, Bob Diaco would arrive before dawn at Notre Dame’s football offices and usually be one of the last to leave. He loved the film room, and wanted his players…
Should the Mike Riley era at Nebraska turn out to be a big winner, the last seven days might be remembered as the Riley Rally.
Saturday was a big day for Nebraska football with the Huskers landing a commitment from four-star wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey.
Four-star wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey announced on Saturday that he was committing to Nebraska, days after he dropped his commitment to Ohio State. World-Herald staff writer Sam McKewon has five quick thoughts on what landing Lindsey means for the Huskers.
Nebraska officially announced Bob Diaco as its defensive coordinator Saturday, three days after coach Mike Riley dismissed his longtime coordinator, Mark Banker. The World-Herald had reported the expected move on Friday night.
Bob Diaco went from pads on his shoulders to whistle around his neck, and somehow made the transition in the Iowa football program without changing himself.
You always remember your first time. Mine was on Oct. 2, 1966. My father and I drove down from Escondido, California, about 30 miles to Balboa Stadium, in the middle of gorgeous Balboa Park near downtown San Diego.
Former Nebraska defensive coordinator Mark Banker — a longtime friend, confidant and assistant to coach Mike Riley — learned over the phone he wouldn't be returning as a Husker coach.
Dallas Bishop Dunne defensive tackle Damion Daniels will announce his college choice on Feb. 1 — national signing day — his father, Tony Daniels, told The World-Herald Friday.
Not only did the Huskers visit with some of their top targets — players they want to add before national signing day — but they also checked on recruits they’ve had committed for months.
Nebraska football will name former Notre Dame defensive coordinator and former Connecticut coach Bob Diaco as its new defensive coordinator, multiple sources confirmed to The World-Herald Friday.
The World-Herald confirmed through several sources Thursday that coach Mike Riley may be leaning toward a coach with experience with the 3-4.
When news broke Wednesday night about Nebraska defensive coordinator Mark Banker not getting his contract renewed, Guy Thomas said he quickly received a call from defensive line coach John Parrella to explain the situation.
Top receiving target Jamire Calvin shocked Husker fans and coaches Saturday when he picked Oregon State over NU at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, but Nebraska isn't out of the running for the 2017 prospect yet.
Coaches unanimously support creating an early signing period for college football in December, but the executive director of the American Football Coaches Association says none of them want a third signing day in June.
The Nebraska coaches didn’t sit on their hands after missing on Jamire Calvin during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. So even though the longtime Nebraska lean picked Oregon State, the Huskers had contingency plans in place and have moved forward…
Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson was a five-star recruit coming out of Monroe, Louisiana, and ranked as the No. 3 prospect nationally by 247Sports. But Robinson said he didn’t necessarily feel any pressure following him to Tuscaloosa.
Tyjon Lindsey, a top 100 prospect at wide receiver from Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High School, announced on Twitter early Wednesday morning that he was reopening his recruiting process just weeks before Signing Day.
Defensive coordinator Mark Banker will not have his contract renewed, Husker coach Mike Riley announced Wednesday, while defensive backs coach Brian Stewart has decided to pursue opportunities elsewhere.