Game Day: Nebraska vs. Iowa

Finishing touches

The adjectives tumbled out of the mouths of Nebraska coaches and players this week, the kind of words you’d like to hear about your own football team. Solid. Consistent. Efficient. Smart. Tough. “Close to perfect,” said the Huskers’ best player, defensive tackle Maliek Collins. They were talking about 11-0 Iowa.

READ MORE »

2-Minute Drill by Jon Nyatawa

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.

Special teams

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).

Intangibles

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.

Our take

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

Live updates

Photos

World-Herald fan photos »

#Huskers on Instagram

Videos

Extras

Live: TBL pregame, postgame

"The Bottom Line" pregame show with Mike’l Severe will start broadcasting live at 12:30 p.m. Friday, then tune in after the game for a complete breakdown and call-in show with Mike'l and Joe Ganz. Click here »

Game notes

Check out a PDF of the game notes for the Nebraska-Iowa matchup provided by the NU Athletic Department. Click here »

Husker History

Find information on every win, loss and tie in Husker history. With historical World-Herald front pages, photos, stories, key stats and more, our ever-growing Husker History Database is your new home for archiving one of the nation's most tradition-rich programs.Click here »

On social media

Check out the Big Red Today page on Facebook to discuss the latest news with the top Husker fans, and follow us on Twitter to get instant updates and analysis whenever news breaks. Plus, look back at historical moments in Nebraska football by following @HuskerHistory on Twitter.

BRT app

IPhone and Android users, get your Husker updates on the go by downloading our free Big Red Today app from the App Store and the Google Play store. Omaha.com/BRTapp and Omaha.com/android

Recruiting updates

Visit the Big Red Today recruiting page to find the latest updates on potential future Huskers, including player cards for those athletes already committed. Click here »

Email alerts

Sign up for the Big Red Today email newsletter to get the Husker news, analysis, daily headlines and more delivered to your inbox. Click here »

Big Ten coverage

Look for additional updates on our Big Ten page to get the best coverage of the conference from both The World-Herald and some of the best writers from across the country. Click here »

Big Red Today coverage

Recruiting: 'Impressive' visit with Scott Frost, NU helps Casey Rogers commit to Huskers

Casey Rogers thought Nebraska was the school for him when his official visit ended Sunday. Less than 24 hours later, with three Cornhusker coaches standing in his prep school in Avon, Connecticut, he knew it.

Three quick takes on the commitment of defensive end Casey Rogers to Nebraska

Avon (Connecticut) Old Farms defensive end Casey Rogers committed to Nebraska.

Pick Six Podcast: Changing Nebraska football's culture, Husker hoops and more

World-Herald staff writers Sam McKewon and Evan Bland tackle the hottest Husker Headlines in the Jan. 16 episode of the "Pick Six Podcast."

Anthony Banderas keeps Huskers in the family, commits to Nebraska's walk-on class

Lincoln Southwest senior Anthony Banderas wants to follow in his family's footsteps. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound linebacker has heard from his father and brother what it's like to suit up for the Huskers. Now, after committing to NU as a preferred…

Scott Shanle says Husker linebackers to get education in football under Barrett Ruud

Barrett Ruud gets a seal of approval from Scott Shanle as Ruud returns to the Nebraska football program as an assistant on Scott Frost's coaching staff.

Best of TBL, Jan. 16: Lee Barfknecht, Mike Gabinet, Sam McKewon, Scott Shanle and more

Nebraska got a basketball win that it needed Monday night and also announced that Jordy Tshimanga would be returning to practice, and World-Herald beat writer Lee Barfknecht was on "The Bottom Line" on Tuesday to discuss both Husker matters.

Recruiting: Doug Johnson, a 340-pound O-lineman, ready for long-awaited visit to Nebraska

There has always been a short list of college teams that comes to mind for Doug Johnson when it comes to a history of producing quality offensive linemen.

Recruiting: Husker football coaches busy making in-home visits across the country

Nebraska’s football coaches hit the recruiting trail Monday to lock in official visits for the next three weeks and immediately follow up with a prospect who just saw NU with his family.

Syracuse makes hiring of former Nebraska assistant coach Mike Cavanaugh official

Syracuse on Tuesday officially announced the addition of former Nebraska assistant Mike Cavanaugh to its football coaching staff.

Drew Brown wearing Sam Foltz's old number for East-West Shrine Game

Former Nebraska kicker Drew Brown will be wearing No. 27 during the East-West Shrine Game in a tribute to former teammate Sam Foltz.

Carriker Chronicles: What former Husker Barrett Ruud can bring to the Blackshirts as a coach

All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Monday's episode, Carriker gives his take on former Blackshirt Barrett Ruud being named to Scott Frost's coaching staff.

Newly committed Breon Dixon could play a variety of defensive positions for Huskers

Nebraska football’s immediate roster makeover continued Sunday when the Huskers accepted their second transfer player in a week.

Three quick takes on the commitment of Ole Miss transfer Breon Dixon to Nebraska football

Nebraska received a commitment from Ole Miss transfer Breon Dixon, who will join the Huskers’ program.

Legendary announcer Keith Jackson held Nebraska football fans in high regard

Keith Jackson, whose signature phrases like “Whoa, Nelly!” made him the down-home voice of college football during more than five decades as a sportscaster, died Friday. He was 89.

Recruiting: New Husker coaching staff makes rounds to check out local talent

Nebraska's football staff made several stops on Friday, including Omaha North, Burke, Creighton Prep, Bellevue West and Lincoln High.

Husker Hall of Famer Dave Rimington sees award growing in importance

When friends convinced Husker legend Dave Rimington to put his name on a trophy that honors the nation’s best collegiate center, he wanted to make sure it reflected the duties and importance of the position.

Recruiting: Late changes to Nebraska's official visit weekend

Nebraska experienced several changes to its official visitor recruiting list this weekend.

Nebraska signee, juco wideout Jaron Woodyard not yet enrolled on campus

Jaron Woodyard’s immediate future with Nebraska appears uncertain as the early junior college signee has yet to enroll in classes and is not on campus.

Carriker Chronicles: Wahoo Neumann grad Noah Vedral reunites with Husker coach Scott Frost

All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Friday's episode, Carriker gives his take on Wahoo Neumann grad Noah Vedral transferring to Nebraska and reuniting with Scott Frost.

Carriker Chronicles: Tom Osborne vs. Nick Saban — who is the best coach of all time?

All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Thursday's episode, Carriker presents the facts and debates the greatest coach of all-time, Nebraska's Tom Osborne or Alabama's Nick Saban.

McKewon: Big recruiting weekend an opportunity to begin Blackshirts rebuild

Nebraska's first big recruiting weekend of January feels in part like an attempt to address some of the defense's deficiencies from last season. Among the visitorsare two pass rushers with national recruiting profiles, their top remaining target at defensive end,…

Outland Trophy notes: Bobby Bowden’s advice buried Tom Osborne in bad bowl stretch

Tom Osborne said when he noticed how well Bobby Bowden was doing down at Florida State, he took a trip down to Tallahassee.

Recruiting: Three takes on Mike Williams' commitment to Nebraska

East Mississippi Community College wideout Mike Williams committed to Nebraska Wednesday night. Three takes on the decision.

Carriker Chronicles: SEC scheduling, an eight-team playoff and UCF's final ranking

All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Tuesday's episode, Carriker offers his take on Scott Frost's comments on ESPN about the SEC's easier scheduling, a potential 8-team playoff and…

Legends on hand for Outland Trophy banquet, but former FSU coach Bobby Bowden focused on Scott Frost

In a small side room at the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Omaha, Bellevue West senior AJ Forbes shook the hand of Florida State legend Bobby Bowden.

Risk pays off for junior college wide receiver Mike Williams as he commits to Huskers

Junior college wide receiver Mike Williams announced Wednesday that he was committing to Nebraska.

Husker coach Scott Frost awarded again; Iowa State's Matt Campbell, Iowa Western's Scott Strohmeier honored by AFCA

Nebraska coach Scott Frost was named AFCA FBS Coach of the Year at the American Football Coaches Awards presentation Tuesday.

Former Husker QB Zac Taylor promoted to L.A. Rams quarterbacks coach

Former Nebraska QB Zac Taylor was promoted to quarterbacks coach by the Los Angeles Rams, the team announced on Tuesday.

Outland Trophy winner Ed Oliver fought through storm, injuries to have standout season for Houston

There was a horse named Oreo who Ed Oliver is convinced tried to kill him. “Swear to God,” the 2017 Outland Trophy Winner said on Tuesday. “Ask my dad.”

Cowboys DT Maliek Collins has surgery to address a nagging foot problem from 2017

Dallas defensive tackle and former Nebraska star Maliek Collins had recent surgery to address a stress reaction in his left foot, the Cowboys announced Tuesday on their website.