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

Shatel: Winding road with many connections led Mike Riley's confidant Dan Van De Riet to Nebraska

One of the most powerful men in the Nebraska football program never played football at all — well, one year he did suit up — and somehow, he found his way to Lincoln, Nebraska, where he goes to work every…

Kade Warner, son of former NFL QB Kurt Warner, will join Huskers as preferred walk-on

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound son of NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner announced his decision to sign with the Huskers late Thursday night on Twitter. He will join NU as a preferred walk-on over identical offers from ASU, UCLA, Iowa,…

Recruiting: Nebraska sets dates for Friday Night Lights camps

The Friday Night Lights events drew top national prospects — and were open to the public — last summer, becoming a hit with recruits and Husker fans alike.

Trent Bray stays put and gets raise, pushing Nebraska assistant salaries near $4 million

Nebraska’s assistant football coaches are set to collectively earn nearly $4 million next season, according to recent updates to their contracts, and every assistant will eventually have a deal that runs through the 2018 season.

Cethan Carter, Nate Gerry will represent Nebraska at NFL combine

Cethan Carter and Nate Gerry were teammates, roommates and good friends through their Nebraska football careers — and now both will head next to the NFL combine.

Recruiting: Nebraska ups pursuit of big-bodied wide receivers with recent offers

Keith Williams has upped his pursuit of a big-bodied receiver in the early days of the 2018 recruiting cycle. He extended three offers this week to receivers that measure 6-3 or taller, and the majority of the 17 wide receivers…

Examining new Husker assistant Bob Elliott's recruiting results over last decade

New Nebraska safeties coach Bob Elliott has recruited a variety of positions in the last decade. Some of those signees have gone on to be key contributors, while others struggled to ever find the field.

New Husker safeties coach Bob Elliott is respected technician who has worked in the territory

Bob Elliott has officially been named Nebraska's new safeties coach. The World-Herald reported last week that the longtime assistant was expected to join the Huskers' staff as Brian Stewart's replacement. Nebraska made the news official Monday when it announced Elliott's…

Shatel: Husker hire Bob Elliott has veteran coaching chops, Midwest football know-how

Elliott has a college coaching career that spans four decades. He’s the caliber of a coach along the lines of Milt Tenopir, Charlie McBride, George Darlington and Ron Brown. In short, he could have coached for Tom Osborne.

From Bob Diaco's influence to emphasis on 500-mile radius, 10 storylines for Nebraska's 2018 recruiting class

Bob Diaco has a vision for the personnel he wants in his 3-4 scheme. That's one of the major storylines for Nebraska as it starts to put together its 2018 recruiting class.

Nebraska hopes to go 2 for 2 with quarterback targets Tanner McKee, Colson Yankoff

Should Nebraska’s dream scenario play out, it would sign Colson Yankoff and Tanner McKee as scholarship quarterbacks in February 2018.

McKewon: 25 recruits to watch for Huskers' 2018 recruiting class

Nebraska’s march toward the 2018 recruiting class has already resulted in three commitments — Cameron Jurgens of Beatrice, Masry Mapieu of York and Eric Fuller of Los Angeles. Who might join them? Here are 25 names to watch.

Former Husker defensive coordinator John Papuchis named North Carolina DC after Gene Chizik steps down

Linebacker coach John Papuchis is being promoted to defensive coordinator. Before joining North Carolina in 2015, Papuchis spent seven seasons as an assistant with Nebraska, including three seasons as defensive coordinator.

Huskers are expected to hire veteran coach Bob Elliott to coach safeties

Nebraska is prepared to bring a veteran hand to a young defensive staff with the addition of Bob Elliott.

Huskers looking to neighboring Missouri to stock next recruiting class

In his signing day press conference, coach Mike Riley made a point of mentioning NU’s need to win more recruiting battles in the 500-mile radius. He then zeroed in on Missouri.

Recruiting: Early scholarship offers can benefit Nebraska's 2018 class like they did in 2017

Nebraska just wrapped up the 2017 recruiting class, but the Huskers are already about to enter an important stretch for the next one.

Soaring Rocket: Freshman McKenna Minter, daughter of former Husker Mike Minter, already among state’s best players

As the daughter of a former Nebraska football star, Lincoln Northeast freshman McKenna Minter already faced high expectations. The 5-foot-8 guard has delivered.

Pick Six Podcast: NU's 3-4 defense, 2017 recruits, Bluejay basketball, Super Bowl 51 and more

World-Herald staff writers Sam McKewon and Jon Nyatawa tackle top local topics and the hottest headlines from across the country in the latest edition of "The Pick Six Podcast."

Recruiting: WR Kade Warner, son of new hall of famer Kurt Warner, went under radar but will visit Nebraska

Kade Warner, who set the Arizona state record for career receptions with 241, will take a visit to Nebraska this weekend. Kade's dad is Kurt Warner, who found out Saturday he was headed to the NFL Hall of Fame.

Crete native Lyle Sittler helped coach Bob Devaney turn Nebraska into a winner

Bob Devaney started the Nebraska football turnaround in 1962, and Lyle Sittler was right there as the Huskers went 28-5 and played in the Gotham, Orange and Cotton bowls during Devaney’s first three seasons.

Notre Dame assistant Bob Elliott to meet with coach Mike Riley about NU's open assistant position

Bob Elliott last month lauded the Nebraska hire of Bob Diaco as defensive coordinator. Elliott now might be among the candidates to join him on the Husker staff.

Paying with 
a chance to play: Defensive line coach John Parrella sees ‘serious potential’ in Central City's Jordan Paup

Jordan Paup once hurdled an offensive lineman to break up an extra-point try. He outruns most high school receivers and can squat upwards of 465 pounds.

In survey, Huskers' 2017 class gets positive marks; Fans expect Tyjon Lindsey, Jaylin Bradley to have impact

A poll of World-Herald readers gave Husker coaches overwhelmingly positive reviews for their work putting together the 2017 recruiting class.

Husker recruiting roundtable: Experts analyze Nebraska's 2017 class

This year’s signing day is over. Let the analysis begin. Here’s a look at how three recruiting experts break down Nebraska’s recruiting class of 2017.

Opportunity knocks for incoming Husker defensive linemen

A year ago, Mike Riley had a mess on his hands. At what might be the most important group on a football team — the defensive line — NU was starting over.

Mike Riley still supports earlier official visits after coaches 'chickened out' on summer signing period

College football coaches have voiced unanimous support for an early signing period in December, but Mike Riley said on signing day that “we chickened out” when it came to implementing one for the summer.

From the archives: Tommie Frazier's surprise signing provided a Big Red boost — and shocked his own mother

On Feb. 4, 1992, a young quarterback from Bradenton, Florida, shocked the nation — and his own mother — when he chose to become a Husker.

Walk-on Ben Lingenfelter has rich family history with Huskers

Ben Lingenfelter from Cherokee, Iowa, will be on the football team next season at Nebraska. If there is something about the previous sentence that might not seem accurate to longtime Husker fans, it would be the part about being from…

Nebraska's football recruiting expenses top $1 million for second straight year

Nebraska snagged 70 percent of its 2017 football signing class from outside the much-discussed 500-mile radius, which comes with an obvious cost. That was among the biggest factors in the Huskers budgeting and spending more than $1 million during a…

Getting to know Nebraska's 2017 recruiting class: Andrew Bunch

We surveyed players in Nebraska's 2017 recruiting class to see what makes them tick on and off the field.