Game Day: Nebraska vs. Iowa

Unwavered

The Nebraska coaching job can age a man like the American presidency has aged men, and Mike Riley wears all of the three years — and then some — that he’s been at Nebraska. Riley has not won enough games. Just 19 — against 18 losses — in three seasons. His critics billed him as a “.500 coach” upon his arrival, and he’s close to being just that at Nebraska. But the job didn’t devour or derail Riley, players and assistants said. Riley didn’t change.

READ MORE »

2-Minute Drill by Sam McKewon

Nebraska rush offense vs. Iowa rush defense

Nebraska’s run game has been in a funk since a decent performance against Wisconsin, and there’s no compelling reason to think an outing against Iowa will change that. Although the Hawkeyes’ defensive line — anchored by Howells grad Nathan Bazata — has been pliable at times, Iowa’s trio of linebackers has been excellent, and the man in the middle, Josey Jewell, is one of the nation’s best. Because of Devine Ozigbo’s ankle injury, Nebraska may only have two running backs healthy for the game and the offensive line remains a shuffle job. EDGE: IOWA

Nebraska pass offense vs. Iowa pass defense

Iowa has a risk/reward pass defense. The Hawkeyes have intercepted 16 passes this season, with cornerback Joshua Jackson snagging seven of those. Iowa has also allowed six passes of 40 or more yards. If Nebraska receivers Stanley Morgan, JD Spielman and De’Mornay Pierson-El can win some one-on-one matchups, quarterback Tanner Lee should be able to deliver some strikes. Can the Huskers be aggressive, like they were in the Penn State and Purdue games, or do they get too safe? The weather — warm and sunny — should cooperate with the passing game. EDGE: NEBRASKA

Iowa rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense

The Hawkeyes have been hot and cold running the ball, plowing for 243 yards against Ohio State, but just 25 against Wisconsin and 19 against Michigan State. New offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz seems more willing to abandon the run if it isn’t there, but any team with a pulse would be wise to pound it at the Huskers, who have allowed at least 199 yards rushing in their last six games. Why would NU’s defense suddenly bow up against Iowa? Perhaps defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, a former Hawkeye, will attach special meaning to this game. EDGE: IOWA

Iowa pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense

Iowa quarterback Nathan Stanley will be a good one. He’s a sophomore in his first year as a starter, and there’s enough great stuff on tape — especially that Ohio State win — to suggest, in two years, he may be among the Big Ten’s best. He’s elite in the red zone — 63.4 percent completion rate, 14 touchdowns, zero interceptions — and his top receiving targets, including Omaha South grad and sophomore tight end Noah Fant, are dynamic players. Nebraska’s pass defense allows a lot of easy completions and rarely disrupts a receiver or makes plays on the ball. EDGE: IOWA

Special teams

Iowa’s coverage units are excellent — among the best in the Big Ten when it comes to limiting kick and punt return yards from the opponent — while Nebraska’s return units are a little better than the Hawkeyes’ counterparts. NU has the better kicker — senior Drew Brown — and the better punter in Nebraska’s Caleb Lightbourn, who has played his best in league play. EDGE: NEBRASKA

Intangibles

Iowa is playing for a warmer bowl destination and sheer dislike for Nebraska; the Hawkeyes surprisingly botched their own senior day game in a 24-15 loss to Purdue. NU’s players haven’t been living under a rock, so they’re playing for their coach, Mike Riley, who’s on a very hot seat, for the seniors, and, well, just to beat Iowa, which becomes Nebraska’s bowl game. Iowa has won three of the last four in this series, including two straight in Lincoln. Nebraska has nothing to lose. Neither does Iowa, really, aside from a game in warm weather. EDGE: NEBRASKA

Key matchup: Iowa’s run game against Nebraska’s hideous run defense

Nebraska linebacker Chris Weber said it best on Monday: Why would Iowa do anything else but run the ball, considering how the Huskers have defended it? So Iowa will pound the ball and NU will have to stop it. One difference: Stanley is not a threat as a runner. So the read option won’t be an issue. Maybe Diaco’s boys can rally.

Our take

Nebraska’s season has already ended in a cloud. Will there be a silver lining? That’s the question now, and inconsistent Iowa serves a reasonable foil. NU could send Riley out on an up note, but the Hawkeyes care about this game a lot and won’t take NU lightly. The game is still about blocking, tackling and toughness, and Iowa has the edge there. Thus, it squeezes out the win on Black Friday.

Our prediction: IOWA 23, NEBRASKA 19

Live updates

#Huskers on Instagram

Videos

Extras

Game notes

Check out a PDF of the game notes for the Nebraska-Iowa matchup provided by the Husker 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 Red Today coverage

Huskers have options at center after Michael Decker announces retirement from football

Nebraska offensive lineman Michael Decker announced Saturday he has decided to retire from playing football. He started five games at center last year before a season-ending knee injury.

Shatel: Frank Solich's Husker homecoming would be necessary part of Nebraska's unified future

The timing does, indeed, seem right. Scott Frost is leading a revival to not only honor Nebraska football past but turn toward the future in a unified front. Having Frank Solich, Tom Osborne and Frost in the same sold-out ballroom…

Linebacker Andrew Ward announces departure from Huskers

Linebacker Andrew Ward announced on Twitter Saturday evening he was leaving the Nebraska football program after one season.

Recruiting: Nebraska quickly shoots into final two for junior college nose tackle Tony Fair

Pima (Arizona) Community College defensive tackle Tony Fair is ready make a decision on his next college. Until Friday it appeared Indiana, not far from Fair’s hometown of South Bend, would cruise to landing his commitment. Then Nebraska offered a…

Chatelain: 25 years later, Cam Jurgens outthrows his future Husker coach Scott Frost

25 years ago Scott Frost won a state title in the shot put, one of the final moments of his spectacular high school career. On Friday, one of his top recruits, Cam Jurgens, bested the mark set by his future…

Carriker Chronicles: Dream nonconference showdowns for Scott Frost and the Huskers

All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Friday's episode, Carriker debates dream nonconference matchups for Nebraska and why he wants the Huskers to face off against Alabama.

Scott Frost says Unity Council return is likely, Huskers will stand by Maurice Washington

Buy-in is high. Progress is being made. But Nebraska football's journey to excellence remains a marathon, not a sprint, coach Scott Frost reiterated Thursday in a World-Herald interview.

Recruiting: Huskers making another junior college push, looking to score in Georgia

Nebraska coaches keep gushing about the city of Lincoln, so Lakia Henry, one of the nation’s top junior college recruits, is excited to see it this weekend.

Tom Osborne says now would be 'great time' for Frank Solich to return to Nebraska

It might finally be time for Frank Solich to return to Nebraska.

Video: Husker coach Scott Frost shows off his arm, throws out first pitch at Lincoln Saltdogs game

New Husker football coach Scott Frost threw for over 2,600 yards and 18 touchdowns in his NU career. On Thursday, Frost showed off his signature arm strength once again in Lincoln.

Former Husker Mo Seisay signs with Winnipeg Blue Bombers of Canadian Football League

Mo Seisay will make his return to football in Canada. The former Husker cornerback signed a contract Wednesday with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League. Seisay hasn't played in a professional football game since 2014.

After yearlong suspension, ex-Husker Randy Gregory will reportedly file for NFL reinstatement

Former Husker Randy Gregory, who was given a one-year suspension in January 2017 for repeated substance abuse violations, will file for reinstatement to the NFL on Thursday, according to the NFL Network.

Carriker Chronicles: Faux Pelini on sharing a cat with Bo Pelini, Twitter tales and more

All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Wednesday's episode, Carriker talks to Faux Pelini about sharing a cat with Bo Pelini, the spring game moment, Carl Pelini, adventures of…

Tom Osborne says 1982, 1993 Huskers were best Nebraska teams to not win national title

Which was the best Nebraska football team to not win a national championship? World-Herald staff writer Sam McKewon first posed the question on Twitter with four options — 1982, 1983, 1993 or 1999. Then Tuesday afternoon Tom Osborne was asked…

Huskers look for leader at quarterback; Scott Frost expects no problems meeting scholarship limit

Nebraska coach Scott Frost said Wednesday it’d be “foolish to anticipate” which player he’ll pick as starting quarterback next fall. The four signal-callers left on campus — sophomores Andrew Bunch and Noah Vedral and freshmen Tristan Gebbia and Adrian Martinez…

Recruiting: Four-star QB Michael Johnson has family connections with Huskers, will visit soon

Michael Johnson is getting close to wrapping up his recruitment. The four-star quarterback from Eugene, Oregon, told The World-Herald that he plans on visiting a handful of schools over the next few weeks and committing after that.

Husker signee Maurice Washington's academic status in question; NU has requested NCAA waiver

High-profile Nebraska signee Maurice Washington is set to graduate from a California high school soon, but his academic status as a Husker football player could be up in the air after that.

Husker wide receiver Keyan Williams will transfer from Nebraska

Keyan Williams, a senior wide receiver and son of former Nebraska wide receivers coach Keith Williams, is leaving the Husker football program.

Carriker Chronicles: Will Scott Frost or Jim Harbaugh reach the Big Ten title game first?

All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Monday's episode, Carriker breaks down the differences between Nebraska and Michigan and gives his take on who will lead their team to…

Sam's Extra Points: Sitting down with two top Husker targets, Nebraska baseball struggles, and sports gambling

The World-Herald spent some time with Chris Hickman and Nick Henrich on Friday — more to come on both down the road — but the general gist is this: They've been known college prospects long enough they’re sincerely weighing their…

Shatel: Sports betting coming to a state near you, for better or worse, over or under

Will I partake in a legal sports bet? Hold on. Let me ask my wife for some money.

The Hawkeyes were in Tate Wildeman's blood, but the Huskers are his future

Tate Wildeman shares a lot of similarities to his dad, who played for the Hawkeyes in the 1990s. But the defensive end recruit won't be following his dad's path to Iowa. He's forging his own with Nebraska.

McKewon: Winning formula for Huskers — big-city speed, Midlands beef

The edges of the Huskers’ offense and defense will be built in Florida, Texas and California. The trenches have been built, at least for now, in the heartland.

Barfknecht: Michigan's Jim Harbaugh — "King Khaki Pants" — needs to fix offense to turn corner

Jim Harbaugh — touted by most fans, some media and himself as the ideal candidate to make Michigan football relevant again — has produced seasons of 10-3, 10-3 and 8-5 while going 0-3 against rival Ohio State and 1-2 in…

Former Husker Maliek Collins suffers another foot injury with Dallas Cowboys

Maliek Collins broke the fifth metatarsal in his left foot Thursday during Dallas Cowboys offseason strength and conditioning workouts. He will undergo surgery, and Cowboys coach Jason Garrett told reporters Collins is expected to miss three months.

Carriker Chronicles: No more fullbacks at Nebraska? Thoughts on the Huskers eliminating the position

All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Friday's episode, Carriker gives his quick takeaways on the Huskers likely eliminating the fullback position and the effect it could have on…

McKewon: Three takes on transfer Breon Dixon earning immediate eligibility for Huskers

Nebraska received good news Thursday that Breon Dixon, a transfer from Ole Miss, was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA.

Former Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee signs with Jacksonville Jaguars

Former Nebraska quarterback officially signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday. The sixth-round draft pick signed after arriving in Jacksonville for rookie minicamp, which will be held through this weekend.

Recruiting: Top junior college pass-rusher Jermaine Johnson visiting Nebraska

Nebraska's repeated struggles to generate a pass rush in recent years have led them to a top junior college pass-rushing prospect who was once the high school teammate of Husker receiver JD Spielman.

Recruiting: Top-100 wide receiver Mycah Pittman has Huskers in top five, plans to visit soon

Mycah Pittman — 6-foot, 195 pounds — holds 31 scholarship offers. He recently named his final five schools: Alabama, Ohio State, Florida, Oregon and Nebraska. Pittman is the No. 64 overall prospect in the 2019 class and No. 11 wide…