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

Adrian Martinez becomes Scott Frost's first quarterback recruit; Dual-threat QB will enroll early at Nebraska

Adrian Martinez — a consensus four-star prospect who’s a top-100 recruit according to ESPN — is now a Husker, announcing his decision Wednesday to pick Nebraska over Tennessee. He’ll enroll early at NU and try to win the starting job…

Recruiting: Collin Shefke and Wyatt Liewer accept preferred walk-on spots at Husker event

Nebraska’s walk-on event Wednesday landed commitments from Lincoln Southwest’s Collin Shefke and O’Neill’s Wyatt Liewer. Liewer received a preferred walk-on offer Oct. 8. Shefke received his offer Wednesday.

Intrigue in Scott Frost, matchup helped UCF's bowl game become hot ticket for some Husker fans

Nebraska fans travel well. There was the invasion of Notre Dame in 2000. Taking over Northwestern in 2014. Tack on another badge: the constant presence at Central Florida games in 2017.

Recruiting: Husker walk-on event draws large response from in-state prospects

Nebraska sent out invitations and used the hashtag #HomeGrown to bring prospects to its walk-on event on Wednesday night.

Recruiting: Scott Frost’s staff thinking big with receivers for the 2018 recruiting class

Size. Nebraska’s new coaching staff clearly wants it from the receivers and tight ends who may join the Huskers’ 2018 recruiting class.

McKewon: Four quick takes on Adrian Martinez's commitment to Nebraska

Nebraska has landed Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West quarterback Adrian Martinez, who committed to the Huskers on Wednesday. Quick takes on Martinez’s decision and what it means for the Huskers.

Recruiting: Scott Frost, assistants doing double duty with help of red-eye flights

New Nebraska coach Scott Frost will have some story to tell after signing day. Frost has committed to lead Central Florida in its quest to finish an undefeated season and win the Peach Bowl over Auburn. That's one thing. He's…

Recruiting: Nebraska kicker commit Barret Pickering part of new coaching staff's plans

Barret Pickering has been busy. And that won't be changing anytime soon for Nebraska's reaffirmed incoming kicker.

Carriker Chronicles: John Cook on the Huskers' match against Penn State in the final four and more

All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Wednesday's episode, Carriker is joined by NU volleyball coach John Cook to preview the Huskers' match against Penn State in the NCAA tournament final four.

Long before cable TV, Husker fans stared at the side of a building and got 'live' coverage on the Grid-O-Graph – a miracle of modern technology

Imagine a time when you couldn't follow a Husker football game or know its outcome until the next day's newspaper landed on your doorstep. For diehard fans in the 21st century, that would be torture. In the first quarter of…

Pick Six Podcast: Early days of Scott Frost's Nebraska coaching tenure

World-Herald staff writers Sam McKewon and Evan Bland tackle the hottest Husker headlines in the Dec. 12 episode of the "Pick Six Podcast."

Best of TBL, Dec. 12: Sam McKewon, Adam Carriker, Gibbie Duval and Mike Alessandro

Nebraska football recruiting and strength and conditioning were topics Tuesday on "The Bottom Line," when World-Herald staff writer Sam McKewon and former Husker Adam Carriker were among the guests.

Recruiting: Nebraska needs a great pass rusher, and a California junior college may have the answer

Sometimes, football players need a year to grow into their frames after high school. That’s the story of one Nebraska official visitor this weekend, City College of San Francisco pass rusher Jordan Allen.

Carriker Chronicles: Scott Frost, Huskers quickly hitting stride on recruiting trail

All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Tuesday's episode, Carriker talks about a busy Sunday in Nebraska recruiting news and what's next on the agenda.

Recruiting: Iowa Western offensive lineman Noah Banks doesn’t make Nebraska visit as planned

Iowa Western offensive lineman Noah Banks did not visit Nebraska on Tuesday as originally planned and is making other options higher priorities as the junior-college national signing day approaches.

Scott Frost returns to UCF for Peach Bowl preparation; Husker coach grateful for one more game with team

Nebraska coach Scott Frost and his entire staff were in Orlando on Tuesday beginning preparation for No. 10 Central Florida’s Peach Bowl appearance on New Year’s Day.

Recruiting: Three quick takes on Justin McGriff committing to the Huskers

Nebraska landed Tampa (Fla.) Jefferson tight end/wide receiver Justin McGriff, who committed to the Huskers. Here are three quick takes on what the decision means.

McKewon: Scott Frost must lean on everything he’s learned away from Nebraska

Scott Frost got the job because underneath the self-confidence lies a seeker who built, over 15 years, a base of knowledge and relationships far larger than the confines of this job.

Sunday saw plenty of Husker recruiting action, but there's more to come

Shortly after Joshua Moore decommitted, Scott Frost picked up his first two Husker pledges as Nebraska's coach.

Carriker Chronicles: New coaching staff has continuity, strong roots

All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Sunday's episode, Carriker talks about the newest additions to Nebraska's coaching staff, the continuity they seem to have and what it means for the Huskers

Shatel: Huskers could take lessons — and players — from Iowa Western

Several D-I school have recruited players from Iowa Western for help, but the Huskers have not.

Former Husker teammates say new assistant Barrett Ruud always in the middle

The mild-mannered, 34-year-old Ruud will return to Nebraska after 13 years away. After an eight-year NFL career and two seasons in the quality control department with UCF under Scott Frost, Ruud will be the inside linebackers coach at Nebraska.

Recruiting: New Husker commit Justin McGriff could play tight end or receiver

Coaches laid out their vision of Justin McGriff as a wide receiver who could develop into a tight end if his body fills out. If not, his 6-5 frame and toughness as a pass-catcher will play just fine on the…

Hiring of Scott Frost brings rekindled hope to boost Husker walk-on program

If it comes down to walking on at Nebraska or taking the scholarship, do you travel to Lincoln or take the money?

Recruiting: Three quick takes on the commitment of Jaron Woodyard

Nebraska lands Arizona Western College’s Jaron Woodyard, who committed to the Huskers. Quick takes on what the decision means:

Recruiting: Florida safety C.J. Smith commits to Scott Frost, Nebraska

New Nebraska coach Scott Frost received his first commit Sunday evening when Oxbridge Academy safety C.J. Smith, fresh off his official visit to NU, announced on Twitter he was picking the Huskers.

Knowledge of game helped Scott Frost get Oregon, UNI jobs as career took off

Mike Bellotti was looking for a new receivers coach. The man who landed the open position was a young, unrecommended FCS assistant who wanted to discuss defense for the majority of the meeting.

Tom Osborne passed on many coaching lessons to QB pupils, and some now trying to do the same

Not only do former Nebraska quarterbacks now in coaching carry the knowledge and expertise gained as Huskers, but they often see things in their own coaching style that replicate their mentor.

Nebraska officially announces additions of Troy Walters, Sean Beckton, Zach Duval to coaching staff

Nebraska officially announced three additions to Scott Frost's coaching staff on Friday — offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Troy Walters, tight ends coach Sean Beckton and strength and conditioning coach Zach Duval.

Sautter: Nebraska should consider offering these in-state recruits

There are more Nebraska players the Huskers should consider targeting. Let's take a look at some that could be next in line to receive offers from Nebraska and why it wold make sense.