Game Day: Nebraska vs. Iowa

Lost in the maze

At Iowa and at Nebraska, players and coaches began the year with their eyes on a championship, outwardly expressing their objective and internally building a belief that they were set to break through. But that dream is gone, and the Huskers and Hawkeyes are right back where they were last year, struggling to find a way out of a maze of mediocrity. Both programs know where they want to be. They just haven’t found recently a way to get there.

READ MORE »

2-Minute Drill by Rich Kaipust

Nebraska rush offense vs. Iowa rush defense

The Huskers have gone three straight games without a 200-yard team effort, dropping to No. 14 nationally in rushing offense (256.2 yards). That has coincided with the injury to I-back Ameer Abdullah, but includes running into stout running defenses with Wisconsin and Minnesota. Iowa is closer to the Gophers than the Badgers, allowing 158.5 yards per game and 4.2 per carry. Abdullah said he is getting healthier each week, so maybe that can make a difference here.

Nebraska pass offense vs. Iowa pass defense

Tommy Armstrong regained his touch against Minnesota after completing a combined 14 of 39 passes in the prior two games. Still, his season completion percentage is at 52.4, the running game isn’t adding the diversion it was before, and Nebraska finished its last game without all-time leading receiver Kenny Bell. The Hawkeyes haven’t allowed an opponent to hit 150 passing yards since Maryland reached 206 on Oct. 18.

Iowa rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense

Iowa has to be licking its chops after watching Wisconsin and Minnesota absolutely shred NU the last two weeks, but it also has its own issues. Since midseason the Hawkeyes have had games where they managed just 116 rushing yards against Maryland, 84 against Minnesota and 101 against Wisconsin — and they rarely break the big ones. Somebody needs to win here, and maybe the Huskers regain some of the success they had earlier in the season.

Iowa pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense

The Hawkeye air attack is probably more efficient than pretty, but that might be all it takes Friday if they can avoid mistakes. Jake Rudock is completing 64.2 percent of his throws, with 14 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Nebraska is holding opponents to the lowest completion rate in the Big Ten (47.3 percent) and has more interceptions (11) than passing TDs allowed (10). But the Huskers have been falling victim to some timely throws.

Special teams

NU ranks ahead of Iowa in net punting, kickoff coverage and punt returns. The Huskers also swung the Minnesota game last week with a blocked field goal that they returned for a touchdown. Both teams have missed five field goals. The difference might be Nebraska having De’Mornay Pierson-El on punt returns and Sam Foltz punting.

Intangibles

The visiting team has won the last two years, but the Huskers aren’t exactly arriving in Iowa City with momentum or self-confidence. The two have gone a combined 0-4 against Wisconsin and Minnesota (each with an embarrassing blowout) so it comes down to pride and bowl placement. Both have negative turnover margins, but Iowa is one of the least penalized teams in the nation, has fewer injury questions and is bidding farewell to its seniors.

Key matchup: Iowa's Brandon Scherff vs. Nebraska's Randy Gregory

Two of the Big Ten’s best will cross paths from time to time Friday when Iowa left tackle Brandon Scherff gets matched up with Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory. Scherff, a senior from Denison, Iowa, has battled a knee injury but started the season with All-America and Outland Trophy attention. Gregory, a junior from Fishers, Indiana, also had September knee trouble but has rebounded with seven sacks, 10 tackles for losses and 16 quarterback hurries.

Our take

The Hawkeyes’ defense has held Nebraska to 288 and 263 total yards in the previous two meetings and forced five turnovers, although the 2012 game at Kinnick Stadium was played in some severe wind and cold. But if Nebraska doesn’t have Bell to stretch the field and Abdullah at his most dangerous level, it will put an awful lot on the shoulders of Armstrong. Iowa is coming off a spirited effort against Wisconsin, and if it can maintain the better focus and wear out the Huskers that could result in the difference.

Our prediction: IOWA 21, NEBRASKA 20

Live updates

Live Blog Husker Talk Live: Game Day

Videos

Extras

Live: TBL pregame, postgame

"The Bottom Line" pregame show with Mike’l Severe will broadcast live Friday at 9:30 a.m., then tune in after the game for a complete breakdown and call-in show. Click here »

Game notes

Check out a PDF of the game notes for the Nebraska-Iowa game provided by the Huskers 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 page is your new home for taking a look back into the history of 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.

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

All of Nebraska's history vs. Purdue football is recent. Except one 1958 game

Nebraska and Purdue faced off as conference opponents for the first time in 2013, which ignited what will be at least 13 consecutive seasons with one another on the schedule. But 2013 wasn't the first overall matchup. Nope, that came…

Monday rewind: Nebraska football needs a spark — and maybe a little time 'away from each other'

We wrote this story out of Minnesota in 2013 and 2017, too. The names change. The clichés, too, a little bit. And even if it’s supposed to be different under Scott Frost — even if, one day, it is —…

Stopping the run is crucial in the Big Ten West, and Husker football ranks as the worst

Time and again, opposing coaches see Nebraska step off the bus and wonder if they can run the ball on them. And then they do.

'Keep it going or pack it up': Scott Frost delivers frank message to Huskers after Minnesota loss

Scott Frost had one hand in his pocket, and the other one was carrying a playsheet. And nothing was fine for the Nebraska football coach.

Shatel: Mugging in Minnesota shows Scott Frost's Huskers still lacking muscle, mindset

P.J. Fleck just shoved his oar right down Nebraska’s throat. People like to laugh at Fleck, the Minnesota football coach, saying he’s a huckster and a fake. Well, there was nothing fake about what Fleck’s Gophers did to Nebraska on…

Huskers 'knocked out of position' as physical Gophers pound Nebraska with ground game

The blank faces said it all. By the time Nebraska defenders trudged off the cold and misty field at TCF Bank Stadium, they had already processed much of the carnage. A 20-point third quarter that blew the doors off a…

Losing numbers: The stats and figures that defined Nebraska's loss to Minnesota

A closer look at the defining stats and figures from the Huskers' loss to Minnesota on Saturday.

Even with soft spots disguised as strengths, Minnesota finds room in Husker football's front seven

Minnesota carved up Nebraska’s defense with its run game Saturday night because it spotted soft spots disguised as strengths.

Nebraska-Minnesota: Breaking down the Huskers' performance on offense and defense

World-Herald staff writer Chris Heady takes a look at Nebraska's effort on both sides of the ball during the Huskers' loss to Minnesota.

Nebraska-Minnesota: Three things we learned, three things we still don't know

Three things we learned and three things we still don’t know about the Huskers coming out of Saturday's loss to Minnesota.

Husker pregame: Adrian Martinez not dressed for warmups; Noah Vedral poised for first start

Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez is not suited up for the game an hour ahead of kickoff and will not play against Minnesota.

$250,000-a-year consulting deal for former NU President Hank Bounds draws both concerns, praise

Some regents say it’s a win for Nebraska to bring Hank Bounds back because he is a good fundraiser who knows and cares about the projects involved. Some observers say they are perplexed by the amount he will receive, and…

They both have young offenses, but Minnesota can show Nebraska how fast they grow up

The Huskers think a strong second half is coming. Their counterparts in Minneapolis have already experienced it.

Shatel: What's up with Adrian Martinez? Is Noah Vedral ready? Let's ask Mario Verduzco

Noah Vedral knows the offense back and forward. We haven’t seen a lot of his game. He got in one game last year. And then last week. That’s the beauty of it, too. There isn’t a lot of film of…

Fremont senior offensive lineman Keegan Menning will walk on at Nebraska

Fremont senior Keegan Menning added his name to the list of walk-ons in Nebraska’s 2020 class on Thursday night.

Huskers discuss redshirt rule weekly, 'but things change.' Luke McCaffrey is the latest example

“It’s an awesome rule,” said Luke McCaffrey, who’s drawn raves from coaches and teammates while he redshirts and works to push Adrian Martinez for the starting role next season. “I think it’s fantastic.”

Mohamed Barry, Damian Jackson contenders for national awards

Mohamed Barry was named a quarterfinalist for the 2019 Lott Trophy, which recognizes a player who made the biggest impact on his team both on and off the field.

Huskers to practice outside Friday in preparation for 'football weather' in Minnesota

If it’s Christmas weather — 32 degrees — for Nebraska’s Saturday night game at Minnesota, well, Scott Frost can’t think anything much better.

Husker practice report, Oct. 10: Scott Frost not revealing playing status of injured players

While Nebraska's travel roster is rounding into form, the status of players at multiple key positions remains unclear.

106-year-old fan attends her first Husker game, meets Nebraska coach Scott Frost

"I just thought that I was on a different planet almost," she told The World-Herald. "It was a special place to be."

Husker opponent preview: Everything you need to know about the Minnesota Gophers

“Defensively, they’re a lot more sound than what we saw last year and more athletic," Scott Frost said. "They’ve definitely improved. You can tell it’s year three of his tenure up there. They’re starting to look like the team he…

Cold weather not changing Huskers' plan. Minnesota is pouring ice water on players

Weather, smeather. That was more or less the reaction from Nebraska offensive coaches Tuesday when probed about how they might adjust preparations for Saturday night's game at Minnesota that calls for temperatures in the mid-30s and a good chance of…

27 times Husker games were decided by a last-minute score since 2000

They've given you lifelong memories, permanent heartache, everlasting glee and eternal suffering.

Husker practice report, Oct. 9: Adrian Martinez, JD Spielman both in pads

Encouraging news this morning from Husker football practice. Adrian Martinez (knee) and JD Spielman (undisclosed) were both in pads for practice Wednesday.

Shatel: Noah Vedral's star-crossed turn involves Matt Turman's sister, Kansas State ... and fate

Earlier this week, I called Matt Turman to talk about his nephew, Noah Vedral, waiting and getting that big moment. But as we talked, it hit me that there's a bigger story. The story about the small, small world of…

Minnesota once told the Huskers they were 'no good.' Nebraska responded with 84 points

Nebraska has dominated Minnesota since 1963, claiming 19 of 22 games. But the Gophers have the all-time edge.

Bill Moos preaches patience, need for four-year development as Husker football makes 'evolution'

For Nebraska’s program to be full blast again, the A.D. says it will take two more recruiting classes and two more years of developing a walk-on program.

McKewon: Ronald Delancy brings more flavor from Miami, where they play defense with an edge

Nebraska received a commitment Tuesday from Miami Northwestern defensive back Ronald Delancy. Three takes on the decision of the 6-foot, 165-pounder.

'Just gotta stay locked in': Husker defensive backs will be tested by trio of Minnesota receivers

Inside linebacker Mohamed Barry doesn’t usually concern himself much with wide receivers. This week, he’s at full attention.

Monday rewind: The Huskers' offense was better than the final score against Northwestern showed

Credit Scott Frost and his staff for squeezing just enough of true freshman Wan’Dale Robinson, Martinez and backup quarterback Noah Vedral to win against a defense that had given up three plays of 30 yards or more heading into the…