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

Nebraska schedules game against FCS program Bethune-Cookman for Oct. 27

Nebraska football has scheduled a game against Bethune-Cookman for Oct. 27 to replace the Akron game that was canceled due to thunderstorms.

Voice from the Grandstand: This is Husker football, not some HGTV renovation show

The "Voice from the Grandstand" is a weekly feature with Tom Shatel that allows fans to ask questions or share their thoughts on the latest local sports news.

Accommodating Huskers' early-morning practices became a fun puzzle for the university

There is a method behind why Nebraska's football team practices early in the morning — and it took some work on the academic side to make it happen.

'Final decision' awaits on Adrian Martinez's playing status, but he's 'really close'

Nebraska coach Scott Frost said quarterback Adrian Martinez is “really close” to playing Saturday at Michigan and will make the trip to Ann Arbor with the team, but NU coaches still have a “final decision” to make on whether he…

Carriker Chronicles: Three things for Husker fans to watch against Michigan, plus Adam's prediction

On Thursday's episode, Adam Carriker breaks down Nebraska's matchup with Michigan and makes his prediction for the game.

Longtime friends and former Husker teammates come together to honor Dan Schmidt for HOF induction

The night was about Dan Schmidt. But for a few hours, five Nebraska boys were back at Memorial Stadium teaming up for something bigger than themselves.

'Run, run, run, bomb': No secret what Michigan wants to do on offense, but can the Huskers stop it?

Jim Harbaugh is sticking to his roots of a run-based West Coast offense with plenty of motions, personnel groupings and pre-snap shifts.

Shatel: Scott Frost’s legendary 1997 speech will be talking point when he returns to Ann Arbor

Writers trying to make deadlines after Nebraska’s 42-17 win over Tennessee in the Orange Bowl looked up from their keyboards to watch the TV sets in the Pro Player Stadium press box. On the screens, CBS reporter Michele Tafoya asked…

Everything Husker fans need to know about the Michigan Wolverines

An in-depth preview of the Michigan Wolverines, with a breakdown of their coach, offense, defense and more.

Lack of depth hurts Husker offensive line; More receivers need to 'step up'

Scott Frost said Monday the Nebraska offensive line wore down late against Troy. O-line coach Greg Austin wishes he could disagree.

Adrian Martinez is 'good to go' for practice, but Huskers prep both quarterbacks for Michigan

Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez is fully back in practice — wearing a stability brace on his right leg — and position coach Mario Verduzco said the true freshman is “good to go” in NU’s preparation for No. 19 Michigan.

Husker Practice Report: Adrian Martinez a full participant Wednesday; Huskers preparing like 'Rocky'

Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez went through the entire practice Wednesday in full pads and participated in every drill, quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco said.

Pick Six Podcast: Revisiting Nebraska's expectations after an 0-2 start

World-Herald staff writers Sam McKewon, Chris Heady and Evan Bland tackle the hottest Husker headlines in the Sept. 19 episode of the Pick Six Podcast.

Mad Chatter: How Tom Osborne and Nebraska barely eluded the biggest voting scandal in college football history

In 1997, Nebraska edged Michigan in the coaches poll and earned a split national championship. What went overlooked was the rogue voter who nearly toppled the system.

Carriker Chronicles: One thing the Huskers need to do to get back on track

On Wednesday's episode, Adam Carriker shares the No. 1 thing the Huskers need to do against Michigan to get back on track.

Husker notes: Aaron Williams earns Blackshirt; Defense faces new challenges and more

Senior safety Aaron Williams was the only additional Nebraska defender to earn a Blackshirt this week, bringing the total to eight as the Huskers enter Big Ten play.

Husker coach Scott Frost is focused on winning now, not waiting for the future

Nebraska's coaching staff remains laser focused on winning now despite an 0-2 start and plenty of patience from the NU fan base, Husker coach Scott Frost said on Tuesday's Big Ten Teleconference.

Husker practice report: New Blackshirt awarded, defense gears for different look in Michigan

Senior safety Aaron Williams was the only additional Nebraska defender to earn a Blackshirt this week, bringing the total to eight as the Huskers enter Big Ten play.

Huskers, Wolverines can agree on prestige. But never the 1997 national champion

Not many matchups feature the pedigree that Nebraska and Michigan present.

Carriker Chronicles: Being a Husker runs in the Bunch family. A conversation with Andrew's dad

Homegrown Husker Q&A: Luke Gifford lives out his dreams as a Nebraska captain

Luke Gifford graduated from Lincoln Southeast and came to Nebraska with his high school teammate and childhood best friend Jerald Foster. Gifford is playing the season as a graduate student and has earned spots on the Brook Berringer and Tom…

Huskers attempting to finalize Oct. 27 game against FCS foe to replace canceled Akron contest

Nothing is official, but Nebraska is trying to finalize this week a 12th game for Oct. 27 that will replace the Sept. 1 contest against Akron that was canceled by thunderstorms.

McKewon: The Big Ten usually beats itself up. Instead it was badgered by nonconference foes

We’ve arrived at the week where a full boat of Big Ten teams get to start beating up on each other. They’ve already done a great job of hurting themselves.

After two losses, Huskers see how little mistakes can make special teams units less than special

Special teams coordinator Jovan Dewitt checks the heart monitor function of his Apple Watch after every game. “Every time we take a special teams snap, my heart rate jumps up to 120, 125,” Dewitt said Tuesday. “True story.”

Prince Amukamara's first interception in three years seals Chicago Bears win on Monday Night Football

Prince Amukamara picked a heck of a time for his first interception in nearly three years.

Mohamed Barry moves on from targeting ejection; Huskers face 'huge task' against Michigan

Mohamed Barry watched the second half of Saturday’s loss to Troy from the video room inside Memorial Stadium. “It was painful not being out there,” said Barry, who was ejected for targeting.

With 0-2 start, Huskers fall to No. 5 on all-time FBS wins chart

Nebraska's 0-2 start has some all-time consequences.

Peyton Newell honored to receive Sam Foltz Memorial Scholarship. 'He was an honorable man'

“It’s such a huge honor to have that award and to be able to be acknowledged for everything Sam represented,” Peyton Newell said. “He was an honorable man. He was trustworthy, he was a leader, he was amazing on and…

Huskers practice with 'intention to be great.' They'll have to be to overcome 18-point line

A win over Michigan might take a "perfect game," Nebraska coach Scott Frost said during Monday's press conference.

Adrian Martinez practiced, but Scott Frost is unsure if Husker QB will play against Michigan

True freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez practiced Monday, but Nebraska coach Scott Frost said his status for Saturday’s 11 a.m. game at Michigan remains unclear.