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

Attrition in Husker football program hits hardest at linebacker, receiver, running back

In total, 33 of the 87 scholarship players Nebraska signed in those four classes — 38 percent — are not playing at NU. It’s the kind of roster attrition that Frost and his staff, in a massive overhaul, will need…

Shatel: Scott Frost's plan, confidence helped make Burke's Nick Henrich want to wear red

This week, Omaha Burke's Nick Henrich will be part of Scott Frost’s 2019 recruiting class, one that will be charged with bringing back the tradition — and putting a Husker shirt in every house.

Carriker Chronicles: Gut reaction to Nebraska volleyball losing to Stanford in the title game

On Saturday's episode, Adam Carriker gives his quick reaction to the Huskers losing to Stanford in the NCAA volleyball championship game.

Scott Frost tells Husker volleyball to 'bring back a national championship' in pregame pep talk

The Nebraska volleyball team got a little extra pregame motivation before its national championship match against Stanford.

After Husker walk-on offer, Elkhorn Mount Michael's Garrett Hustedt will take time with decision

Elkhorn Mount Michael's Garrett Hustedt has dreamed of one day playing football in college, and that's inching closer to becoming reality. Nebraska offered Hustedt a preferred walk-on spot Wednesday in the Huskers' 2019 recruiting class.

Nebraska backup QB Andrew Bunch exploring transfer

Recruiting: Nebraska sends all 11 coaches to see DE Ty Robinson as decision looms

How bad does Nebraska want Ty Robinson? Enough that the entire Nebraska coaching staff visited the same recruit on the same day for the first time in their three-plus years together.

Jacksonville Jaguars waive former Husker Niles Paul

Former Husker Niles Paul was waived Friday by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Paul was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 16 after he suffered a sprained MCL.

Huskers enter final weekend before signing day with spots to fill. Here's who's still on the board

Nebraska football has plenty of irons in a roaring recruiting fire just before the upcoming December signing day, especially on defense.

Carriker Chronicles: Gut reaction to Nebraska volleyball advancing to the national championship

On Thursday's episode, Adam Carriker talks to Nebraska volleyball coach John Cook about the team's upcoming Final Four match, his friendship with Scott Frost, and much more.

Voice from the Grandstand: Huskers' Mount Rushmore; Turner Gill's return?; NU's next offensive weapons

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.

Carriker Chronicles: Nebraska's John Cook on the Final Four, Scott Frost and more

On Thursday's episode, Adam Carriker talks to Nebraska volleyball coach John Cook about the team's upcoming Final Four match, his friendship with Scott Frost, and much more.

Pick Six Podcast: One week remains before football signing day

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

Carriker Chronicles: Burke's Nick Henrich on committing to the Huskers, meeting Scott Frost and more

On Wednesday's episode, Adam Carriker talks to Omaha Burke linebacker Nick Henrich about committing to the Huskers, meeting Scott Frost and much more.

From Bluegrass to Big Red: With stressful stretch over, Wandale Robinson set to be a Husker

Wandale Robinson was a few years away from falling asleep to the NFL Network. He hadn't yet figured out Reggie Bush and Percy Harvin were his favorite players.

Teddy Prochazka's full week includes offer from Northwestern, visit from Scott Frost

Teddy Prochazka, a sophomore at Elkhorn South, received his second scholarship offer while on a visit to Northwestern. He's also already one of the Huskers' top in-state recruits.

Freshman receiver/tight end Justin McGriff will transfer from Nebraska

Nebraska freshman wide receiver Justin McGriff announced Monday he'll transfer from Nebraska.

Carriker Chronicles: How Nebraska volleyball clinched its fourth straight final four berth

On Monday's episode, Adam Carriker shares his thoughts on how the Husker volleyball team clinched its fourth straight final four berth, plus his predictions for the remaining tournament games.

McKewon: Future is promising, but Huskers must develop depth to compete with Big Ten's best

In gathering names for the Rewind’s annual “Future Report" — which highlights young players on the cusp of contributing — we ran into a bit of a problem. Most of the young names we'd usually collect were already playing major…

Lincoln Southwest outside linebacker/defensive end Nick Leader joins Nebraska's walk-on class

Lincoln Southwest senior Nick Leader became the 10th known walk-on in Nebraska's 2019 recruiting class on Sunday night.

Recruiting: Huskers offer scholarship to New Jersey wideout, former Missouri commit Charles Njoku

Wayne Hills (New Jersey) wideout Charles Njoku — whose older brother, David, is a tight end for the Cleveland Browns, tweeted Sunday that he’d received a scholarship offer from Nebraska.

Scott Frost, Adrian Martinez are big hits as Huskers host football recruits at basketball game

Nebraska’s football coaches — and many of its players — made an appearance inside Pinnacle Bank Arena during the Huskers’ men’s basketball game against Creighton.

Darien Chase's teammate says the receiver from Washington will bring 'it' factor to Nebraska

Nebraska offered Chase Daniel a scholarship in October, and the 6-foot-1, 185-pound standout with speed to burn was sold during an official visit soon after. “All-around offense” is how coaches describe his future role to him. He plans to sign…

Recruiting: Husker defensive tackle commit Tony Fair reopens recruiting process

Tucson (Ariz.) Pima Community College defensive tackle Tony Fair is reopening his recruitment, he said Friday, after conversations with Nebraska about his grades.

Carriker Chronicles: New commit Wandale Robinson is a perfect fit for Scott Frost's offense

On Friday's episode, Adam Carriker discusses how new NU commit Wandale Robinson fits Scott Frost's offense like a glove.

Carriker Chronicles: We need to make the bowl games matter again. Here's the solution.

On Thursday's episode, Adam Carriker gives his suggestion on how to make bowl games matter again.

In world of big men, seemingly small things led to Nebraska's offensive line improvement

Nebraska's improvement on the offense line became a key reason why the Huskers won four of their final six games. It’s a major reason for optimism for 2019 and beyond.

Recruiting: Nebraska on radar of 2019 four-star DT Matthew Pola-Mao after offer

Matthew Pola-Mao thought he had a handle on his recruiting process. Until last week.

Nebraska football raises season ticket prices; Date set for 2019 spring game

For the first time since 2015, Nebraska is raising prices for football tickets.

Recruiting: Huskers coaches head back to California junior college to visit Datona Jackson

Should College of the Desert defensive end Datona Jackson sign with Nebraska, he'll have one of the better stories of any recent Husker recruit.