Game Balls: Iowa vs Nebraska

Identifying Iowa's top performers in their 12th consecutive win.

Iowa cemented their perfect regular season on Friday by edging out Nebraska 28-20. Though the Huskers had more than their share of chances to pull through, the game was never in tremendous doubt for the Hawkeyes. They didn't exactly come out firing on the offensive side of the ball but their defense steamrolled Mike Riley's squad. For that reason, only two of the game balls went to offensive players while four were awarded to the defense.

OFFENSE

RUNNING BACK JORDAN CANZERI

He has become the closer in recent weeks since bouncing back from his injury against Northwestern. A lot of that is the trust the Hawkeyes' coaching staff has in him. When they need to hold onto the ball and salt away a victory, he gets the call and he performs so well in that role. His two second half touchdowns were the difference.

FULLBACK MACON PLEWA

He doesn't get a ton of love. The fullbacks do not in particular. It isn't a sexy position but it is a valuable one in the Iowa offense. He and Adam Cox have been some of the difference makers on this Iowa squad. He paved some big holes for Canzeri to run through by putting the clamps on the initial penetration that Nebraska was able to mount. All the success on the ground does not happen without the contributions of Plewa and Cox.

DEFENSE

LINEBACKER COLE FISHER

It was kind of a storybook day for the Huskers legacy. The Omaha native forced the first turnover of the game with his interception and he deflected a few others. It's crazy that it happened on this day but it was probably his best performance of the season so this game ball is well deserved for Mr. Fisher.

LINEBACKER BO BOWER

Ben Niemann had to leave the game early and was not able to return after taking some friendly fire from fellow linebacker Josey Jewell. In steps Bo Bower and the train keeps rolling like it never happened. It shows how deep they are beginning to come, especially at linebacker, and how much better this unit is because Bower could play for a lot of other teams. He's quick, shoots the gap well, and is a nice edge rusher as well. The Nebraska tackles had their hands full with him coming off the edge. 

CORNERBACK GREG MABIN

He's been the recipient of some complaints and criticism from the Hawkeye faithful recently because he is receiving more targets than usual so he's on an island and in the spotlight with a lot of frequency. Personally, I think he's held up well. But on Friday, he was even better. With Desmond King suspended for the first quarter and having some struggles once he came back on the field, Mabin was the man. He had an interception and produced exceptional coverage on a few deep balls and red zone throws. His contribution was critical against the Huskers.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE NATHAN BAZATA

Bazata is another guy that doesn't get a lot of love, but like Fisher, he may have had his best performance of the season against his home state. It seemed like he had a number of tackles for loss or at the line of scrimmage. The Hawkeyes controlled the middle of the line of scrimmage on defense with him and Jaleel Johnson being very active. There was a few third downs responsible where Bazata was the man responsible. 


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