WR Kenny Bell – The senior (concussion) wasn’t even cleared to play until Wednesday, but Bell has gone through enough practices in his life to be ready for a game without hitting Hawks Field. Not only did he catch the game winning-touchdown on a play not designed for him, but he likely sparked the team with an early fourth quarter touchdown.
S Nate Gerry - The sophomore’s stat line was incredible: 15 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, and an interception down in the red zone. He’s quietly becoming one of the best safeties in the Big Ten and did it today without usual playing mate Corey Cooper. Gerry might just the defensive MVP this season.
The whole defensive line – It’s easy to say the group stepped up in the absence of junior defensive end Randy Gregory, but guys like defensive end Joe Keels and A.J. Natter didn’t play as well. The depth just wasn’t there on Friday and it actually worried the coaching staff a lot going into the contest. Fortunately no one got hurt up front.
PR De’Mornay Pieron-El – It would have been hard for me to imagine Pierson-El’s stock climbing in this one, but it sure did. The true freshman had three returns for 134 yards – his longest on an 80-yard touchdown. The play before, he was almost gone as well, but got tripped up by the punter. “I beat him,” said Pierson-El. “He just got lucky (laughing).”
QB Tommy Armstrong – The completion percentage wasn’t there and he threw two interceptions in the first half (although one I would hardly classify his fault), but the redshirt sophomore had a gutsy road performance, throwing four touchdowns. Armstrong has been playing with a hurt rib according to Pelini and it was cleared it flared up today. He played through the pain and led the Huskers to victory. I don’t think another quarterback on the roster would have been able to do that today.
TE Cethan Carter - Twice in key moments, the sophomore was found by Armstrong for first downs. A tight end can be a quarterback’s, especially a young quarterback, best friend. While he did miss a few games earlier this year, his two catches for 48 yards was only No. 4 and No. 5 on the season. Maybe there will be some trust there going forward.
C Paul Thurston - Thrown into the fire after backup center Ryne Reeves went down, Thurston got it done on Saturday. Sure he had his moments of struggle, but Iowa’s defensive line is more than respectable and the redshirt sophomore was put in a tough spot. After loving his game out of high school, we have been waiting to write his name in a report.
K Drew Brown - It’s hard to put Brown on the list when he makes a field goal to send the game into overtime, but he missed two previous attempts before that – including one that was blocked. The true freshman is now just 11-of-16 on the season.
Future Husker Mirko Jurovic - Well…maybe a future Husker. The IMG Academy product is at Ohio State this weekend for an official visit he told Big Red Report.