LINCOLN, Neb. – In a game where Nebraska had nearly two weeks to prepare for, the Huskers were offensively sloppy and defensively gave up two big plays to lose to No. 4 Iowa, 28-20.
The Hawkeyes, who finished the regular season 12-0, ran just 44 plays in the contest and was held to 153-yards on the ground - well below their season average. In addition, Nebraska held the ball nearly 13 minutes longer. It didn’t matter.
“It was penalties and turnovers I think that was probably the difference,” said Nebraska head coach Mike Riley, who watched his quarterback turn it over four times. “We really shot ourselves in the foot. They production was crazy different. They were 0 for 9 on third down. There was a lot of good stuff in the game; it was just those other parts that we couldn’t overcome.”
Nebraska (5-7, 3-5) now waits for their possible bowl fate. The question is whether enough teams will hit the 6-win mark this season.
“I told them, we don’t know what is going to happen,” said Riley. “This team fought all year; there was never a game where they didn’t compete in. I appreciate that about them. There is a lot of things there we wish we could get back, there’s a few plays here and there, but that’s not life. I think it will all help us as we go forward.
“Whatever it is, whatever happens with this team… there is enough stuff here where we will be excited about working on it in the near future.”
In Nebraska’s seven losses, the average margin of loss was just 4.4 points.
7-0 Iowa TD
6-plays, 66-yards, 2:53
Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard finds Iowa tight end George Kittle on the 10-yard touchdown pass.
Key play: Bethard fumbled and Nebraska receovered, but the play was reversed after a 15-yard hands to the face penalty by Nebraska defensive tackle Kevin Williams.
7-7 Nebraska TD
3-plays, 33-yards, 1:15
Nebraska running back Imani Cross with a 4-yard rushing touchdown.
Key play: On a punt return, Iowa defensive back Desmond King fumbled a punt return that was recovered by Nerbaska.
14-7 Iowa TD
Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong with an interception at his 4-yard line, returned by Iowa for a touchdown
Key play: Iowa brought the blitz and Armstrong didn't read it. Offensive tackle Alex Lewis didn't make a key cut block on the play.
14-10 Nebraska FG
6-plays, 59-yards, 1:08
Drew Brown 39-yard field goal
Key play: Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong hit on multiple 20+ yard passes to Cethan Carter.
**** HALFTIME ***
21-10 Iowa TD
2-plays, 33-yards, :45
Iowa running back Jordan Canzeri 29-yard touchdown run.
Key play: On a Nebraska punt, Iowa punt returner Desmond King returned it 26-yards, getting 15-yards tacked on to the play due to a late hit by punter Sam Foltz when Kind was out of bounds.
21-17 Nebraska TD
11-plays, 75-yards, 5:17
Nebraska running back Imani Cross with a touchdown on a 4-yard run up the middle.
Key play: On 2nd and 11, Armstrong found wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp on a 26-yard pass. The two met up three times on the series.
28-17 Iowa TD
1-play, 68-yards, :10
Iowa running back Jordan Canzeri 68-yard touchdown run.
Key play: Iowa coughed up the kickoff return, but was able to recover, setting up a chance for their offense.
28-20 Nebraska FG
12-plays, 53-yards, 1:53
Drew Brown 42-yard field goal
Key play: After the field goal, Brown's onside kick was recovered by Iowa.