Nebraska: 10 Iowa: 40
Offensive Player of the Game: Tre Bryant
His stats won’t jump out at you and he didn’t reach the end zone, but the true freshman was the clear standout in this ineffective offense. Bryant was asked to step up and take most of the reps when Newby went down with an injury, and contributed 41 yards on 11 carries. The 5-foot-11, 200-pounder kept his shoulder down and ran tough on all his carries, showing glimpses of what he can do in the future for this Nebraska squad.
Defensive Player of the Game: Ross Dzuris
Not a whole lot stood out on defense today for the Blackshirts, but the senior defensive end had a career-high 10 tackles on the day. Iowa ran the ball 47 times and controlled this game, but the Huskers showed glimpses of hope on defense with a few three-and-outs in the third quarter, and the Plattsmouth native was a big factor in those stops.
The Moment It Was Over:
Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard’s six-yard touchdown pass to tight end George Kittle pretty much erased any chance the Huskers had at a comeback. The score put the Hawkeyes up 33-10 with 11:13 left in the 4th quarter, but the play itself deflated the team’s morale.
Quote To Note: “Tommy wasn’t probably 100 percent, nor was Ryker, but overall the entire picture of what it looked like today, we can’t come close to using that as a reason or an excuse.” – Mike Riley
What A Nebraska Loss Means:
A loss to the Hawkeyes eliminates the Huskers’ hopes of playing in the Big Ten championship game. With a 9-3 record now, Nebraska will now play in a bowl game – the question becomes, where? What hurts them the most, though, is dropping two straight now to their rival Iowa.
* Quarterback Tommy Armstrong probably should not have played this one. Though backup Ryker Fyfe was also coming into this game with an injury, the senior from Texas just did not play anywhere near his caliber. The senior quarterback finished the game connecting just 13 times on 35 attempts (37 percent). Armstrong also looked stiff and slow, clearly still hurt in this one, which is why he only picked up 13 yards on the ground in six attempts.
* Mike Riley’s big focus at the beginning of the year was eliminating opponents’ big plays against his Huskers. Iowa scored on a 75-yard run and a 77-yard completion in the first quarter. These two plays were both the longest run and pass plays of the season for the Hawkeyes, and were a depiction of how this game ended.
* Armstrong’s start today the 44th of his career and is now the most ever by a Husker quarterback.
* I hope you were expecting something about special teams. Caleb Lightbourn showed another inconsistent game with two shanked punts, one of which going for five yards. I wish I could say that was his season low, but we all remember his -2 punt against Minnesota.
* Junior fullback Luke McNitt recorded two carries on the day for four yards. His first rush today was the first of his career and came on a 4th down conversion.
* Most of the stats in today’s game will terrify Husker fans, but one that needs to be addressed is offensive yards. Iowa had 401 total yards on offense, with 264 of them coming on the ground. The Huskers were held to just 217 yards total, with just 90 rushing yards.
* I did not count the amount of times Nebraska tried and failed to connect on the deep ball on third down, but it had to have been around half a dozen. The Huskers finished just 5-of-18 on third downs, mainly because they elected to throw it deep and did not connect once. Regardless of whether or not the receiver was open, this game plan was not working and was a hopeless attempt at staying in this game.
* Junior cornerback Joshua Kalu called a timeout with one second remaining in the first quarter. It looked as if there was some confusion on the defensive end, but Mark Banker could have just let the clock run out. This didn’t come back to bite them, but I am curious as to what happened on that play. It might have been Nebraska trying to force Iowa to make one more play into the wind?
* Senior wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp recorded four catches on the day for 50 yards, marking his 36th straight game with at least one catch. His catch today has him at second in Nebraska history, and if he completes a catch in their bowl game, he will tie Johnny Rodgers for first. His four catches on the day also placed the Illinois native at second most in school history with 167 career receptions.
* The Huskers had eight flags on the day for a total of 57 yards. Their penalties ranged from a holding call, to an unsportsmanlike conduct call on the second to last play of the game. Mike Riley cannot be happy about his team’s bonehead mistakes, and will need to clean this up in time for their bowl game.
* Nebraska did not commit a turnover in today’s game, which marks their third straight game without a turnover.