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Iowa Turns Heroes Game Into Rivalry, Trounces Nebraska 38-17
In order for a series to become a true rivalry, a trophy is nice, being border states in better, but pounding your opponent in their own stadium - now you have something. That’s precisely what the Hawkeyes did on “Black Friday” when they rode a dominant Defense and an opportunistic Offense to a big victory over the Cornhuskers.
The win gives Iowa an 8-4 record overall, 5-3 in the Big Ten, and clinches 2nd place in the Legends Division. It should also result in a better bowl bid - perhaps the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day. And it marks a complete turn-around from the 4-8 2012 Season.
The Hawkeyes capitalized on three Nebraska turnovers generated by their trio of outstanding senior linebackers - two picks and a fumble recovery. Iowa did not turn the ball over. For most of this game, Iowa dominated Nebraska in all three phases even though a glance at the stats wouldn’t necessarily reflect that. In this game, Nebraska was simply over-matched, after coming from behind in three November games to pull out victories in the 4th Quarter. That was not to be the case here.
The Cornhuskers had been averaging 233.7 rushing yards. Iowa’s Defense held them to only 89 yards on the ground. Nebraska’s star running back Ameer Abdullah was limited to only 85 yards on 23 carries - a 3.7 yard/carry average. Nebraska has been decimated by injuries this season, especially on Offense, and was forced to start of 5th year walk-on senior at quarterback in Ron Kellogg, who was pressured most of the game and threw two picks - one each by James Morris and Anthony Hitchens. The other turnover was an Abdullah fumble caused by a Christian Kirksey hit. Nebraska was able to generate 199 yards of offense through the air, but that one-dimensional attack was not sufficient to pull out a win on its Senior Day.
Iowa’s Offense did what it needed to do, after failing to take full advantage of good field position in the 1st Quarter. Quarterback Jake Rudock played another solid game, completing 9 of 15 passes for 126 yards and 2 touchdowns before suffering a knee injury late in the 3rd Quarter. He was relieved by C.J. Beathard who guided the visitors to two more touchdowns. The Hawkeyes finished with 381 yards of total offense: 155 rushing and 126 passing. Mark Weisman gained 72 yards on 24 carries and ran for two touchdowns while Jordan Canzeri added 59 yards on 6 carries. Beathard added a rushing TD near the end of the game. C.J. Fedorowicz and Kevonte Martin-Manley both caught touchdown passes.
Iowa now gets some well-deserved time off to prepare for a bowl game that won’t be officially announced until December 8. But this win, coming on the heels of beating Michigan last week at Kinnick Stadium, may push the Hawkeyes into a New Year’s Day appearance with speculation focusing on the Outback Bowl in Tampa.