The first Heroes Game is in need of some more offensive heroes, especially from the Iowa side.
It took nearly the entire first half before either team scored a touchdown, as Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez hit Kyler Reed on a beautifully designed play-action pass inside the red zone. The story so far, though, has been the defenses -- the Blackshirts in particular.
Iowa has one of the most explosive offenses in the Big Ten when its Big Three are going, but the Cornhuskers have stopped two-thirds of that attack. Star receiver Marvin McNutt has two catches for one one yard as Alfonzo Dennard has done a great job of shutting him down. Robbed of his favorite target, James Vandenberg is just 4-of-10 for 36 yards. Only Marcus Coker, who has accounted for 81 of the team's 98 total yards at half, has done much of anything offensively for the Hawkeyes.
Iowa moved the ball inside the Nebraska 40-yard line twice but opted to punt both times. The first time, the Hawkeyes had the wind in their face, and the second time they had a fourth-and-13. Still, those punts did little to quell fans who complain that Kirk Ferentz is too conservative.
The Huskers scored their touchdown a few plays after going for it inside the Iowa 30 on fourth and short. The Nebraska offense has struggled at times, too, especially in the passing game. But Rex Burkhead has run strong with 79 yards already on 18 carries, and Martinez made plays when he needed to on that important final drive of the half.
Ferentz and his staff have to figure out a way to get McNutt or somebody else in the passing game going, or else the Huskers will claim the first Heroes trophy.
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