LINCOLN, Neb. -- Iowa earned a 38-17 win on Friday over Nebraska, the Hawkeyes’ first at Memorial Stadium since 1943. Here’s what we learned about the Huskers:
Same old formula: Nebraska out-yarded Iowa, as it did Michigan State two weeks ago in Lincoln, yet the Huskers lost the two games by a combined 34 points. The culprit? Turnovers. Nebraska was minus-8 against the Spartans and Hawkeyes and minus-16 in eight Big Ten games. Special teams, as usual, played a role in Nebraska’s demise, too. Two costly errors by Jordan Westerkamp in the return game killed field position for the Huskers, and a failed fake punt in the third quarter handed the Hawkeyes another short field to help seal Nebraska’s fate.
It couldn’t last forever: Iowa snapped Ameer Abdullah’s streak of consecutive 100-yard rushing games at eight. Abdullah finished with 85 yards on 23 carries. The Hawkeyes’ stout rush defense limited him to a long rush of 12 yards and just 16 yards on 10 carries in the first half. Abdullah lost a fumble in the fourth quarter on the first play of a drive after the Huskers took possession down 24-17. Two plays after the fumble, Iowa scored to all but seal the win. Abdullah remains a leading contender for Big Ten offensive player of the year. His rushing total through 12 games of 1,568 ranks fifth in Nebraska history.
They’ll back their coach to the end: Nebraska player after player spoke in defense of Bo Pelini on Friday after the embattled coach dug himself a hole by lashing out in his postgame press conference. That followed Pelini’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the third quarter for nearly hitting an official in the face with his hat while arguing against a pass interference flag on linebacker Zaire Anderson. No doubt, it was a bad day for Bo, and his job status is uncertain this weekend. But from Kenny Bell to Michael Rose, Jeremiah Sirles and others, the Huskers spoke glowingly of their sixth-year coach. If Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst makes a change, it will be a hard sell, for sure, to the Huskers.