November 28, 2013

TES - 2013 IOWA FOOTBALL - WEEK 14: IOWA @ NEBRASKA

Sedge’s Hawkeye Game Notes - 2013 Edition
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Iowa’s Record: 7-4, 4-3 Big Ten, 3-1 B1G Legends
Iowa’s Rankings:
AP:
USA Today:
BCS:
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2013 IOWA FOOTBALL SCHEDULE*

August 31st v. Northern Illinois, loss 30-27
September 7th v. Missouri State, WIN 28-14
September 14th @ Iowa State, WIN 27-21
September 21st v. Western Michigan, WIN 59-3
September 28th, @ •Minnesota, WIN 23-7
October 5th v. •Michigan State, loss 26-14
October 12th - Bye Week #1
October 19th @ Ohio State, loss 34-24
October 26th v. •Northwestern, WIN 17-10 OT
November 2nd v. Wisconsin, loss 28-9
November 9th @ Purdue, WIN 38-14
November 16th - Bye Week #2
November 23rd v. •Michigan, WIN 24-21
November 29th @ •Nebraska, 12:06 pm, ABC - Friday!

•Big Ten Legends Division Game

*Times Eastern

Scouting Next Opponent: Bowl Game and opponent TBD

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November 29th, 2013.  Iowa @ Nebraska Cornhuskers, 8-3, 5-2 Big Ten, 2-2 B1G Legends
Previous Meetings: 43, Nebraska leads 28-12-3
Last Meeting: 2012, Nebraska 13, Iowa 7

Current Line: Iowa +3

Turnover Margin: -2,  B1G #8, FBS #74

Current Week 2 Deep:

Hawkeye Stat Pack 
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Offense
Total   398.7  Pass  207.2  Rush 191.5  Scoring 26.4
B1G    #7              #7               #5                  #10
FBS    #72            #86             #43                #78
Defense  
Total   304.5  Pass  180.9  Rush 123.6   Scoring 18.9
B1G    #3            #3                 #5                   #4
FBS    #10          #10               #20                 #13 
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Week 13: Michigan

As soon as your scribe got the Notes sent out last week, he had to pack - for a very chilly weekend in Iowa City.

Ok, living on the east coast all these years has made me kind of soft.  It would be cold, very cold in Kinnick.

So cold, in fact, that as far as anyone can tell, the coldest Iowa home football game - ever.

So I had to pack all the heaviest black gear I had, which fortunately, meant a lot of cold weather Iowa gear.  Emboldened by my middle Iowa upbringing, I agreed to start the tailgating at 8:00 am - 3 hours before kickoff.   

I think I spent about 2 of those hours warming up in our ever-running van.  

Anyway, we made our way into the stadium (the club seats - outdoor, yes, but out of the wind, and we can go inside the press box whenever we want), a few minutes before kickoff, just in time to take off our hats for the national anthem.  Brrrrr….

And now the captains are at midfield, and the Hawks have again won the toss - and deferred.  Either Kirk is open to trying new things - or the players brains were frozen and they answered the question incorrectly.

Meyer lines up the kick, and it comes down at the 7, and Michigan gets it out to the 25.

Things are stopped as we have an injured Wolverine.  Not a good day to be sitting still on the field.  Finally he gets carried off the field on the golf cart, and the Michigan offense takes the field.

Gardner snaps the ball from the gun, steps back, and then floats it down the far sideline - Lowery is matched up with Gallon, and the pass falls to the turf, and a flag flies in.  It’s pass interference, iffy by Big Ten standards, but Lowery just had to have his head turned a bit and it probably would not have drawn a flag.  Michigan now had a 1st down at the 40.

But from here, Michigan would go 3 and out, thanks to the rare Iowa blitz on 3rd down, which forces Gardner to option the ball immediately, and the Hawks seal the corner to stop it and force 4th and 2.  The Michigan punter comes in and just barely gets the punt off, and KMM must make a fair catch at the 13, Iowa ball at 13:24 of the 1st.

Jake comes to the line under center, with Mark alone behind him, an H back set on the far side, and a  solo wideout down low.   Jake snaps the ball, fakes the handoff to Mark, and turns to roll to the near side - but as soon as he does, he has a linebacker diving at him, so Jake puts it up, but he can’t get it off cleanly, it just floats up in the air, and another Wolverine snags it at the 10 and goes untouched into the end zone, a pick 6, and just like that, Michigan had a 7-0 lead.  

A late flag comes in, and Michigan is called for celebrating too much.  A 15 yard penalty, to be assessed on the kickoff.

That forces Michigan to kickoff from the 20, but it's a good kick, Cotton snags it at the 12, and gets it out to the 30.  1st down Hawkeyes, Jake and the offense need to regroup.

Jake now tosses the ball to Mark, he heads off tackle left, gets the corner turned, 11 yards!  That’s a good start!

Jake to the line, he changes the play when he sees the Michigan formation.  He has Mark at tailback and two wideouts low side.  Jake snaps it, drops back, then steps forward as the pocket starts to contract, and then he fires it down the far sideline, CJF reached up to snag it, and he falls down and hangs on! 25 yards!!! 1st down Iowa at the Michigan 33!

The Hawks would get the ball down to the Michigan 21, but on 3rd and 8, Jake takes off and looks like he could get to the stripe, but he gets tripped up from behind, and in comes the field goal team.

It’s a 36 yard field goal, and it’s from the far hash, or left side of the field, Meyer gets it up and long enough, but he pushes it wide right.  Iowa still trails 7-0, timeout at 8:55 of the 1st.

From the 20, Michigan would throw in a 3 and out.  They would gain 9 yards on a 1st down pass, but then the Iowa defense rose up and stuffed the next two rush attempts for losses, and Iowa got the ball back at the Michigan 45 after the 19 yard punt.  Timeout, 7:08 of the 1st.

Jake is under center, changing the play.  It goes to Mark, he tries the near side, but gets just 2.
But then a flag comes in, and Iowa is flagged for clipping, that’s a 15 yard penalty, it’s now a 1st and 23 back at the Iowa 42.  We see the replay, and we, and the booth, don’t see it.

Jake is back under center, he snaps it and fakes the handoff, play action, turns and floats it down the far sideline, where KMM is wide open, caught, and he steps out of bounds, 18 yards, it’s 2nd and 5! 

Iowa now to the I formation, Jake changes the play at the line.  It’s Jordan at tailback, he gets the ball and heads right, through the line, 10 yards, and an Iowa 1st down at the Michigan 30!

Iowa to the line, Jake snaps it, drops back, is looking deep down the near side, but he doesn't like it, so he pulls it down, and takes off to the far side, where it’s wide open!  Across the 25, the 20, 15, and he finally has to step out of bounds at the 11, 19 yards, and it’s 1st down Hawkeyes!

Jordan is still back there, he gets a toss from Jake, tries the right side, but gets bottled up to gain just 2.  2nd and 8.

Mark is now at tailback with the offset fullback, Jake changes the play.  And then he snaps it, hands it to Mark, he tries the left side of the line, gets about 4 yards, and it’s a 3rd and 3 from the Michigan 5.

Jake now to the gun, with Jordan to his right, and 4 wide spread out across the field.  He snaps it, drops back, looks, but then he starts to head to the far side, he may pull it down, no, he flips it to the far corner of the end zone, where CJF dives, snags it, and rises up with the ball, an IOWA TOUCHDOWN!!!  

It gets reviewed, but we can’t tell why, even from the stands on the opposite side of the field, it’s a catch, but they look at it and agree, and Meyer boots the extra point through, and we’re at 7-7 at 3:39 of the 1st.

Meyer knocks his kickoff to the 7, and Michigan brings it out to the 23.  

Michigan starts with another deep pass down the far sideline, but this time Lowery has his eyes on it  - although the Michigan tight end Funchess got his hands on it, but could hold it when he hit the ground.  2nd and 10.

Now Gardner tries a very quick strike to the far side, but he misses his target, 3rd and 10.

The Kinnick fans raise the noise level, although with all the clapping being done in gloves and mittens, we had to use our voices.  

Michigan tries to run a screen pass to Toussaint, but as soon as he makes the catch, he gets drilled by Morris, and that’s a loss of 3 yards, 4th and 13!!!

This is another bad punt, and Iowa now has the ball at the Michigan 42.

Iowa would gain 8 yards on 1st down on a little flip from Jake to Mark.  But then Jordan gets bottled up in the backfield to lose 3, and it’s now 3rd and 5.  

Jake is alone in the gun, 5 wide.  Jake steps back and tries to quick strike to the near side, but it gets deflected at the line and it falls to the turn.  4th and 5.  The booth points out that Smith was open on the slant and that Michigan was lucky to knock it down.  

The Iowa offense stays on the field, in the same formation, and once again Jake’s pass is knocked down at the line.  Michigan ball at their 36, clock at 1:08 of the 1st.

Michigan starts with a swing pass that gains 5, and then a run up the middle would gain 3, forcing the 3rd and 2 as the 1st quarter came to close.  Timeout.

The 2nd opens with Davis knocking down Michigan’s 3rd down pass, and the punt team came on.

This kick lands at the 5, where KMM makes the catch, he tries going to the far side, and actually loses two yards to give Iowa the ball at the 3.

Iowa is in the power I, Mark gets it, and heads straight ahead, 5 yards, 2nd and 5.

Mark gets the ball again, he heads left, through the hole, a linebacker dives at him but Mark sticks out his right arm and knocks him away, to pick up about 10 more yards, 20 total, and an Iowa 1st down out at the 28!

Jake now under center, Damon behind him.  He snaps it, hands it to Damon, who then turns and flips the ball back to Jake, the flea flicker, he grabs it and fires it down the middle of the field - but we see the Iowa wipeout is behind the corner but the safety is above him - the ball comes down as the 3 converge, as Vandenberg actually gets his hands on it, but can’t pull it in as he goes to the ground.  2nd and 10.

Jake now quickly screens the ball to KMM, he makes the catch but gets tripped up, just 1 yard, 3rd and 9.

Jake to the gun with 4 wide, he snaps it, looks to the far side, but then back to the left, and then fires it to the near sideline, where he hasn’t seen a Michigan defender, he steps in front of the ball and picks it off at the 40, and he gets it down to the Iowa 28 before the Hawks can get him down.  

Michigan would run it 6 times around 2 timeouts, and Michigan would soon face a 2nd and goal from the Iowa 2.

Gardner is under center in front of the I formation, he fakes the handoff and rolls to the near side, he wants to run with it, then he fakes a pass and pulls it down and heads for the near sideline - the Hawks string him out, he gets hit at about the 5, but he’s not down, and he flips it back into the middle of the end zone, caught, touchdown Michigan, and the Hawks were down 14-7 at 8:31 of the 2nd.

Iowa starts the next drive from the 24.  We would gain 7 yards on a jet sweep to Powell, but then Mark and Damon would gain 1 and lose 1 yard, and Iowa was 3 and out, punting it Michigan 41.

Michigan would run 5 plays and get to the Iowa 44, but from there the Iowa defense made the stop, and the Hawks had the ball back at their 13.  

Once again, a quick 3 and out by the Iowa offense, and Michigan had the ball at the Iowa 47 with 3:24 left in the 2nd.

The Hawks would quickly force a 3rd and 10, but Gardner would find Gallon on the slant to pick up 14 yards, and Michigan was at the Iowa 33.

From here, Michigan would not face another 3rd down until they face a 3rd and goal from the Hawkeye 9.  Gardner was in the gun with 4 wideouts, he snaps the ball, drops back a step, stands there, and then fires a strike to Gallon just across the goal line, caught, touchdown Michigan, and Iowa was down 21-7 with 41 seconds left.

Kinnick was very silent as the Wolverine kickoff landed at the goal line - Cotton makes the catch about 3 yards past the far hash, and he heads up field - he gets to the 20 before meeting the first wave of Wolverines, but he steps out of a tackle and cuts it toward the near side - across the 30, the 35, now he’s in space across the 40, 45, 50, the 45, and he actually gets tripped by his blocker to finally go down at the Michigan 39, a 60 yard return, and Iowa was in business with 30 seconds left!!!

Jake to the gun with Damon to his left, and 3 wide.  Jake snaps it, looks, then comes back to the near sideline, Damon turns and dives and makes the catch!  The wheel route, 17 yards and out of bounds, an Iowa 1st down with 24 seconds left!

Iowa to the line, Damon gets the ball, he’s in space and has one guy to beat, but he can’t, taken down after just 3, and in bounds, Iowa calls timeout with 15 seconds left.  Our final timeout.

Jake to the gun with 5 wide, he feels the pressure and throws it away to the near sideline.  Clock at 11 seconds, 3rd and 7.

Jake snaps it again, looks quickly, and then heads to the near side and steps out of bounds, there are 5 seconds left, and on steps the Iowa field goal team.

It’s a 37 yard field goal, into the wind, which isn’t easy - but Kornbrath seems to get the ball spotted - and then lose control of it, he picks it up and tried to run, get hit, loses it, Michigan grabs it, and the Hawks drop him there.  And as the Hawks leave the field the fans in Kinnick are not happy.  Cold, and not happy.

So the Hawks are down 21-7 and Iowa fans are left to wonder if the team can emerge from the cold induced slumber to make a game of it in the 2nd half.

Your scribe has toughed out the 1st half outside, now heads inside the pressbox to find some hot chocolate.  And there I stayed for the entirely of the halftime.

Iowa leads in total offense 178 to 113, but the 3 turnovers (the muffed field goal counts as one) are the difference in the score.  

Cotton brings the 3rd quarter kickoff out to the 30, and Hawk fans return outside to see if the offense can get things going, refueled by the piping hot hot chocolate. 

Jake is under center in front of the offset I, with Jordan at tailback.  Jordan gets it and heads straight ahead, 12 yards, and an Iowa 1st down at the 42!  A good start!

Iowa now to the traditional I, as Jake changes the play.  Jordan gets it again and tries the near side, he gets 3 to bring up a 2nd and 7.

Jake is now alone in gun with 5 wide.  He snaps the ball and quickly fires it near side, the slant, for Smith - he reaches up with one hand to snag it, and pulls it down!  Now he steps out of a tackle and  he cuts inside a Wolverine and races for the near sideline - across the 30, the 25, the 15, one man to beat inside the 5 and he can’t make the tackle TOUCHDOWN IOWA!!!  Kinnick erupts as the Hawks celebrate in the end zone, and Iowa has closed the gap to 21-14 at 13:35 of the 3rd!  3 plays, 70 yards, how’s that for some halftime adjustments!!!

That was Smith’s first Hawkeye touchdown, a 55 yard slant pattern with a one handed catch.  A sophomore, with two more years catching passes from Jake.  We may have found another playmaker at wide receiver.

And so began a run of offensive futility by both teams.  Michigan, 3 and out.

Iowa, one 1st down, and then 3 and out.

Michigan at 9:53 of the 3rd, 3 and out.

Iowa at 9:19 - 3 and out.

Michigan at 7:40.  3 and out.

Iowa was at the Michigan 43 after this past punt, but after 3 plays they would have a 1st and 10 at the Michigan 32.  Jake was looking to the near side, and he released the ball he got hit, and that caused to be short of his target, and a Wolverine dived in to snag it at the 19.  Or did he, it was hard to tell.  We see lots of replays, and then it goes to review, and form at least one view, it sure looks like it hits the ground.  

It takes a while, but the call stands, and Michigan had the ball at the Iowa 19.

Michigan runs a reverse to Funchess, and he gains 10 yards on 1st down.  1st and 10 from the Iowa 29.

But from here, the Iowa defense had had enough.

Michigan now tries a flip to Gallon on an end around, the Hawks blow it up and drop him for a 4 yard loss.  2nd and 14.

Gardner takes the under pass to Gallon, that nets 7 yards, 3rd and 7, and the Iowa fans ramped up the noise again.

Gardner is in the gun, he snaps the ball and after a second, Morris blitzes him right up the gap and he’s untouched!  Gardner has to pull it down to escape Morris, but his spin has put him right into the arms of Davis and he drops him for a 14 yard sack!  4th and 21, and on came the Michigan punt team.

KMM makes a fair catch at the 40, and Iowa has the ball back at 1:21 of the 3rd.

Jake starts with a wideout screen that just gains 1.  2nd and 9.

Iowa to the I formation, but Jake fires it near side, caught, Smith, right at the sticks, and that’s an Iowa 1st down at the 50 yard line!

Jake has Jordan behind him, he snaps the ball, and Jordan just sneaks out into the flat - Jake finds him, caught, he cuts to the far side to pick up 17, an Iowa 1st down at the Michigan 33!

That brings the 3rd quarter to a close.  Hawk fans are wondering if we can put tougher another quarter to bring this one home.

After the break, Iowa is in the offset I.  It goes to Jordan, who tries the right side, but gets only a mouthful of Wolverines, 2nd and 11.

Same formation, it’s a play action fake, Jake looks around, doesn’t like what he sees, so he pulls it down and heads for the near side, but he gets chased down so he has to head out of bounds after gaining just 2, 3rd and 9.

Jake is back in the gun with Damon beside him, but then he looks at the play clock and he turns to call a timeout with 1 second left on the clock.  

After the break, Jake is now under center with Damon alone at tailback.  Michigan is thinking pass, but it goes to Damon, he heads to the left corner, turns it, and seems to get to the stripe before stepping out, but the official comes in and marks it about a yard short.  4th and 1.

Mark is in now, Iowa shows the power I.  Jake hands it to Mark, he heads straight ahead, and as soon as his foot hits the yellow stripe, he dives ahead to pick up 4, and an Iowa 1st down at the Michigan 20!  Hello Red Zone!

Again to the I, with two wideouts high side.  Jake snaps it, fakes the handoff, rolls around to the near side, and then dumps it over the line to the fullback, Cox, caught, he puts down his head and plows forward, 11 yards, and an Iowa 1st and goal from the 9!!!

Iowa back to the I formation, just one lonely wideout up top.  Mark is at tailback.  Jake changes the play.  It goes to Mark and he heads straight ahead - he slips though a tackle at the 7, gets to the 3, where he meets a Michigan safety, he grabs ahold of Mark but just goes for a ride as he surges into the end zone, TOUCHDOWN IOWA!!!  And Meyer comes in and makes it 21 all, with 12:11 left in the 4th!

Kicking off into the wind, Meyer squibs it downfield, where a Michigan fullback gets the ball at the 21, and he gets it out to the 42.  The Iowa defense takes the field.

Michigan goes 3 and out, again.  Iowa ball at the 34 after the 9 yard return by KMM.  Clock at 10:56.

Iowa to the I formation, but it’s a play action fake, Jake looks downfield, and then fires a rope to the near sideline, Smith, caught, and out of bounds at the Michigan 45, 21 yards!  

Iowa now with 3 wide and Jordan at tailback, Jake snaps it, and then turns and fires it far side, Smith again, caught, 5 yards, 2nd and 5.

Jordan again at tailback, he gets the ball and tries the left side - finds a bit of space and slides though, 5 yards, an Iowa 1st down at the Michigan 35!

Iowa goes to the 3 tight end set, but Jordan gets the ball again, tries the middle, and gets about 7!

Mark is in now, he gets the ball and heads straight ahead, 4 yards, an Iowa 1st down at the Michigan 23!

The 3 tight end set again, now with Jordan back at tailback.  It goes to Canzeri, he tries the right side and gets 5 more. 2nd and 5.

Same set, same play, Jordan gets about 3 to bring up the 3rd and 2.

Iowa to the power I with Mark at tailback.  It goes to him and he tries the far side, but the Wolverines get behind the line and drop him for a 2 yard loss.  He should have gone straight ahead, it seemed like he would have had it.

Meyer comes in to try the 34 yard kick into the wind, and this time the hold is down, the kick is up, and it’s good, and Iowa has a 24-21 lead with 6:02 left in the game.  Iowa defense - lock it down!!!

This kickoff lands at the 20, and is returned to the 30.

At this point of the 2nd half, Michigan has 6 yards of offense.  

Michigan opens with Gardner in the gun, a tailback to his right, and 4 wide.  It’s a handoff, he goes right up the middle to get 4 yards. 2nd and 6.

Michigan now to the solo tailback, wideout on each side look.  It’s another handoff, but Gardner seems to take to long to hand it off, and the Hawk surge in and drop it for a loss of 2!  3rd and 8!

Michigan is in the gun with a tailback to his right, 3 receivers in the triangle pattern right in the near side slot position, and solo wideout up high.  Gardner snaps and the pressure is there, but he gets it away and it’s caught and carried out to the 50 before the Hawks get him down.  1st down Michigan.  Clock at 4:35, and counting.  

The officials miss a false start by the right tackle, and Gardner snaps the ball, and decides to keep it, and wishes he hadn’t, as Iowa drops him for a yard loss.  2nd and 11.

Now Gardner snaps it, drops back, and then dumps it near side to Toussaint, he gets 13 yards, and Michigan was now at the Iowa 38 with a 1st down, and the clock at 3:24.  Already in field goal range with the wind at their backs, Hawkeye fans begin to have that sinking feeling.  

Michigan is in the gun, a tailback to his right, one wideout low, and three high.  Gardner runs the read/option and hands it off, but the Hawks blow it up and drop it for a loss.  2nd and 11.

Michigan now with one less wideout and one more tight end.  Gardner snaps the ball, takes the step back, but then he pulls it down, it’s a run all the way, the draw, he heads toward the far sideline, but at the 30, Hitchens catches him and he wraps his arms around the ball, and then he yanks it free FUMBLE!!!! and Hitchens falls on the ball as the Iowa players leap up in the air and side judge blows his whistle and points the other way!!!!!!  Iowa ball with 2:12 on the clock!!!  Gardner, lying down, puts his head into the ground in frustration.  

It’s reviewed, but the replay is clear, Hitchens with the force out and the recovery, and Iowa has the ball at the Hawkeye 31.

Iowa to the 3 tight end set, Mark at tailback.  Michigan just has a single high safety, everyone else is in the box.  Mark gets it, he heads left, blows through the line untouched, then cuts it back upfield and picks up 22 yards!  1st down Iowa at the Michigan 47!   The Wolverines call timeout.

After the break, Mark gets it again, and loses 2 yards.  Timeout, Michigan, clock at 2:00.

Iowa to the I formation, Mark gets ahead, plows straight ahead, 2 yards.  Michigan timeout.  Their last, clock at 1:56.  3rd and 10.

Iowa to the power I, a solo wideout down low.  But it’s a play action fake!  Jake rolls to the far side, he crosses the far hash, it looks like he will keep it, but in one motion he brings his arm up and flips it down the far sideline, where CJF has a step on the defender and he makes the catch and steps across the yellow line and out of bounds!!!!  1st down Iowa and Michigan has no timeouts!!!

3 victory formation snaps kills the clock and as the game comes to an end the Beer Song rang out through Kinnick, and in much warmer Hawkeye bars around the country.  

And what an effort it was, especially by the Iowa defense.  Michigan, only 158 total yards, with just 10 1st downs.  And in the second half, just 46 yards.  Of course, the first td was not on the defense, and the other two were on short fields after a turnover and short punt.  Michigan never could drive the field to score.  Talk about suffocating.

Iowa, by contrast, racked up 407 yards on the day, 168 on the ground, and 239 in the air.  Without the mistakes, the Hawks would have won this game going away.  

So the Hawks can feel good that the were able to again shake the 2nd half doldrums, and finish a game that was in doubt.  That makes 4 of 5 against the Wolverines; it’s too bad we won’t be seeing them every year going forward.

And the Hawks seemed to emerge from the game with no major injuries, and we may even have a couple guys back this week that have missed the past few, so we should be ready to through everything we have at Nebraska this Friday

Week 14: Nebraska

First, we lead off with a little comic entertainment, at the expense of the Huskers:


It’s the Iowa Nice Guy, who appears regularly on College Football Live, and can’t seen to go more than 90 seconds without bashing Nebraska.  Enjoy!

And these videos became even more special late this summer, as there was a lot of grumbling from across the state line that the Huskers didn’t like the idea of being locked into the last game with Iowa forever.  Yeah, full national coverage on ABC, the only game in the 12:00 pm slot Friday that gets to every tv in the country, that sucks.

Or maybe it’s because the Hawks haven’t beaten Nebraska since 1981 -  course last year, they beat us 13-7 with our as good as dead offense, so it’s not as if they have been just blowing us out all the time.

Complain all they like, at least through 2019 the Hero’s Game will be on Black Friday on ABC.

Which brings us to the present. Nebraska is a game better than the Hawks at 8-3 and 5-2 in the conference.  But like Michigan, they have been very close to being .500 or worse.

It started with Wyoming, and the Huskers had way more of a battle than they anticipated, winning only 37-34.  

The Huskers had little trouble next with Southern Miss, winning 56-13, but then in week 3, they had then 16th ranked UCLA come into town, and the Bruins overcame an 18 point deficit to pound the Huskers 41-21.  They also knocked out senior QB and Hawkeye thorn Martinez, who would miss the next 3 games.  

Nebraska then welcomed South Dakota State, and won, 59-20.  

Then a 39-19 win over the hapless Illini and a  44-7 win over hopeless Purdue had the Huskers off to a 2-0 Big Ten start.  

A trip to the Twin Cities was up next, and Martinez returned from his toe injury, but probably wished he hadn’t, as the Rodents beat up the Huskers 34-23, their first win over Nebraska since 1960 (11 games).  Martinez hasn’t played a down since, and is done for the year.  

Then next week - the famous hail Mary to kill the MIldcats.  Armstrong, the freshmen QB who is in the mold of Martinez started, but it was senior QB Kellogg who heaved that ball down field with no time left that was tipped and caught by the Huskers for the 27-24 win.  The Cats haven’t won a game since, 0-7 in the Big Ten.

Next up, a trip to the Big House, and Nebraska scored with just over 2 minuets left to give them the 17-13 win over the Wolverines.  

Nebraska was feeling good then with Michigan State coming to Lincoln with the Legend’s division lead on the line.  But the Spartans picked off 1 pass and recovered 4 Husker fumbles to pull away to a 41-28 win.  

Then last week, a road trip to Happy Valley, and the Huskers struggled to put away the Lions, winning it 23-20 in overtime.  They lost 2 more fumbles in that game, giving them a staggering 6 the last 8 quarters.  

And now Iowa comes calling.

It’s been a back and forth between the back up QBs since Martinez went down for good, but now Armstrong is hurt, so it looks like Kellogg will go the distance Friday.  

At 6’1 and 220, he is not in the mold of his other two QBs.  He is only running to save his life.  When passing, he has completed 64% of his passes for 720 yards, with 5 tds, but only one interception, which the younger QB is more more prone to throw.  7 tds with 7 picks for him.  

So the Hawkeye defense will not have to worry about the running coming from the QB position.  They can focus all their attention on the tailbacks.  And focus, they must.

Junior Abdullah, 231 carries for 1483 yards - 6.4 yards per carry, with 7 rushing tds.  He has also caught 24 passes for 209 yards with 2 tds.  He is marked man number 1.

Sophomore Cross has 81 carries for 438 yards, with 10 rushing tds.  To date, the Hawks have given up just 4 rushing tds on the season.  

And this will be the first game the Huskers will be going with a pocket passer alone, so it’s going to be new to them to not have a QB who can escape pressure and pick up chucks of yardage.  Or in the case of Martinez, run wild on both escapes and planned runs.  So Iowa can focus on shutting down the running game, and then pinning back their ears and going after the big but slow QB in obvious passing situations.  

Iowa will be able to move the ball, the Huskers give up 161 on the ground and just over 213 yards in the air.  The thunder/lightening effect of Mark and Jordan could be very effective this week.  

And Jake has been running more play action fakes, and finding new comfort in the likes of Mr Smith, so look for the Iowa passing game to have it’s best game of the season Saturday.  Over 300 yards, as Iowa tops 500 total.

The Hawkeye defense, fueled by their dismantling of the Michigan offense will welcome the prospects of a pro style QB handing off to traditional tailbacks.  That QB is only playing because the two running QBs are out.  Iowa is going to mess with his head.  

Saturday’s forecast for Lincoln is 52 degrees with light winds.  There will be no distractions for the Hawkeyes, who can place themselves alone in 2nd in the Legends division behind the Spartans with a win.  

Iowa rushes for 225 and holds Nebraska to 60% of their average, and the Iowa defense forces 4 turnovers, as the Hawks again pull away in the second, and serve notice that were are going to be a handful in our bowl game - and in the mix to win the Big Ten West in 2014.

Iowa 34, Nebraska 20.

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