Washington State quarterback Luke Falk, left, gets up after being sacked by linebacker Keishawn Bierria, right, in the first half of an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, in Pullman, Wash. The offensive line struggled to pass protect and open holes for the running game, and the defense blew far too many assignments and gave up too many explosive plays.
With Iowa’s win over Nebraska on Friday, the Badgers have officially clinched a berth in next weekend’s Big Ten Championship game, winning the Big Ten West.
Nebraska (9-3, 6-3) responded in the second quarter with a 10-play scoring drive that ended with kicker Drew Brown connecting on a 35-yard field goal. Nebraska brings a 9-2 record to the contest with a 6-2 mark in the Big Ten.
Iowa defensive tackle Faith Ekakitie says a Nebraska lineman used racial slurs against him during today’s game.
The big question for the Huskers is who will play quarterback. Ferentz doesn’t think Nebraska-Iowa can be categorized as a rivalry just yet, but it’s growing.
Iowa marched down the field early in the fourth quarter to make it a three-possession game, sealing the win on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Beathard to tight end George Kittle. A five-point run on P Tapp’s service rotation and a kill from Hart tied up the set at 15, and H Tapp evened the score at 18 and 19.
The Hawkeyes established the run with 264 yards. Beathard said it was Iowa’s best game of the year. However, as of late, that combination hasn’t been as dynamic or game-breaking as it was when the season first started out. “That’s where the big plays came from”.
“When we were up 23-20 in the third, I’m sure we all thought we were going to close that one out, but it’s just a lesson for next time that you got to finish”, Rolfzen said.
“I just felt like we were a little tentative at times, and we didn’t serve tough enough”, Cook said.
It was cold, Nebraska was exhausted, and it pretty much quit. If for some reason he can’t play against Iowa, Husker fans likely won’t see the doomsday scenario many had been imagining since the week started. Iowa’s win gave the division crown to Wisconsin, which will head to the conference championship game in Indianapolis regardless of the outcome of the battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe on Saturday in Madison. Ferentz recalled that his first game as an Iowa assistant coach, in 1981, was a 10-7 Hawkeyes win.
The Huskers (26-2, 17-2 Big Ten) are now tied with Wisconsin for first place in the Big Ten standings and still control their own destiny. MI clinches the East with a win over Ohio State. The favored Nittany Lions need to beat Michigan State at home and hope favored Ohio State beats Michigan on Saturday. MI needs to upset the hated Buckeyes.
Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard has only thrown for 146 yards and one touchdown in the last two games, but the Hawkeyes have won both games.
Last Saturday, they were heavily favored to win at IL.
NOTES: Iowa senior RB LeShun Daniels Jr. went over 1,000 yards rushing for the season, making him the first Hawkeyes running back to do so since Marcus Coker in 2011.
Nebraska won the first two sets, 25-21, 25-22. Iowa, which reached as high as 13th earlier this year, could sneak back after beating the Huskers and MI in November.
Nebraska’s rush defense is decent, ranking fifth in the Big Ten at 129.8 yards a game. Aside from better bowl game positioning, they can move to 8-4 and that looks much more respectable than what the outlook once was.