Iowa shoots for 6th straight win in rivalry vs. Nebraska
Reeling from a lopsided home loss and bracing for a rivalry game against a foe who’s had the upper hand for five straight seasons, Nebraska can anticipate what’s coming against the Hawkeyes in Iowa City on Friday.
“They’re going to try and run it down our throats,” Nebraska linebacker JoJo Domann said. “They’re going to try to out-physical us in all three phases of the game. They’re going to try to punch (us) in the mouth and then keep us down. And we’re going to be trying to do the same thing.
“So not being discouraged if they get us or if we get them. Just staying level-headed and playing four quarters of good football.”
Nebraska (1-3 overall, Big Ten) yielded 285 rushing yards in Saturday’s 41-23 loss to Illinois.
While Iowa (3-2, 3-2) has pushed for offensive balance this season — the Hawkeyes gained 186 yards through the air compared with 175 on the ground in Saturday’s 41-21 win at Penn State — the Cornhuskers figure to prepare for a steady dose of Iowa’s Mekhi Sargent and Tyler Goodson.
Sargent secured his first 100-yard game of the season at Happy Valley, rushing 15 times for 101 yards and two touchdowns, while Goodson gained 78 yards on 20 carries. The Hawkeyes have outscored opponents by 90 points during their three-game winning streak while running for 636 yards.
“The Big Ten is a run-first league,” Domann said. “We’ve got some of the biggest offensive linemen, biggest tight ends, big fullbacks and talented running backs across the whole league. So, you’ve got to be sound in your run fits. You’ve got to play more physical than them on defense, and you’ve got to get them out of your game plan, what they want to do to you.”
Nebraska leads the all-time series 29-18-3. The Hawkeyes edged the Cornhuskers 27-24 last season.
To keep things close again this time around, Nebraska realizes it will be paramount to protect the ball against an Iowa defense that forced four turnovers while collecting five sacks and 10 tackles for loss at Penn State.
Iowa scored 24 points off turnovers and benefited from a pair of interceptions from defensive linemen.
“Our guys are doing a good job on takeaways, and I don’t know if there’s a special reason for it other than they are playing hard and they’re doing a good job of film study and being where they should be and then being sound fundamentally,” Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz said.
Nebraska turned the ball over on its first play from scrimmage against Illinois en route to a five-turnover day. Redshirt freshman quarterback Luke McCaffrey was 15-for-26 passing for 134 yards and three interceptions while rushing 26 times for 122 yards and two scores.
Cornhuskers coach Scott Frost said Monday he hasn’t committed to a starter for Friday’s game. Adrian Martinez threw for a late touchdown in relief of McCaffrey.
“I feel good about both of them,” Frost said. “We just need to keep coaching as well as we can, so we get the best that we can out of them.”
–Field Level Media