LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Nebraska are looking for a happy ending to a disappointing season. And nothing would do …
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Nebraska are looking for a happy ending to a disappointing season. And nothing would make the Cornhuskers happier than beating No. 17 in Iowa on Friday to end a six-game losing streak in the border game.
The rememberers (3-8, 1-7 Big Ten) might as well consider this as their bowl. This is their last fight; they will be home for the holidays for the fifth year in a row.
Iowa (9-2, 6-2) has more at stake. A win keeps the Hawkeyes alive one more day in the Big Ten West race. A loss means Wisconsin No. 18 wins the division regardless of the outcome of its match Saturday in Minnesota.
“We control half of the equation,” said Iowa tight-end Sam LaPorta. “We have to win on Friday and then sit back and watch Minnesota-Wisconsin.”
There is no reason for Iowa to believe this will be easy. The Huskers’ eight losses total 49 points, and seven of them have come in matches with one score. The second loss, to Ohio State, was by nine points.
“It seems like every year they have guys who are hard to defend and hard to block,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “For whatever reason they’ve played so many close matches. It’s hard. We’ve been there. There’s nothing fun about them.”
The Huskers will be without fourth-year starting quarterback Adrian Martinez, who injured his shoulder last week against Wisconsin. Redshirt freshman Logan Smothers will make his first start.
“He’s really sharp,” Nebraska coach Scott Frost said. “He is not the fresh boy who will be surprised by a lot of things or pressure or different looks. He is really smart and knows our offensive and can operate it. We will give him the ball and let him do it.”
The teams have been playing for the Heroes Trophy since the Huskers joined the Big Ten in 2011. Iowa has won seven of the last 10 meetings.
Tensions have risen over the past two years. In 2019, Keith Duncan blew kisses against the Nebraska sideline after scoring the battle-winning field goal with one second left. Last year, Frost complained at his post-game press conference that the clap came from the Iowa sideline, ruining his team’s snap count, leaving Ferentz clearly annoyed when he told about it.
Nebraska defensive lineman Ben Stille said there is always a little “extra juice” to the Iowa game.
“You can just feel it,” he said. “You’re lying if you do not feel it.”
BLACK FRIDAY TRADITION
Nebraska is playing the day after Thanksgiving for the 32nd year in a row. The Memorials play against Iowa for the 11th year in a row on Black Friday. Before that, they played Colorado 15 times and Oklahoma six times.
Tyler Goodson needs 55 yards to become Iowa’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Akrum Wadley in 2016.
“That’s one of my goals,” Goodson said. “It’s been one of my goals since I entered campus. To be honest, it’s been my goal since high school. But I do not go to the game and think I need a thousand yards. I focus on what I have to do to help us win. “
ANOTHER RANKED ENEMY
The Huskers play a third straight-ranked opponent in the regular season for the first time since 1968. Nebraska have lost 17 in a row against Top 25 opponents, the last 12 under Frost.
ALLENS TAIL SONG
Tight-end Austin Allen announced that this will be his last fight with Nebraska. He could have spent the extra year of eligibility that the NCAA allows due to the pandemic and returned for a sixth year.
Allen has 547 receiving yards and needs 14 to break Nebraska’s tight-end season record of 560 set by Junior Miller in 1978.
Iowa has won 21 of its last 26 trophy matches (Iowa State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin), including two of three this season. Nebraska has lost its last 13 trophy games (Iowa and Wisconsin) and is 3-14 in those games since joining the Big Ten.
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