Iowa vs. Nebraska, 11.26

Nebraska's Austin Allen (11) tries to hold off Iowa's Kaevon Merriweather (26) before being pushed out of bounds in the fourth quarter Friday at Memorial Stadium.

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Following Iowa's 28-21 win against Nebraska on Friday, Steven M. Sipple and Parker Gabriel went live on Facebook to discuss the game and take your questions.

Nebraska football writer Parker Gabriel offers his extra points from the Husker football team's 28-21 loss to Iowa on Friday at Memorial Stadium.

It was over when: Freshman quarterback Logan Smothers and senior wide receiver Levi Falck weren’t on the same page on second-and-10 with less than a minute remaining at the Iowa 28-yard line. Falck stopped his route — head coach Scott Frost said he had that option and indicated Falck made the correct choice — but Smothers threw the ball to the post and it was intercepted. Ballgame.

Turning point: Very few have been as obvious as this one this year. Leading by 12 points in the first minute of the fourth quarter, Nebraska had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown. It’s just the kind of backbreaking error the Huskers have made at critical junctures in close games this year and just the kind of play Iowa makes regularly. The Huskers still led 21-16, but Frost said, “That was the game.”

Quotable: Frost on Senior Day:

"Today was some guys' last game and I can't tell you how much I love and appreciate Deontai (Williams) and JoJo (Domann) and Marquel (Dismuke) and all the other guys. I don't want to list them all. For everything that we've been through this year as a team, 99% of teams would have folded and quit. There's no quit in these guys. Life teaches you lessons. Sometimes you get the breaks and sometimes it teaches you tough lessons. I appreciate the fight in those guys and the commitment they've had and nobody can say that group ever shut it down." 

Game ball: Iowa special teams coordinator LeVar Woods. His unit scored the tide-turning touchdown and also featured kicker Caleb Shudak, who made all four of his field-goal attempts. Will Frost decide to hire a full-time special teams coordinator this offseason?

Game ball: Hawkeye linebacker Jack Campbell. He was credited with 16 tackles and showed why he’s considered one of the best in the Big Ten. Consider this: NU only ran 64 plays, which means Campbell was in on a tackle on 25% of the Huskers’ plays.

Hat tip: Smothers wasn’t perfect, but he got the Huskers going early on and played really well for the first three quarters of the game. Smothers finished 16-of-22 for 198 yards and earned 64 tough ones on the ground, including a pair of short scoring runs, over a game-high 24 carries. He’d like to have the two botched exchanges — and, of course, the interception — back, but it’s a good jumping-off point for him going into the offseason.

Deep connection: The longest pass of the day was from Smothers to junior Omar Manning for 40 yards that set up a touchdown at the end of a 94-yard scoring drive in the third quarter. That drive tied for the longest this season with a march against Purdue.

Manning, in his first extensive playing time, finished 2021 with 26 catches for 380 yards (third-best on the team) and a pair of touchdowns. He can be a key cog on the 2022 team.

Numbers for the road

0: Nebraska’s scoring differential in Big Ten play this year. The Huskers scored 239 points, allowed 239 points and lost eight of nine games.

3: Placekickers that logged perfect 4-of-4 days kicking field goals at Memorial Stadium this year. Michigan’s Jake Moody did it Oct. 9, Ohio State’s Noah Ruggles did it Nov. 6 and Iowa’s Shudak did it Friday.

3: Field goals made, in eight attempts, by Nebraska in seven games this year at Memorial Stadium.

4.15: Yards per rush allowed by Nebraska overall this season. In the final two weeks, NU gave up 438 yards to Wisconsin and Iowa at a clip of 6.4 per carry.

43: Nonoffensive points allowed by Nebraska in 2021, including nine (blocked punt return TD plus a safety) against Iowa on Friday. NU this year allowed three safeties, a blocked PAT return, a blocked punt return touchdown, a kick return touchdown, a punt return touchdown, a pick six and a fumble return touchdown.

5: Division losses for the Huskers in 2021. They only beat Northwestern.

15: Consecutive losses for NU to Wisconsin and Iowa combined. The Hawkeyes won their seventh straight over the Huskers on Friday.

 

This article originally ran on journalstar.com.

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