Friday, November 24, 2017

Black Friday: Iowa at Nebraska

Iowa has two trophies in the trophy case. There is one more to hold onto in 2017, as the Hawkeyes face the Nebraska Cornhuskers later today.

Iowa has won 3 of 4 in the Black Friday showdown, and is 3-3, since Nebraska joined the Big Ten.

Kirk Ferentz is Dean of College Football, while Mike Riley is likely the second coach to end his career following a game with Iowa.

Iowa has 18 seniors to Nebraska's 22 seniors on the Huskers' Senior Day today in Lincoln. In 2014, many of those players witnessed Bo Pelini's final days at Nebraska.

Now, it appears to be Tom Riley's swan song. It was a 37-34 OT win in 2014, when Pelini went out. That win for the Huskers was in Iowa City.

Today, the Hawkeyes and Huskers square off for the Heroes Game Trophy with a 3 p.m. game on FS1.

The Hawkeyes have scored 10, 10 and 14 points on each of the three B1G road losses on the season. The Hawkeyes lone road win came in Ames, with the Cy-Hawk Trophy, in a 44-41 OT win.

How the offense has sputtered, since September, on the road for the Hawkeyes. In the Wisconsin loss, both touchdowns were on Pick 6 interceptions.

Nebraska has lost four home games this season in Lincoln, with the 21-17 non-conference loss to Northern Illinois kicking it off, then losses to Wisconsin, Ohio State and Northwestern in B1G play.

Both Iowa and Nebraska lost to Northwestern in OT in 2017. Both teams gave up 38 points to Wisconsin in losses.

The only major outlier was against Ohio State. Both teams hosted Urban Meyer's team at home this season.

The Huskers fell hard to the Buckeyes 56-14 at home, while weeks later, the Hawkeyes scored the largest win in series history, with a 55-24 win over Ohio State.

That's football for the Iowa Hawkeyes. 48 offensive points one week, then zero offensive points the next.

The biggest win for the Nebraska Cornhuskers this season was also on a Friday, in a night game in Champaign, when the Huskers beat Illinois 28-6.

Like the Iowa-Iowa State game, this game has potential for a shootout, like the game in Iowa City in 2014 that ended the Pelini era.

This also could be a one sided game, based on the play of each team.

Special teams have been big for the Huskers and Hawkeyes. That can be good and bad. In 2014, the comeback win was fueled by special teams for the Huskers. For the Hawkeyes in 2017, special teams has been inconsistent and last week against Purdue, a huge difference in leading to a Senior Day loss for the Hawkeyes.

Special teams ... the good, the bad and the ugly as the past four seasons offer some intrigue today!

Do the offenses get on track today?What about the defenses?

Iowa's run game vs. Nebraska's run defense?How dialed in will the coaching staffs be on Black Friday?

Iowa 34, Nebraska 30 suggests a tight game.

The Hawkeyes won in Lincoln in 2013, after not winning in the series, since 1981.   Iowa was lead by three senior starters at linebacker, just like 2017.

Iowa has won big before in this B1G series. Unlike the Fry and early Ferentz eras, before Nebraska joined the Big Ten, this series hasn't been dominated by the Huskers.

We shall see how it plays out with a 3 p.m. game from Lincoln.

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