Saturday, November 30, 2013

Rivalry Saturday with Ohio State - Michigan; while basketball enjoys a good Thanksgiving

Michigan-Ohio State tied at the half on ABC ...
Ann Arbor, MI -- The Ohio State-Michigan rivalry is tied 21-21 at the half in the Big House in Ann Arbor.  Does rival Michigan knock out coach Urban Meyer, and the Buckeyes, out of the BCS title game race and win streak?  The Buckeyes are going for 24 wins in a row, under Meyer, including 15 straight in the Big Ten.

Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst's statement on Coach Pelini's job status ...

Lincoln, NE -- "My approach has always been to not comment publicly about our coaches until their full seasons are complete, as I strongly believe it is unfair and counter to best practices.  However, given the volume of unfounded speculation and conjecture about our head football coach, I want to reaffirm what I have said many times since I have arrived at the University of Nebraska -- that I positively respect, appreciate and support our football student-athletes, coaches and staff, as we do everyone in the Husker family.  We very much look forward to our upcoming bowl game and Coach Pelini continuing to lead our program in the future." - Nebraska AD

Arizona wins 72-66 in Pre-Season NIT over Duke on hardwood on Friday ...
NEW YORK – Does anyone wonder if the Arizona Wildcats can eventually turn into Final Four contenders now? More
Creighton falls on Friday night in The Wooden Legacy to San Diego State 86-80 ... 

Fullerton, CA -- Creighton (5-1) will play for third-place in a 5:30 pm Central contest against George Washington (5-1) on Sunday in a game that will air on ESPNU. More

Iowa advances to Finals on Friday night to face Villanova in the Battle 4 Atlantis

MBB_rising_201314Paradise Island, Bahamas --* Iowa will play Villanova for the Battle 4 Atlantis championship Saturday at approximately 8:30 p.m. The game will be televised on NBC Sports Network on DirecTV 220. More

Black Friday Challenge Answered
LINCOLN, Neb. -- The challenge was issued on Black Friday in 2012. In University of Iowa football terms, it was a dim moment that Nov. 23 day as the Hawkeyes limped out of Kinnick Stadium with a 13-7 loss to Nebraska and a record of 4-8.

"This is significant," Iowa linebackers coach LeVar Woods said, 371 days later. "A year ago they challenged themselves and we challenged them to move forward."

University of Iowa linebackers Anthony Hitchens and Christian Kirksey jar the football loose from Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah on Nov. 29 in Lincoln, Neb.
University of Iowa linebackers
Anthony Hitchens and Christian Kirksey
jar the football loose from Nebraska
running back Ameer Abdullah
on Nov. 29 in Lincoln, Neb.
This is in reference to the entire Hawkeye team, but specifically the senior linebackers. They are the best group of linebackers assistant Jim Reid has been around in 41 years of coaching. They combined for 28 tackles, seven tackles for loss, three pass breakups, three quarterback hurries, two sacks, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles on a sunnier Black Friday 2013, as the Hawkeyes thumped an eight-win Nebraska team on its home turf by three touchdowns.

They helped the Iowa  secure second place in the Big Ten Conference Legends Division with a record of 8-4 overall, 5-3 in the league.

"Their effort (at Nebraska) was exactly the same as their effort every single game this year and more importantly, every single practice this year from spring practice on," Reid said. "I'm not sure I have ever been around a more intense, hard-working, focused group as I have been around in James (Morris), Anthony (Hitchens), and Chris (Kirksey). They are remarkable guys."

"Their effort (at Nebraska) was exactly the same as their effort every single game this year and more importantly, every single practice this year from spring practice on. I'm not sure I have ever been around a more intense, hard-working, focused group as I have been around in James (Morris), Anthony (Hitchens), and Chris (Kirksey). They are remarkable guys."
Jim Reid
UI linebackers coach

It was one of those games when head coach Kirk Ferentz's buddy Bill Belichick would have said, "Stats are for losers, the final score is for winners."

In a game that was dominated by the Hawkeyes on Tom Osborne Field, the final statistics showed Nebraska with advantages in first downs (20-14) and total yards (288-281). The final score of 38-17 showed the worst whipping of a Nebraska team on its own soil since Missouri defeated the Cornhuskers 52-17 in 2008.
"It's exciting for us, we just want to help the team win," Morris said. "We want to play well and you can feed off it when all the guys are playing well. Maybe we did a little bit of that today."

First it was Hitchens with an interception and 18-yard return on Nebraska's opening possession.

"As soon as I saw Hitch get an interception I was so excited," Kirksey said. "We always said Hitch was going to get one some time."

For Hitchens, it was the first pick of his career.

Morris followed with his fourth interception of the season (and sixth career) to end Nebraska's second drive.

"Then when James got his, I was like, `OK, it's my turn. I have to get one.'" Kirksey said.

What Kirksey got was the most important turnover of the final quarter. Iowa was leading 24-17 with more than 10 minutes remaining and the Cornhuskers were 60 yards from a tying touchdown. Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah -- with 1,568 rushing yards and eight touchdowns this season -- darted up the middle and veered left before running into a Hitchens road block. Kirksey whizzed in from the side and jarred the ball loose before Hawkeye Louis Trinca-Pasat recovered. Iowa went on to record its first win in Lincoln since 1943.

"Hitch made a great play," said Kirksey, who until post-game interviews thought his teammate forced the fumble. "I was there with him containing the ball carrier."

And knocking the ball free.

"Every minute of every day since last year they worked their butts off to get to where they are now," Woods said. 

"They compete every day in practice to see who can make the most plays and get the most turnovers. It's always great for a defense when your senior leaders are the ones making the plays and showing the way."
They did it in the final regular season game of their final season... on a big stage... against an excellent opponent.
"We wanted to make sure we left it all on the field," Morris said. "I think some of the turnovers were a result of that effort and intensity."

Friday, November 29, 2013

Post Game Notes:Iowa defeats Nebraska 38-17 in Lincoln to capture first Heroes Trophy

2013_Nebraska_insertLincoln, NE -- Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011, so Friday's 38-17 win by Iowa was the first in three attempts in winning the Heroes Trophy in the Big Ten finale to close out the 2013 regular season.

Kirk Ferentz 1, Bo Pelini 2 in the Heroes Game

Iowa (8-4, 5-3) defeated Nebraska (8-4, 5-3) today, 38-17, inside Memorial Stadium. It was Iowa's first win in the series since 1981 (10-7), and its first win in Lincoln since 1943 (33-13).

The win snapped Nebraska's five-game winning streak in the series.

Iowa took possession of the Heroes Trophy for the first time since it was introduced in 2011. Iowa is 3-1 in trophy games this season, currently possessing the Cy-Hawk (Iowa State), Floyd of Rosedale (Minnesota) and Heroes (Nebraska).

Iowa scored 38 points today, the most points Iowa has ever scored in the series. The 21-point differential was Nebraska's largest home loss since falling to Missouri 52-17 in 2008.

The Hawkeyes have eight wins this season, a four-win improvement from a year ago. That improvement ranks fourth in the country. Entering today, Auburn (+7), Boston College (+5) and Missouri (+5) had greater win totals year-over-year.

Iowa has four road wins this season, its highest total since 2009 (4).

Iowa and Nebraska will likely learn about what bowl venue they are headed to on December 8th.

The Iowa defense held Nebraska senior QB
Ron Kellogg III in check most of the game.
Iowa won 38-17 to take home the Heroes Trophy.
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini meet with the Media, after the game.

Nebraska vs. Iowa
Head Coach Bo Pelini
Saturday, Nov. 29, 2013

Opening Statement

“I just told the team that was a tough one to lose. I'm proud of that football team in there. I'm proud of all the things that they overcame through the year. I'm proud of who they are as men. I told the seniors they have a lot to be proud of. It hasn't been an easy year from any stretch of the imagination. It's been difficult. This team had a lot to perservere through, a lot to stick together through. They did that, and I'm proud of them, regardless of how it ended today. It was unfortunate how it ended today. We shot ourselves in the foot a number of times. We had some things go against us. It was unfortunate."

On making similar mistakes to last year
“Those mistakes plague any football team. When you turn the football over, you're going to have some difficulties."

On the failed fake punt in the third quarter?
“We thought it was there. We missed a block. We liked the look they were in and we whipped on a block, the most important block. We took a chance and it didn't work out. It's my fault."

On reasoning for the unsportsmanlike conduct charge
“[The ref] said I got too close to him. I thought that was a chicken s*** call. Excuse my language on that, but I had never seen anything like that before. I've done a lot worse than that. I saw [Iowa head coach] Kirk Ferentz on the other side acting a lot worse than I act. I didn't see a flag come out on him. The bottom line is they knew they blew the call. They blew it. They blew that call over there on that third down. Everybody in the stadium knew it. They just didn't man up enough to pick that flag up."

On how the team has persevered through injuries
“It's been incredible what we've gone through. I told those kids in there who were hurting, 'You don't have to apologize to anybody. You've got to walk out there with your head held high.'"

On a timetable regarding his coaching evaluation
“I don't concern myself with that. You guys can concern yourself with that."

On if he has been informed of any timetable
“That's not my decision, so why are you asking me the question? Talk to somebody else."

On senior wide receiver Quincy Enunwa
“Quincy's been a stud all year. He's been big time."

On fan's support during the tunnel walk
“It's great."

On if he made a case in favor of keeping his job
“I don't coach to make a case. You guys have chosen to make a story of it all year. It's impacted our football team. It's hurt our football team. Let's call a spade a spade. If they want to fire me, go ahead. I believe in what I've done. I don't apologize for what I've done. I don't apologize for anybody, myself or this staff. Our record since I've been here speaks for itself. This program's heading in a good direction. If you choose not to think so, that's your prerogative. All I know is that myself, the staff, the people associated with this program since I've been here can look at themselves in the mirror and feel good about what they've done."

Iowa junior WR Kevonte Martin-Manley scores an Iowa TD
in the 3rd quarter, after a failed Nebraska fake punt.
Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz Quotes

Opening Statement
"Obviously I am really thrilled with our football team right now, I am really proud of them and am happy to get the victory today. It was a hard-fought game against a really good Nebraska football team. Nothing easy about coming over here and playing obviously. I am just really proud of how our guys fought through the entire game and came away with the victory."

On if the game is now a rivalry
".... It is starting, but it is still pretty lopsided---the record is, but this was a good step forward for sure."

On the fake punt, why he took a timeout before
"We wanted to give (the play before) a little time just to make sure the people upstairs had a chance to see it, on top of that we subbed out a little bit, too."

On being named one of the country's top five worst coaches during the preseason
"I mean everyone is entitled to their opinion, that is the great thing about our country. I don't think he went to jail for saying that, so that is just a part of coaching. Fortunately I don't believe I believed it.... well at least in the bottom 10, I wouldn't say the bottom five. But those things are just talk and noise."

On an 8-4 finish to the season
"Just really pleased, that was the best we could do and when we talked during the bye week a couple weeks back, that is all you can do. At that point I believe we were sitting at 6-4, lost a couple of ball games to really good teams. Our focus--as it has been since the end of last November was just to try and improve, working hard, and maximizing our opportunities. That is kind of the formula we have tried to use, the reason why it has materialized is because our players have done the work that they have to do. It is all about our leadership--our seniors and our juniors."

On if there was a magic formula to go 4-8 to 8-4
"No there really isn't. I am certainly not smart enough to think--creative or in genius, so it was just a matter of trying to do things better. We clearly didn't play well enough last year, in critical areas with certain things, our focus was just to try and do things better."

On the difference between last year's team to this year's team
"It is just making every phase count. The out of season program, which you always try to find positives--we had a longer one since we didnt have bowl practices. We lost out on a lot of good practice time, which is a downside, but our guys practiced really well in the spring. Sometimes you look at guys who play and had success without working as hard, but the good news today is that I think we are a better football team now then when we were in August, and that is what it is all about, getting better."

On special teams play
"Our kicking game was really a help for us. Connor did a good job with the punts. That helped us with field posistion. I dont mind telling you guys, I was more than a little bit worried about our kickoff coverage with number 80 (Kenny Bell). He is very dangerous and had one last week that went the distance. I thought we covered kicks better than we have done all season, which is really good to see. I can't say enough about how Rudock played, he played a really good game and made some really nice throws, helped us win the game."

More Basketball tonight with Iowa and Creighton, after Iowa's historic win at Nebraska 38-17 in Lincoln

Creighton meets San Diego State tonight, while Iowa faces UTEP on the hardwood!

  • The #23 Iowa Hawkeyes (6-0) will face UTEP Miners (4-2) Saturday at 6 p.m. (CT). The game can be seen live on the NBC Sports Network (DirecTV 220) from NASSAU, Bahamas 
  • #20 Creighton (5-0) continues a stretch of four games in six days when it takes on San Diego State (3-1) on Friday at 8:30 pm Central in championship bracket action at the Wooden Legacy from Fullerton, CA.

Hawkeyes Down Nebraska, 38-17

Lincoln, NE -- Make room for the Heroes Trophy in Iowa City.

The Iowa football team downed Nebraska, 38-17, in the Hy-Vee Heroes Game to take possession of the Heroes Trophy for the first time in program history. The victory is the Hawkeyes' first win over the Huskers since 1981 and first in Lincoln since 1943.

The Hawkeyes finished with 281 yards of total offense, rushing for 155 yards on 44 carries and 126 through the air. Nebraska gained 288 yards (89 on the ground and 199 passing). Iowa forced the Huskers into three turnovers that led to 14 points. Senior Christian Kirksey paced Iowa with 11 tackles, including a sack, while seniors Tanner Miller and James Morris had 10 tackles apiece.

Rudock completed 9-of-15 attempts for 126 yards and two touchdowns before leaving in the third quarter with a leg injury. Running backs Mark Weisman and Jordan Canzeri combined for 131 yards and two touchdowns. 

Weisman had 72 yards on 24 carries with two scores, while Canzeri had 59 yards on just six attempts. Senior tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz had three catches for 23 yards and a score.
Ron Kellogg III completed 19-of-37 attempts for 199 yards and a touchdown, but was picked off twice. Running back Ameer Abdullah rushed for 85 yards on 23 carries -- nearly 49 yards below his season average. Kenny Bell made seven catches for 67 yards.


 Stat Comparisons
 First Downs1420
 Rushing Att.-Yds44-15537-89
 Passing Yds126199
 Passing (C-A-I)9-17-219-37-2
 Total Offense61-28174-288
 Time of Possession30:5929:01
 3rd-Down Conversions6-of-153-of-14
 4th-Down Conversions0-of-11-of-3

 Iowa Statistical Leaders
 Jake Rudock9151262
 Mark Weisman24723.02
 C.J. Fiedorowicz3237.71
 Christian Kirksey4-71110

 Nebraska Statistical Leaders
 Ron Kellogg III19371991
 Ameer Abdullah23853.71
 Kenny Bell7679.60
 Michael Rose7-91600
After trailing 14-3 at the break, Nebraska looked like different team coming out of the locker room, moving 75 yards over 11 plays. Abdullah opened the series with three rushes for 19 yards to the 44 before Kellogg III found Bell underneath for 12 yards into Iowa territory.

The Huskers moved into the red zone via consecutive completions of 10 and 13 yards to the 16 before Abdullah scored four plays later on a 5-yard run up the middle, making the score 14-10. Nebraska gained 58 yards its first five possessions; the Huskers had 134 yards on their final drive of first half and first drive of second half.

With the momentum on Nebraska's side, the Hawkeyes used an eight-play, 70-yard drive to provide an answer. On third-and-3 from its own 24, Rudock had all day in the pocket before connected with junior Kevonte Martin-Manley for a 36-yard gain to the Nebraska 40.

Two plays later Iowa gained 27 yards via a pair of Husker penalties. The first was a 12-yard pass interference call and second was a 15-yard un-sportsmanship penalty on Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini. After a pair of Weisman rushes to the 13, Iowa missed a golden opportunity when Martin-Manley dropped a touchdown pass in the end zone, forcing the Hawkeyes to settle on Mike Meyer's 31-yard field goal to make the score 17-10.

UI head coach Kirk Ferentz led the Hawkeyes a 38-17 win at Nebraska -- the first win in Lincoln since 1943.
Iowa head coach
 Kirk Ferentz led the
Hawkeyes a 38-17 win
 at Nebraska -- the first win
 in Lincoln since 1943.
Iowa's took advantage of a Pelini gamble to push the lead to 24-10. On fourth-and-3 from its own 32, Nebraska punter Sam Foltz was stopped for an 8-yard loss on a fake punt. On the first Iowa play offensively, Rudock connected with a diving Martin-Manley for a 24-yard touchdown pass. It was Martin-Manley's fourth touchdown catch on the year.

Nebraska used a 10-play, 71 yard drive to cut the lead to 24-17 on its first drive of the fourth quarter. On fourth-and-3 from the Iowa 15, Kellogg III connected with Quincy Enunwa for a 15-yard touchdown reception.

After a three-and-out by the Iowa offense, the Hawkeye defense set up forced its third turnover. Abdullah rushed up the middle where he was sandwiched by senior linebackersAnthony Hitchens and Kirksey. Kirksey knocked the ball out from the back side of the play where junior Louis Trinca-Pasat recovered at the 39.

Canzeri burst for a 37-yard gain on a zone read play down to the Nebraska 2. On the next play, Weisman scored his second touchdown of the game to give the Hawkeyes a 31-17 lead with 9:17 remaining.

Iowa scored its final touchdown with a five-play, 27 yard drive after Nebraska turned over on downs. The Hawkeyes ran on all five plays before redshirt freshman C.J. Beathardscored on a naked boot leg to push the Iowa lead to 38-17.

Iowa's defense forced turnovers on the first two Nebraska drives, but came away empty-handed. The Huskers used a flea-flicker on the first play of the game for a 25-yard gain to the 40, and two plays later Kellogg III had a 12-yard completion to Enunwa to move into Iowa territory.

The Huskers had a 32-yard completion to Taariq Allen negated when the wide receiver was called for illegal touching. On the next play, Hitchens intercepted a pass intended for Brandon Reilly and returned the pick 18 yards to the Nebraska 44.

Iowa moved the ball 20 yards down to the 24 yard line via five rushes, but the drive was thwarted when Weisman was stopped on fourth-and-1.

On the second play of the ensuing Nebraska drive, Iowa's defense struck again when Kellogg III's attempt was intercepted Morris, giving the Hawkeyes a first-and-10 from the 25. Iowa capitalized on the short field, moving the 25 yards over seven plays to take a 7-0 lead.

Canzeri started the drive with a 10-yard burst up the middle on his first carry of the game, and senior Don Shumpert snagged a third-and-4 pass attempt to give Iowa a first-and-goal from the 4. After consecutive 3-yard losses, Rudock connected with Fiedorowicz on a diving 10-yard touchdown catch. It was Fiedorowicz's sixth touchdown reception this season, five of which have come on third down.

Sophomore punter Connor Kornbrath helped swing the field position with back-to-back punts to the 1 and 3 yard line. Iowa came away empty-handed after taking over at the Nebraska 39, but on its next drive, the Hawkeyes scored via a three-play, 41-yard drive.

Rudock opened the series with a 29-yard completion to Canzeri out of the backfield down to the 12 yard line. On the next carry, Weisman broke three tackles en route to gaining 11 yards in a play that was initially ruled a touchdown. After calling the play dead at the half yard line, Weisman burst off left tackle untouched to give Iowa a 14-0 advantage.

Nebraska sustained its only first half drive on the next series, moving 59 yards over 11 plays. Kellogg III found tight end Jake Long wide open on the Iowa sideline for 18 yards to the Iowa 33 and Imani Cross for 14 yards on the next play into the red zone. The Hawkeyes buckled down, forcing the Huskers to settle for Pat Smith's 33-yard field goal, making the score 14-3 with 31 seconds to play in the first half.

Iowa (8-4, 5-3) now awaits its bowl fate when the official announcement comes Dec. 8.

Iowa leads 14-3 at half over Nebraska in Lincoln

Lincoln, NE -- The Iowa Hawkeyes take a 14-3 lead into halftime at Nebraska. The Hawkeyes capitalised on one of two Ron Kellogg III interceptions and positive field position throughout the first half.

Iowa scored two red zone touchdowns, when quarterback Jake Rudock hit C.J. Fiedorowicz for a touchdown on third down. Later in the second quarter, Iowa's Mark Weisman scored on a one yard run.

Nebraska scored a 33 yard field goal on their last series of the first half to make it 14-3.

Iowa is winning the game basically controlling all the keys of the game. Nebraska is struggling vs. Iowa, with a couple of miscues and two turnovers. Kellogg appeared to finally settle down on the last series.

It's a 60 minute game and Nebraska will have the option to take the ball to open the second half.

Iowa hasn't won in Lincoln, since November of 1943, when Iowa won 33-13.

Game Day: Iowa @ Nebraska on Black Friday for the Heroes Game

Lincoln, NE -- It's Rivalry Week, but since Iowa hasn't beat Nebraska in 32 years or 70 years, if you want to talk about beating Nebraska in Lincoln.  Do we have a rivalry yet, as the Iowa Hawkeyes (7-4, 4-3 B1G Legends) travel to the Nebraska Cornhuskers for a 11:06 kickoff in Memorial Stadium on a nationwide audience on ABC.
The Hawkeyes are seeking win number 10 in a series that has only been played eight times, since the 1979 season. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz is 0-2 in Lincoln and 0-2, as the series has become an annual Big Ten conference game. So, will the old saying be true: three's a charm today?

Iowa has been held to 14 points or less in the last seven meetings with Nebraska, so offense will be important, since the Hawkeyes defense ranks well.

The Hawkeyes are led by one of the nation’s top defenses. Iowa is allowing only 18.9 points per game, ranking 13th nationally in scoring defense. In 11 games, the Hawkeyes have allowed only 20 first-quarter points. Iowa is outscoring its opponents 167-75 in the first half, but has been outscored 133-123 in the second half and overtime, including a 78-54 fourth quarter. Iowa reversed those trends last week against Michigan, trailing 21-7 at the half before rallying for a 24-21 win.

Iowa will need to continue run-pass success to beat Huskers in Heroes Game III

Tevaun Smith caught five passes for 97 yards in Iowa's 24-21 win over Michigan last week.
Tevaun Smith caught five passes
 for 97 yards in
Iowa's 24-21 win over
Michigan last week.

Iowa's offensive coordinator has found enough offense in his arsenal to put the Hawkeyes in jockeying position for a January bowl game. Iowa has won 3-of-4 heading into Friday's game at Nebraska, piling up 737 yards on the ground and 778 through the air over the last four weeks.

The run-pass balance has not come by accident, and the Hawkeyes will need more of the same to be successful tomorrow.

"Nebraska is very athletic," said Davis. "They've played with some young guys this year but they're very athletic and they're very good in the secondary. We'll have to be balanced. We'll have to run the ball and be able to throw the ball to be successful against them."

Running the ball has been Iowa's offensive staple. The Hawkeyes average 243.7 yards rushing in their seven wins, including 191 yards in a come-from-behind win over Michigan last week. That effort was nice, but Davis credits the defense for giving the offense a chance, and a pass-play for giving the offense a boost.

"The defense did a great job in the second half to let the offense get back on the field," said Davis. "We did kind of hit our stride and played well in the second half.
"Tevaun (Smith) got us jump started in the third quarter. Jake (Rudock) caught them in a situation where he felt like he knew what they were going to do and he caught Tevaun on a huge slant and he took it to the house. That kind of got the team understanding there are plays to be made."

Smith caught five passes against the Wolverines for a career best 97 yards. His effort may take some defensive attention away from Kevonte Martin-Manley, Iowa's leading receiver, and C.J. Fiedorowicz, one of the Hawkeyes' many play-making tight ends.

"We went into the season realizing that the tight ends were going to be a big part and they continue to be, but I also think the receivers have stepped up," said Davis.

The more people that step up, the more tools for Rudock, who is in line for his fourth road win of the season. No Iowa quarterback has won four road games in a season since Ricky Stanzi in 2009.

"Jake continues to improve," said Davis. "He's an extremely bright guy and you can tell watching us that we put a lot on the quarterback both in the run game and the pass game. He gets more comfortable each week and he's one of those guys that you can't shake."

Nebraska says good-bye to 23 seniors at Memorial Stadium on Blackshirt Friday

Nebraska offensive Coordinator Tim Beck addressed the media after practice on Tuesday, focusing on the 23 seniors who will play their last game today in Memorial Stadium.

Nebraska coach Tim Beck
is in his third season
as offensive coordinator,
fifth season overall.

According to Beck, saying goodbye to the seniors will be difficult, but the emotions won’t linger too long after the kickoff. After all, there’s still a rivalry game to be played.

“These games are always emotional,” Beck said. “Once the game gets started, though, I don’t know how much that emotion still plays in. When you’re beating on a guy and he’s beating on you, I don’t think you’re too worried about all that other stuff.”

“It’s been an honor being able to be around these guys,” Beck said. “I’ve had the chance to watch them grow up as young men and persevere through a lot of tough times. They've had a lot of hard-fought games, and I’m proud of them for the work they've put in together.”

One senior Beck especially admires for his performance and leadership this season is wide receiver Quincy Enunwa. The team captain has 44 catches for 578 yards and nine touchdowns this season, including a 27-yard touchdown at Penn State on Saturday. According to Beck, Enunwa’s great work ethic has been the key to his success.

“The work that (Quincy Enunwa) has put in has shown up on the field,” Beck said. “He’s a great example of the fact that if you’re humble and work hard every day, you’re time will come. You’re going to get you’re moment, and he’s had it.”

The biggest concern for Enunwa this season has been the health of his quarterbacks. With fellow senior Taylor Martinez out due to injury and freshman Tommy Armstrong limited in practice again on Tuesday, the Huskers will most likely turn to senior Ron Kellogg III against the Hawkeyes. However, Beck mentioned that in the case of another injury, he’s confident in redshirt freshman Ryker Fyfe’s ability to step in and lead the team.

“(Ryker Fyfe) throws the ball very well, he can run and he’s tough,” Beck said. “He’s very instinctive. Sometimes he might throw to the wrong guy, but he makes up for it with a great pass. If we have to go to him, we’ll hang on and go.”

Nebraska's offense has resembled a M*A*S*H unit at times with mounting injuries throughout the 2013 season. Bo Pelini has won nine or more games in each of the five previous seasons, as head coach. A win against Iowa will make that six straight. The speculation on his future as Nebraska's head coach will have to wait, until after the Heroes Game.

The strength of both teams is defense. Iowa has more experience lead by three senior linebackers and two other senior starters in the back 7. Nebraska entered the season, with only four starters back in their defensive unit.

Nebraska has owned the series at 28-12-3. The Cornhuskers have won five straight in the series dating back to 1982, including each of the first two meetings as Big Ten Conference foes. 

Keys to the game:
  • Field possession is always important
  • How well one battles in the trenches: controlling the line of scrimmage
  • Special teams 
  • Turnovers
  • Miscues and penalties, staying ahead in down and distance
Today's winner will own sole possession of second place in the Legends Division. An Outback Bowl could be one of the prizes, with a win today in Memorial Stadium. The Big Ten hopes to have two conference teams (Ohio State, Michigan State or Wisconsin) play in a BCS bowl in 2013.

Our Pick:
Iowa 23, Nebraska 20
The Hawkeyes last won 70 years ago in Lincoln, it was in November, as well.

Creighton advances in The Wooden Legacy with opening round win; while Iowa wins in Battle 4 Atlantis on Thanksgiving
FULLERTON, Calif. -- Devin Brooks had 23 points off the bench and Doug McDermott added 27 as No. 20/18 Creighton routed previously unbeaten Arizona State by an 88-60 score to open play at the DirecTV Wooden Legacy on Thursday night.

Creighton improved to 5-0, while Arizona State fell to 6-1. Creighton advances to play San Diego State on Friday at 8:30 pm Central in a winner's bracket game. The Aztecs defeated College of Charleston, 72-52, earlier in the day.

Iowa Rallies Past Xavier in OT

NASSAU, Bahamas -- It's not about how you start, but how you finish. The University of Iowa men's basketball team overcame a 15-point second half deficit to down Xavier, 77-74, in overtime in its first game in the Battle 4 Atlantis.

MBB_rising_201314"With the team we have out there, we're so deep and versatile, we're in any game, whether we're down 20 at home or down 10," said junior Gabriel Olaseni. "We always have the ability to come back because we have so many guys and coach trusts us.

"We always thought we could win this game."

Senior Roy Devyn Marble scored 30 points to lead Iowa to a 77-74 overtime victory over Xavier.
Senior Roy Devyn Marble
 scored 30 points to lead
 Iowa to a 77-74 overtime victory over Xavier.
After ending regulation tied at 69, the Hawkeyes took their first lead via a pair of Olaseni free throws. The Muskateers knotted the game at 73 on a fast-break layup by Justin Martin with 2:21 remaining, but sophomore Mike Gesell had a quick answer, putting the Hawkeyes back on top with a short floater just 14 seconds later.

#23 Iowa (6-0)3039877
Xavier (5-1)
• Box Score Get Acrobat Reader  |  Attendance: 2,258
 Statistical Leaders
 •Roy Devyn Marble - 30 points, 10-23 FG, 4-10 3PT
 •Zach McCabe - 11 points, 3 rebounds
 •Gabriel Olaseni - 10 points, 11 rebounds, 8-9 FT
 Stats at a GlanceIOWAXU
 FG Percentage35.339.1
 3-Point FG Percentage26.125.0
 FT Percentage67.664.3
 Total Rebounds4549
 Points in the Paint2938
 Points off Turnovers2219
An Aaron White put-back layup following a pair of Hawkeye misses made the score 77-73 with 1:34 remaining before Xavier's James Farr made 1-of-2 from the charity stripe to make it a three-point game with 1:17 left. Iowa survived three Muskateer 3-point attempts in the final 10 seconds to hold on for its sixth win to start the season.

Senior Roy Devyn Marble scored a season-high 30 points -- one shy of a career-high -- making 10-of-23 field goal attempts and four 3-pointers. The guard made just 6-of-11 free throw attempts before sitting the final six minutes because of severe cramping.

"The thing I liked about him was how aggressive he was from the start," said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. "We were clearly sideways offensively, and we couldn't get anything to fall, couldn't get a 3 to fall, were fumbling the ball and got down 11-2. It didn't seem like it was going to be our night offensively. Then he puts us on his back and goes for 30."

Senior Zach McCabe scored 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting, White scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds, and Olaseni notched a his first career double-double, finishing with 10 points and 11 rebounds. He was 8-of-9 from the free throw line.
"Everybody that was out there contributed," said Marble. "I knew they were going to get it done, even though I went out. I told them to keep being aggressive."

Iowa shot 35.3 percent from the field, making 24-of-68 attempts. The Hawkeyes went 6-of-23 (26.1 percent) from 3-point range and was 23-of-34 (67.6 percent) from the free throw line.
Xavier shot 39.1 percent (25-of-64) from the floor, 6-of-24 (25 percent) from long range and 64.3 percent (18-of-28) from the free throw stripe. The Muskateers won the rebounding battle, 49-45, but committed 19 turnovers. Justin Martin paced Xavier with 15 points, and he was one of four Muskaeteers in double digits.
Xavier led 37-30 at the break and extended its lead to 41-30 a minute into the second half. The Muskateers pushed their lead to a game-high 15 points (47-32) on a three-point play by Semaj Christon with 15:56 remaining and led 55-42 with 12:13 to go.

"In the huddle there was no panic," said McCaffery. "There was 15:56 to go, so there was plenty of time (left). We just have to keep chipping away at it. It can't go from 15-to-22; it has to go from 15-to-8. That's what happened."

With 10 minutes to play, Marble drained a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 10 (55-45) and ignite a 12-0 Hawkeye run to cut the lead to 55-54 with 7:21 to play. White followed with a fast-break dunk and Marble hit a second triple to make the score 55-50. Two Marble free throws cut the lead to three before senior Melsahn Basabe's fast-break dunk made it a one-point game.

Iowa trimmed the lead to one point a second time (60-59) before clawing its way back to even the game at 67 via a Gesell jumper with 1:41 to play. After two Isaiah Philmore free throws put the Muskateers back on top, an Olaseni layup evened the game at 69 with 54 seconds to play.

Xavier missed two layups before turning the ball over on its final possession of regulation, giving the Hawkeyes the ball with 24 seconds to play. Iowa went to McCabe, but his shot was blocked by Matt Stainbrook with six seconds to go, sending the game to overtime.

Iowa came out of the gates slow, falling behind 11-2 to start the game. The Hawkeyes trailed 37-30 at the half, and Xavier added to its lead with two free throws and the ball before a second came off the clock in the second half when McCaffery was whistled for a technical foul heading into the locker room at the break.

"Last year, I don't think we would have been able to pull (a game like this) out," said Marble. "I was on the bench and I told the guys these are the games we have to win. When we came out, they were ready to finish the game."

The Hawkeyes (6-0) will face the winner of the Tennessee/UTEP game Saturday at 6 p.m. (CT). The game can be seen live on the NBC Sports Network.

Creighton Feasts On Sun Devils at Wooden Legacy

Arizona State scored first before Creighton answered with a 7-0 run that included hoops from McDermott, Will Artino and Jahenns Manigat. McDermott continued his hot hand, scoring 10 of CU's next 13 points as the Jays built up a 20-9 lead. Two more buckets from Brooks made it 24-9 at the second media timeout, an eerie similarity to last season's 27-9 hot start by the Bluejays.

The Sun Devils fought back, getting a trio of three-pointers during a 9-0 run to close within 30-24 before Brooks took over. The reserve guard helped bring CU's offense back to life, scoring the next eight points, to allow the Jays to extend its lead back to double-figures.

Creighton would lead 45-31 at the break, getting 16 points from McDermott and 13 more from Brooks. The Jays shot 55.2 percent in the opening half, including 5-of-9 from beyond the arc, and outrebounded ASU 19-17. ASU was led by nine points by Jahii Carson in the first half.

Manigat buried a three-pointer on CU's first possession of the second half, Austin Chatman followed with two foul shots, and Manigat a reverse lay-up to make it 52-31 with 18:08 to play. ASU quickly sliced the deficit in half, scoring the next 10 points in a span of 1:49, to make it 52-41.

Just as he did in the first half, Brooks rose to the occasion off the bench. The Harlem, N.Y., native scored seven points in just over a minute, pushing CU's lead to 61-42 and forcing a Sun Devil timeout.

Creighton continued to apply pressure, as Wragge had a pair of three-pointers surrounded by four McDermott points as the lead reached 73-51 with 7:36 left.

McDermott led all scorers with 27 points, including a perfect night in 10 attempts at the line. In the process, he became CU's first player in 45 years (Bob Portman) to open a season with five straight games of 20 or more points. Brooks had a career-high 23 points in just 19 minutes of work, sinking of 9-of-11 field goal attempts, and 4-of-4 shots from long-range. The Bluejays shot 53.4 percent on the night, including 12-of-25 (48 percent) from long-range, and also sank 14-of-16 attempts from the line.

ASU was paced by 15 points from All-America candidate Jahii Carson, though Carson made just 5-of-12 attempts and had five turnovers. Jermaine Marshall and Richie Edwards both had 12 points for the Sun Devils. Jordan Bachynski, who entered the game with six straight double-doubles, got in early foul trouble and finished with season-lows four points and two rebounds in 18 minutes. The Sun Devils made 37.9 percent of its shots from the field and were 9-of-20 at the line.

NOTES: Creighton extended its streak of games with a three-pointer to 650 when Jahenns Manigatdrilled a triple with 17:33 left in the first half ...Creighton has won 60 straight games when building a double-digit lead at any point, including tonight ...The loss was the second-largest at ASU under seventh-year coach Herb Sendek ... Isaiah Zierden had a key four-point play late in the first half, just the fourth in 115 games with Greg McDermott as CU coach ... Doug McDermott has now scored 20 or more points in seven straight games dating to last seaso