The Iowa Hawkeye football team struck first in today’s Black Friday contest at Nebraska with a Jake Rudock 10-yard pass to C.J. Fiedorowicz and never trailed in downing Nebraska 31-17. The first score came after an interception by linebacker James Morris.
Iowa had failed to score on the previous possession after an interception by Anthony Hitchens when Coach Kirk Ferentz decided to go for it on fourth down and they didn’t convert. “We just felt like our defense had played well and felt like we needed to get points and wanted to get points and came up short. But don’t regret it. The defense bailed us right out, they came with a pick right out of that, and that was great,” Ferentz says. “Two things maybe over the last couple of weeks, certainly this is the two weeks in a row we’ve played a good second half, right down to the wire.” He says they did a lot better job of cashing in on opportunities against Nebraska.
The defense held Nebraska’s rushing attack to just 89 yards on the day and offensively held them 144 yards below their season average. “We really came out on fire defensively and that was great to see. Than they got a little something going there with a couple of drives — one right before the half and then one after. Overall the guys did a great job,” Ferentz says.
The win moves Iowa to 8-4 overall. “I think we’ve improved out bowl destination, hopefully the way we’ve played this past month,” Ferentz says. “It’s just all good, the most pleasing thing is to just watch these guys grow — watch them work and improve — that’s what the game is about and they certainly done that, it’s been basically about a year now.”
Senior safety Tanner Miller says the senior class did what it could to turn around last year’s 4-8 season. “We just grew up as a team…it was gut check time and we knew we had the talent and the guys to do it and we took it upon ourselves as leaders and as seniors to really buckle this thing down and get these last three wins,” Miller said.
Miller also hopes the win and their record improves their bowl bid. “Can’t wait, hopefully we’ll get down there on a beach somewhere here in a month, we are really looking forward to that,” Miler says.
Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock went down with an injury, but Ferentz says it was a sprain and Rudock will be okay. Iowa moved to 5-3 in the conference and Nebraska fell to 8-4, 5-3. It was Iowa’s first win in the series since 1981 and its first win in Lincoln since 1943. Iowa’s 38 points was 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.