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Iowa Sends Off Seniors Right, Trounces Nebraska 40-10 (11/25/16)
Iowa City, Iowa—In a rousing performance, the Iowa Hawkeyes capped an eight-win regular season with a dominating victory over the rivaled Nebraska Huskers.
For the first time since 1981, Iowa beat Nebraska in Kinnick, marking just the second time ever that Iowa has knocked off a ranked Husker team.
Iowa’s defense was stifling, allowing just 217 total yards and holding Nebraska’s Tommy Armstrong to a chilly 13-35 passing. When Nebraska scored their only touchdown of the game in the third quarter, it was the first touchdown the Hawkeye defense conceded since the second quarter against Michigan (136:09 of game-time).
The Hawkeyes erupted for two big plays in the first quarter, scoring touchdowns on a 75-yard Akrum Wadley explosion and a 77-yard catch-and-run by senior Riley McCarron. The two big plays marked the first time since 2011 (second quarter against Tennessee Tech) that Iowa scored two touchdowns of 75-plus yards in the same quarter.
That wasn’t the only feat reached for the first time since 2011, as LeShun Daniels became the first Hawkeye in five years to rush for 1,000 yards in a season after he shucked the Huskers for 158 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries. Daniels’ backfield mate, Akrum Wadley, is not far behind him, as the New Jersey native rushed for 105 yards against Nebraska, bringing his rushing total to 966 on the year. If Wadley is able to rush for at least 34 yards in Iowa’s bowl game, it will mark the first time in Hawkeye history that two players rushed for 1,000 yards in the same season.
Quarterback CJ Beathard connected for three touchdowns in the game, with fellow senior George Kittle being on the receiving end of two of them. With his two trips to the end zone, Kittle became the fourth tight end in the Ferentz-era to catch at least 10 career touchdown passes, joining NFL-talents Tony Moeaki, Scott Chandler, and CJ Fiedorowicz.
With the victory, CJ Beathard moved into a tie for third in Iowa history for most wins as a starting quarterback (21). Iowa’s senior class won their 23rd Big Ten game, which is the third highest figure under Kirk Ferentz. Coach Ferentz made history himself, also, as he passed Lloyd Carr for sixth all-time in Big Ten conference wins (82).
In a game full of firsts and records, the Hawkeyes’ biggest accomplishment was salvaging a somewhat disappointing season. After a blowout loss at the hands of Penn State, Iowa has responded with a win over #3 Michigan, a shutout victory against Illinois, and this drubbing of Nebraska. With the Hawkeyes rolling, they have to be a very appealing team come bowl season.
Iowa finishes the regular season 8-4, 6-3 – on a three-game winning streak. Nebraska drops to 9-3, 6-3 and the loss to Hawkeyes drops the Cornhuskers out of any possibility of playing in the Big Ten Championship Game. On the other hand, Iowa’s win sets up the possibility of a four-way tie for the West Title if Minnesota upsets Wisconsin tomorrow. In that case, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Minnesota would all finish conference play with 6-3 records. Even in that scenario, the Badgers will still play in Indianapolis.
Iowa’s victory also broke a string of four straight wins by the visiting team in this series. The Hawkeyes retain the Heroes Trophy – and successfully defended three of their four rivalry trophies this season. The only loss was the Heartland Trophy to the Badgers. This win also results in Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz receiving a $500,000 bonus.
Both Iowa and Nebraska will now have to wait to learn where they will go bowling.
Links to the Pre-and-Post-Game Notes and Stats, Season Stats, Ferentz Presser transcripts, and B1G Notes are on the left side of this page.
You can also access additional stories, stats, information, and links at HawkeyesMic.Medium.com.