As with all 2017 opponents, this isn't the first Iowa's played Nebraska, and it wouldn't be the first time we've beaten them. Here's a look back as we turn yesterday's victories into today's lessons.
It's been quite a regular season for Iowa, and certainly not the way anyone would have mapped it shaking out — look no further than the last three weeks for proof. And yet, the Kirk Ferentz era has had its own special brand of chaos for years now; the 2013 season is likely what fans keep remembering, even as it's one of the last Ferentz seasons of its kind.
Iowa came into the game at 7-4, facing an 8-3 Nebraska team that also hadn't registered many big wins, despite its record. Still, the Huskers could certainly look down at the Hawkeyes to evaluate where they were as a football program at the time, and Iowa hadn't won at Memorial Stadium at that point since 1943, back when Nebraska was still bad and college football was still weird.
When the dust settled, the message from Iowa was clear: at least one team's taking this rivalry seriously.
Some keys to victory:
It's not a great rivalry game unless the other coach is contemplating the loss of his job. As mentioned earlier, Nebraska's record coming into the contest was 8-3, which meant that for the first time in his six years as the (permanent) Nebraska head coach, Bo Pelini had an opportunity to finish with something other than exactly four losses. The "Bo PeLLLLini" meme was rock-solid, moreso than Pelini's defense, and that sealed his fate, both that day and probably for his career.
Over the course of one game and its immediate aftermath, Pelini:
- Snapped at a sideline reporter for an innocuous question
- Swung his hat at an official during a tirade, possibly inadvertently hitting the referee with the strap of the hat, down by 4
- Called a failed fake punt deep in his own territory, down by 7
- Got beaten by poor little Iowa by 21 on his team's Senior Day
- Called the earlier penalty "chickenshit" at his press conference, where all the reporters are
- Invited Nebraska officials to fire him during the same press conference
- Refused to apologize for anything during the same press conference
Yes, Pelini lasted another season, but the Nebraska administration was googling "divorce papers" after dinner that night.
If they're going to let you throw rock, throw rock. Senior running back Mark Weisman had arguably the most MARK WEISMAN game of his career, rushing for 74 yards on 25 carries (a robust sub-3 average) and two bruising touchdowns. Jordan Canzeri added 59 yards on 6 rushes, including a 37-yard scamper, and all told Iowa managed 156 yards and three rushing touchdowns on the game — not overwhelming, but certainly ample for the previously beleaguered offense to put enough points on the board to win.
If they're going to throw interceptions, let them throw interceptions. Nebraska third-string QB Ron Kellogg III, bless his heart, got the Senior Day start and immediately threw two interceptions. Even though Iowa only capitalized with 7 points off the turnovers, the early momentum-shifters (by star defenders Anthony Hitchens and James Morris) helped set the tone for what Nebraska could and could not do for the rest of the game. Yes, Nebraska's passing game got on track a little in the second half, but their only real threats would end up coming from the coach.