In the final week of the regular season, Nebraska will take on their rival Iowa. For Nebraska, this may be the final game of the season as even with a win and a 5-7 record, there mayt be too many six win teams this season for them to slide into a bowl game. Iowa enters this game with a 7-4 record. They started the year at 6-1, then dropped three in a row, but last week they took down Illinois 63-0.
The Hawkeyes are averaging 387 yards of offense, 234.5 yards through the air, and 152.5 on the gorund. Iowa will be led by junior quarterback Nate Stanley. Stanley has 2,486 yards, 21 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. In the month of November, he’s been very good. He’s completeing his passes at a 65% clip, 722 yards, five touchdowns, and just one interception.
Iowa also has a pair of running backs that are talented. Mekhi Sargent has 575 yard on the ground this season and eight touchdowns. The sophomore is also a reliable target out of the backfield with 13 catches for 148 yards this year. Fellow sophomore Toren Young also has shown flashes with 547 yards and four touchdowns.
Iowa has two main targets in the passing game and they are both tight ends. First T.J. Hockensen, he is a sophomore and this season he has 41 catches for 663 yards and six touchdowns. Omaha native Noah Fant is the other big target for Stanley. He has 38 catches for 507 yards and seven touchdown.
On defense, the Hawkeyes are allowing just 279.5 yards of total offense this season. They are solid in both facets allowing just 180.1 yards passing and 99.5 yards rushing. Senior defensive back Jake Gervase leads Iowa with 67 tackles and three interceptions. Junior defensive back Amani Hooker is also having a nice season with 53 tackles and four interceptions.
For Nebraska, the offense will need to be very sharp against another tough defense. Freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez will be under a lot of pressure against this defense. Martinez had an off week last week, as he was 16-37 with 137 yards through the air.
If JD Spielman is healthy, the tandem of him and Stanley Morgan Jr. may be the difference in the game. Those two will be tested against a good secondary, but may be able to find success. Stanley Morgan Jr. is 77 yards away from reaching 1,000 yards on the season, the first time in Nebraska football history.
Devine Ozigbo was bottled up of sorts last week with just 74 yards. The senior running back will have to run into a stout defense this week as Iowa is ranjed 8th in the nation. The offensive line play for Nebraska will be extremely important this week.
On defense, the Huskers made leaps and bounds last week. Although, Michigan State’s offense wasn’t spectacular, they improved a lot. The secondary play of junior Lamar Jackson and senior Antonio Reed played well. Those two and the entire secondary will be tested with great tight ends.
With the ability of the tight ends of Iowa, it will be a key that both the linebackers of Nebraska and the secondary bottle up that facet of the game. The defensive line including senior Mick Stoltenberg, sophomore Ben Stille, and juniors Carlos and Khalil Davis will need to create pressure.
The game kicks off on Friday November 23rd at 11 A.M. Pregame is at 8 A.M., listen on Nebrask’s longest runnning affilate, KRVN.