Recinos’ game-winner sends Huskers packing

Nebraska erased a 15-point lead and tied the game late in the fourth quarter, but Iowa kicker Miguel Recinos drilled a 41-yard kick as time expired.


Nick Rohlman

Iowa kicker Miguel Recinos kicks a field goal as time expires during Iowa’s game against Nebraska at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Friday, November 23, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Huskers 31-28.

Adam Hensley, Pregame Editor

With a chance to extend its lead to 11 points over Nebraska in the fourth quarter, Iowa sent out kicker Miguel Recinos for a 37-yard attempt.

Recinos, who entered the game having made 14 of his 18 attempts this season, missed the kick and watched as Nebraska drove down and tied the game.

“It [was] a very lonely feeling,” Recinos said.

When the senior from Mason City returned to the bench, though, his teammates were right by his side, expressing their genuine faith in Recinos.

Those same teammates were chasing him around the field when the clock hit double zeroes, as Recinos drilled a 41-yard game-winning kick on the contest’s final play, capping off senior day in dramatic fashion.

“It’s fitting that he’s a senior,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “He just had one of his more disappointing moments of his career … then he came out and nailed that field goal.”

Recinos added that visualization played a crucial role in his kick; for all specialists, a huge part of the game is the mental aspect.

“I would never say this to Coach Ferentz, but I always seem to be better after I miss one,” Recinos said. “After I missed that one, I kind of got in a frame of mind – it just gets easier for me to block everything out because I kind of get angry. For me, that anger is positive.”

Moments before Recinos’ game winner, Nebraska head coach Scott Frost attempted to ice him, calling a timeout.

“I think Frost made a big mistake calling a timeout on that one,” Recinos said. “It gave me an opportunity to kind of get the guys together. I told them I loved them no matter what.”

Recinos’ kick will go down in Hawkeye lore as one of this season’s most memorable moments – Nebraska continued to have an answer, time and time again, as for every moment it seemed the Hawkeyes had finally won the tug-of-war battle for momentum, the Huskers countered, erasing a 15-point deficit.

For the first time this season, Iowa’s clutch gene came through in crunch time. The Hawkeyes faced a fourth-and-8 situation from the Husker 37-yard line.

Rather than punting or attempting a long field goal, Ferentz and Company threw a 10-yard pass to tight end T.J. Hockenson, giving the Hawkeye’s scoring effort one last gasp of fresh air.

“It was a play we’ve ran quite a bit in practice,” quarterback Nate Stanley said. “We knew that we had that play dialed up for that down and distance, that situation, and knew that they like to bring pressure in that situation. We tried to max up our preparation and tried to give [Recinos] and opportunity to win.”

Thanks to Recinos’ kick, the Hawkeyes move to 8-4 with aspirations of a warm bowl game in their future.

Most project a matchup with a Pac-12 team in the Holiday Bowl, but the Hawkeyes will have to wait until the conference championships conclude to hear their destination.

In the meantime, Recinos’ game-winner and Iowa’s win over border-rival Nebraska are the only things on the Hawkeyes’ minds.

“Chasing after the kicker after a game-winning field goal, that’s why we put in work for years on end,” defensive lineman Anthony Nelson said.