Nebraska looking forward to matchup with Iowa

The Iowa-Nebraska game has been lopsided in recent years, but that could change in 2019.

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Nebraska looking forward to matchup with Iowa

Nebraska head coach Scott Frost speaks at the Big Ten Football Media Day in Chicago, Ill., on Thursday, July 18, 2019.

Nebraska head coach Scott Frost speaks at the Big Ten Football Media Day in Chicago, Ill., on Thursday, July 18, 2019.

Katina Zentz

Nebraska head coach Scott Frost speaks at the Big Ten Football Media Day in Chicago, Ill., on Thursday, July 18, 2019.

Katina Zentz

Katina Zentz

Nebraska head coach Scott Frost speaks at the Big Ten Football Media Day in Chicago, Ill., on Thursday, July 18, 2019.

Pete Ruden, Sports Editor

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CHICAGO — Something special could happen on Nov. 29.

After a day full of turkey and giving thanks, loving and happy emotions will quickly turn to heated rivalry and trash talk.

The reason is Iowa will take on Nebraska in Lincoln to try to extend its Heroes Game winning streak to five.

“It’s going to be one of the key games on our schedule every year,” Nebraska head coach Scott Frost said. “I know there’s a lot of bad blood with the respective fan bases on both sides. At the end of the day, I hope it continues to be two really good teams that do things the right way.”

This year, though, the rivalry game could have significant implications. In recent seasons, the game hasn’t been a deciding factor in whether either team makes the trip to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship. But this time, it could.

Cleveland.com, which has had beat reporters across the Big Ten predict the conference standings for nine seasons in a row, picked Nebraska to finish first in the West Division with 198 points and Iowa close behind at 194.5. Each team received 14 first-place votes.

That’s just one sign of how far the Huskers have come since the Hawkeyes dismantled them, 56-14, just two years ago.

It also means Nebraska will be hungry to snap the streak.

“Prior to kickoff, we get into it and things like that,” Nebraska linebacker Mohamed Barry said. “I’m not going to say I hate them or anything, but that’s a team I really want to beat and can’t wait to give it to.

“You talk about college football, and what makes it so special, and what makes it so fun to watch is the emotion and the passion. That game this year definitely will be emotional and full of a lot of passion.”

Nebraska has started to close the gap.

Last season, a last-second field goal by Miguel Recinos was all that separated the two squads and kept the game from going into overtime.

It didn’t seem as if that was possible in the two previous battles. Prior to the 56-14 shellacking in 2017, the Hawkeyes toppled the Huskers in 2016, 40-10.

The close game last time may help the Heroes Game retain its rivalry status that seemed to be slipping away.

“Going off of last year, I’m happy how competitive it was,” Barry said. “I would say that before, people didn’t see it as a rivalry from our past success compared to their success and then just the current results in those years – Iowa beating us and us not beating them. Last year showed potentially what this rivalry could become each year that we play each other.”

While the blood may be boiling between the two sides in late November, Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez has some positive memories of the rivalry despite his squad losing last season.

“I love the hospital wave — that was really cool,” Martinez said. “Iowa’s a good football team, and I look forward to that. I think it’s cool to be in a tradition where you play on Black Friday.”