Grading Iowa’s performance against Nebraska

Keith Duncan’s 48-yard game-winning field goal lifted Iowa’s special teams to an A+ mark in its final regular-season game.

Iowa+wide+receiver+Ihmir+Smith-Marsette+carries+the+ball+into+the+end+zone+during+the+game+against+Nebraska+on+Friday%2C+November+29%2C+2019.+Smith-Marsette+received+one+pass+for+a+total+of+twenty-two+yards.+The+Hawkeyes+defeated+the+Corn+Huskers+27-24.+
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Grading Iowa’s performance against Nebraska

Iowa wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette carries the ball into the end zone during the game against Nebraska on Friday, November 29, 2019. Smith-Marsette received one pass for a total of twenty-two yards. The Hawkeyes defeated the Corn Huskers 27-24.

Iowa wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette carries the ball into the end zone during the game against Nebraska on Friday, November 29, 2019. Smith-Marsette received one pass for a total of twenty-two yards. The Hawkeyes defeated the Corn Huskers 27-24.

Wyatt Dlouhy

Iowa wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette carries the ball into the end zone during the game against Nebraska on Friday, November 29, 2019. Smith-Marsette received one pass for a total of twenty-two yards. The Hawkeyes defeated the Corn Huskers 27-24.

Wyatt Dlouhy

Wyatt Dlouhy

Iowa wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette carries the ball into the end zone during the game against Nebraska on Friday, November 29, 2019. Smith-Marsette received one pass for a total of twenty-two yards. The Hawkeyes defeated the Corn Huskers 27-24.

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Offense — B

There’s no question that big plays helped Iowa beat Nebraska.

The Hawkeyes scored two touchdowns in the first quarter with a 45-yard run by Ihmir Smith-Marsette on a reverse and a 55-yard scamper by Tyler Goodson.

By the end of the first 15 minutes, Iowa had 152 yards — its most in a game since it posted 351 against Middle Tennessee State on Sept. 28.

Related: Epenesa balls out in win over Nebraska

Defense — B

The Huskers had a chance to win the game late in the fourth quarter, but the Hawkeye defense stepped up in a big way to give the Iowa offense another shot.

That stop, along with the turnover it forced when Nebraska was driving, proved to be the difference for Iowa defensively.

A.J. Epenesa proved he could be a legitimate top-10 pick with a career-high 14 tackles, two sacks, and 4.5 tackles for a loss.

Iowa also held Nebraska to just 100 yards passing and 284 yards total.

Related: Ruden: Iowa exposed Nebraska for what it is

Special teams — A+

Special teams stole the show once again for the Hawkeyes.

Keith Duncan’s 48-yard game-winner put an exclamation mark on the incredible season that made him a finalist for the Lou Groza Award.

He finished the day 2-for-2 in the cold and spitting rain.

Ihmir Smith-Marsette finally scored the kick-return touchdown that had been eluding him, giving Iowa a big boost after the Huskers scored their first touchdown with a pick six in the second quarter.

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