By the numbers | Iowa’s victory over Nebraska

The Hawkeyes once again won a close game against the Cornhuskers.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras leads a huddle during a football game between Iowa and Nebraska at Kinnick Stadium on Friday, Nov. 27, 2020.

Isaac Goffin, Assistant Sports Editor

For the fourth straight week, the No. 24 Iowa football team won a game, as it defeated Nebraska 26-20 on Friday.

The Hawkeyes are now 4-2 on the season, which also includes wins over Michigan State, Minnesota, and Penn State.

Iowa’s statistics proved once again it has Nebraska’s number, as well as how the team is finding ways to succeed in all phases of the game.

Four – Iowa field goals made

Keith Duncan looked like his 2019 self on Friday, and had many chances to make a field goal. With the Iowa offense sometimes struggling to get into the end zone and the team facing several fourth-and-short scenarios, Duncan had five field goal attempts and made four.

The Weddington, North Carolina, native’s first field goal came on Iowa’s first drive, when he hit a 32-yarder. He made one from 33 yards out late in the second quarter.

His longest field goal of the day came on the first play of the fourth quarter, when hit one from 48-yards out. Around the middle of the final quarter, he made his final one from 37 yards. He did miss a 51-yarder with over two minutes to go in the game that put Nebraska in position to have a game-winning drive, but ultimately it didn’t make a difference in the outcome.

Duncan is 10-of-14 on field goal attempts in 2020. Makes sense that his best game of the season so far came against Nebraska.

Seven – Iowa receivers with a reception

Though Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras threw for 195 yards, he did find multiple receivers to keep the offense’s drives going.

The receiver he found the most was a tight end, which was Sam LaPorta, who had five receptions for 38 yards. LaPorta’s most important catch of the day came on a fourth-and-two deep in Nebraska territory during the third quarter, which LaPorta was able to convert on a five-yard pass. Mekhi Sargent scored a touchdown later in the drive to tie up the game at 20.

Ihmir Smith-Marsette led Iowa in receiving yards with 44, and Tyrone Tracy’s sole catch of the day was a six-yard TD in the first quarter.

Tight end Shaun Beyer had the longest reception for Iowa at 22 yards, which came on the second play of the game when Beyer was able to secure the catch with one hand.

36 – Yards on tackles for losses

The Iowa defense showed up again, and though it didn’t play outstanding, it did make some fine plays. Seven times Nebraska went backwards on a play because it was tackled for a loss of yardage.

Three of those plays were a result from sacks, which came from Daviyon Nixon, Seth Benson, and Chauncey Golston. Golston’s sack at the end helped seal the deal for the Hawkeyes because he forced a fumble on Nebraska’s final drive.

Jack Campbell had two nice tackles for a combined loss of six yards.

Nebraska had 338 yards on offense.

First – Hawkeyes were outgained for the first time this season

Speaking of offensive yardage, Iowa was outgained for the first time this season. Even in their two losses, the Hawkeyes gained more yards than their opponents. Nebraska’s 338 yards outmatched Iowa’s 322, but the Hawkeyes had the upper hand when it mattered.

Six – Consecutive wins over Nebraska

Nebraska does lead the series 29-19-3, but Iowa has won the last six meetings dating back to 2015.

That season, the Hawkeyes won their 12th game of the season by a score of 28-20. Jordan Canzeri had two rushing touchdowns and Parker Hesse returned an interception for a touchdown.

The last three games, including the 2020 game, have come down to the wire. In 2018, Miguel Recinos hit a 41-yard field goal as time expired to win the game, 31-28.

The following season in Lincoln, Duncan made a 48-yard field goal with one second left to give Iowa a 27-24 lead.

In 2020, Iowa was up 26-20 as Nebraska attempted a game-winning drive with about two minutes to go in the game. But inside Iowa territory, Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez fumbled the ball when Golston sacked him, and Zach VanValkenburg recovered it to seal the game.

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