Grading Iowa’s victory over Nebraska on Black Friday

The Hawkeyes are 4-2 on the season after winning their fourth game in a row.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon tackles Nebraska’s WanÕDale Robinson during a football game between Iowa and Nebraska at Kinnick Stadium on Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. IowaÕs defense sacked Martinez three times.

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

The No. 24 Iowa football team defeated Nebraska 26-20 in Kinnick Stadium on Black Friday to win its fourth game in a row on the season and improve to 4-2.

The Hawkeyes have now defeated the Cornhuskers six years in a row.

DI Pregame Editor Robert Read grades Iowa’s performance against Nebraska.

Offense – C

Iowa didn’t match its scoring prowess from its other games during the team’s four-game winning streak.

Quarterback Spencer Petras threw his worst pass of the year, spinning around before moving out of the pocket and throwing the ball right at the Nebraska defender. At this point it’s the same thing every week. Missing open receivers (although Nico Ragaini didn’t help him out by dropping a pass in the end zone) and looking flustered in the pocket. I get that there’s only one football to go around, but it still seems like Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Brandon Smith, and Tyrone Tracy aren’t seeing the ball enough.

Iowa’s running game was stuffed in the first half, but picked it up in the final 30 minutes of the game. Tyler Goodson ran the ball 30 times, but handled the heavy workload and compiled 111 yards on the ground.

Defense – B

Iowa’s defense regrouped after allowing a long Nebraska scoring drive to open the second half, and held the Cornhuskers scoreless for the final 27 minutes of game time.

Nebraska quarterbacks Adrian Martinez and Luka McCaffrey both hurt Iowa with their legs at times – and Martinez completed 18 of his 20 passes – but Iowa avoided giving up the big play. Instead, the Hawkeyes made their own. The biggest play of the day came when defensive end Chauncey Golston sacked Martinez on Nebraska’s potential game-winning drive. Martinez lost the ball, Zach VanValkenburg recovered, and Iowa won.

Iowa tallied three sacks and seven tackles for loss on the day. Defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon continued his dominant 2020 season, compiling eight tackles, three tackles for loss, and a sack.

Special teams – A

The only negative from Iowa’s special teams against Nebraska was probably Keith Duncan’s 51-yard field goal that would have clinched the game falling just short and hitting the cross bar. But that’s being a little too critical on my part. It was a long kick, and Duncan was great against the Cornhuskers. He hit four field goals, including one from 48 yards out.

Punter Tory Taylor wasn’t called on much, but was great when he was. His first punt was downed at Nebraska’s two-yard line, because of course it was, and his second was muffed by the returner and Iowa’s special teams standout Terry Roberts recovered for the Hawkeyes. The momentum was on Iowa’s side after that.

Nebraska opted to kick the ball short all day in an effort to avoid Ihmir Smith-Marsette, who returned a kick for a touchdown against the Cornhuskers last season. The Hawkeyes had great field position all day.

Charlie Jones continued to be a standout as Iowa’s punt returner. He returned one 31 yards on Friday.

Bravo again, LeVar Woods.

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