Grading the Iowa football team’s 28-21 win over Nebraska

The Hawkeyes are Big Ten West Champions. Here’s a look back at how Iowa performed against Nebraska.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa defensive lineman Logan Lee jumps on a fumble from Nebraska quarterback Logan Smothers during a football game between No. 16 Iowa and Nebraska at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021. Iowa forced two turnovers. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cornhuskers 28-21.

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

Daily Iowan Pregame Editor Robert Read graded the Iowa football team’s performance in all three phases after the Hawkeyes’ 28-21 win over Nebraska.

Offense — C-

Well, the offense is the lowest-graded unit here. That’s not new.

The Hawkeyes actually moved the ball fairly consistently against the Cornhuskers, but couldn’t come away with touchdowns for most of the game. That seemingly played into the decision to bench quarterback Alex Padilla in favor of Spencer Petars. Aside from a fumble, Tyler Goodson was solid on the ground, and his 55-yard run set up Petras’ game-winning quarterback sneak for a touchdown. Also, I thought Brian Ferentz actually called a pretty good game *ducks*.

Defense — B

Iowa’s defense allowed three Nebraska touchdown drives of 75 or more yards on Friday. But defensive coordinator Phil Parker’s unit still made plays when it needed to. A safety was a standout play for a defensive line that had been disruptive throughout the afternoon. Jermari Harris’ sealed Iowa’s win and clinched the Hawkeyes, at the time, a share of the Big Ten West title. Jack Campbell was by the ball all afternoon, adding another 16 tackles to his season total.

Special teams — A+

Iowa’s special teams are special. Saturday was the latest example of that.

Caleb Shudak is one of the best kickers in the country. His performances of late are putting him in the discussion of being the best kicker. Shudak hit all four of his kicks against Nebraska, including one from 51-yards out. A Nebraska event staff employee joked in the press box on Friday that Shudak is what “a real kicker looks like.” Tory Taylor only punted twice against the Cornhuskers, but made his last one count. Taylor downed a punt at Nebraska’s 7-yard line in the fourth quarter, which later resulted in a safety for Iowa’s defense.

Oh, and then there was the biggest play of the game — Henry Marchese’s blocked punt that resulted in a Kyler Fisher touchdown. The play sparked Iowa’s comeback. Just go ahead and make LeVar Woods the coach-in-waiting now, Iowa.