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Iowa Playback: Player of game, what went right and wrong, etc.

[ 3 ] November 25, 2011 |

PLAYER OF THE GAME

It wasn’t Eric Guthrie’s fault Nebraska had three 80-yard scoring drives. He had one of his better punting games, averaging 41.1 yards on seven kicks.

Guthrie put three inside the 20-yard line and had a 56-yarder, while seemingly putting the Huskers in less-than-ideal field position.

He did his job — with a career-best 288 punting yards.

Game stats, scoring summary and replay of live chat

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Iowa tailback Marcus Coker was the team’s lone offensive threat in the first half, with 11 rushes for 62 yards. As good as he was against a defense traditionally solid against the rush, the Hawkeyes still ran just six plays on Nebraska’s side of the field before halftime.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Quarterback James Vandenberg didn’t have his usual rhythm — he threw high and he threw uncatchable bullet passes. He was so off his game that the Hawkeyes had just 36 passing yards while trailing 10-0 at halftime.

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE

Safety Jordan Bernstine was beaten so badly on a long first-half passing play that he actually tackled Kenny Bell before he had a chance to catch the ball. The play might not have been needed, as the pass appeared headed over Bell’s head. Regardless, the pass interference penalty happened during the Huskers’ only first-half touchdown drive.

NEWS AND NOTES

Husker offer

Nebraska offered James Vandenberg a scholarship before Iowa offered.

“They recruited me hard since my sophomore year when I went to one of their camps,” Vandenberg said. “(Bill) Callahan was the coach then.

“Shortly after I got that offer was when they started going through their coaching change. That made me wait a little longer, and that’s when Iowa came through.”

New Huskers coach Bo Pelini didn’t offer, but athletic director Tom Osborne told Vandenberg Nebraska’s scholarship offer would stand.

“That was nice,” Vandenberg said. “He didn’t have to do that.”

No trades

They didn’t trade helmet stickers this time.

After Nebraska’s victory against the Hawkeyes in 2000, some players from both teams gathered at midfield to exchange stick-on helmet decals.

“You never know what’s going to happen out there,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.

Family divided

Friday was a big game for the Fisher family of Omaha — Nebraska linebacker Sean and Iowa redshirt freshman Cole.

“I didn’t really look at Iowa at all,” Sean said. “Cole — he’s always wanted to do his own thing. It was a good opportunity for him to get out and not play on the same team as his big brother.”

KEY NUMBER: 4

Marvin McNutt, Iowa’s record-breaking receiver, had just four catches. It’s the third time he was held to four, three below his average, and all three were in losses.

NEXT GAME

Iowa will learn its bowl destination no later than Dec. 4, after the BCS selections are made. It could happen earlier, depending on how many teams have been eliminated from BCS consideration.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Randy Peterson: Randy Peterson covers college football, college basketball and the Iowa Cubs for the Des Moines Register. Randy can be reached at randypeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter via @RandyPete View author profile.

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