No. 17 Nebraska comes into Kinnick Stadium on Friday needing a win to claim the Legends Division and earn its spot in the Big Ten Championship.
And the Huskers aren’t talking about Iowa (4-7, 2-5) like the Hawkeyes are keeping them up late at night.
“We can’t let the game drag out,” Nebraska senior linebacker Will Compton said. “We can’t let them hang around.
“We need to start extremely fast and move the ball and stop them and go from there.”
Nebraska (9-2, 6-1) has little reason to fear Iowa. The Huskers have a five-game winning streak that includes a 23-9 win over Michigan.
The same Michigan team that just beat Iowa 42-17, handing the Hawkeyes their fifth straight loss
“We have a lot of maturity on the team, and I think we know we have to beat Iowa for us to go to the Big Ten Championship,” Nebraska junior quarterback Taylor Martinez said. “I think we know what we have to do.”
Friday will be the last game of the season for the Hawkeyes. Iowa can’t get to six wins to be bowl-eligible.
“Last game of the year. It’s our bowl game,” Iowa sophomore running back Mark Weisman said.
“We don’t have any postseason,” Iowa senior cornerback Micah Hyde said. “Go out there, lay it on the line. It’s about pride now.”
Nebraska senior linebacker Alonzo Whaley said he knows Iowa might be extra salty.
“You can’t go in and look at a team and say they don’t have anything and we can just go in and get through this,” Whaley said. “The coaches make us look at it in the perspective of this team having nothing to lose, so they are going to give us everything they’ve got.”
Friday will be the first time Nebraska has visited Kinnick Stadium since 1999.
Nebraska joined the Big Ten last season, and Iowa became the natural rival for the Huskers. The game was slotted in the traditional rivalry spot in the final week of the season.
But more than a few Husker players, when asked about the rivalry Monday, weren’t feeling it.
“It feels like another game,” Compton said.
“We just got into the conference, and I think later on down the road it will feel a lot better,” Martinez said. “Right now, it’s starting to get there.”
Nebraska owns a 27-12-3 advantage in the all-time series and are 6-1 since 1947. The Huskers also have five National Champion trophies in Lincoln.
“Nebraska already has the best program in the country,” Whaley said. “I guess Iowa’s football program is building up and it really turns into a rivalry game with the football programs.
“It’s a Nebraska-Iowa thing, and I think I’ve grown to realize we have something towards each other. Just being one of the best football programs in the country, I think Iowa would have to build their program and make it more of a football program as well.”
Iowa can try to make it this rivalry something Nebraska fears and respects. But as a 16.5-point underdog, not many people think its going to happen Friday.
“We’ll show up ready to win on Friday,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “When that’s over, we’ll address what’s in front of us.
“It’s not much fun, but we’ll get back to work and focus on finding solutions. Seeing what we can do to get back to where we want to be.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football