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Hawkeyes are prepared for hostile environment at Nebraska

[ 0 ] November 27, 2013 |

IOWA CITY, Ia. – Christian Kirksey’s memories of Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium remain vivid.

“Just seeing a lot of red and a lot of people yelling,” Iowa’s senior linebacker said. “It was a good college environment.”

Kirksey was a sophomore when the Hawkeyes traveled to Lincoln, Neb., two years ago. So he knows what to expect when they return Friday for an 11 a.m. showdown that’ll be televised on ABC.

“It got loud at points,” Kirksey recalled. “I was sitting on the sideline when our offense was out there, and (fans) were yelling and screaming.”

Iowa likely won’t be as flustered this time around.

The Hawkeyes (7-4) have played well on the road this season, beating Iowa State, Minnesota and Purdue.

They also made a solid showing at Ohio State. Iowa was tied with the Buckeyes Oct. 19 at the Horseshoe entering the fourth quarter before falling 34-24.

“I think overall we’ve played well on the road,” coach Kirk Ferentz said. “That’s probably a sign of the maturation, sign of the leadership we’re getting.

“So there’s reason to believe we have a chance to handle this (trip to Nebraska) better than we had maybe in the past.”

Iowa’s last win at Nebraska came in 1943, and the last success of any kind against the Cornhuskers came in 1981.

The Big Red Nation didn’t become Big Ten members until 2011.

“We haven’t beaten them in a while,” Ferentz said. “Like decades.”

Nebraska scored a 20-7 victory two years ago in Memorial Stadium, holding the Hawkeyes to 88 rushing yards and forcing two turnovers.

“It’s going to be a tough environment to play in,” linebacker James Morris said. “Same way Kinnick (Stadium) is when people come.

“We’ve played in big stadiums before, but it’s certainly going to be a challenge and similar to other venues we play in.”

If the Hawkeyes meet that challenge, it would give them four road wins in a single season for the first time since 2009.

Iowa compiled a 4-10 road record from 2010 to 2012. A win at Nebraska would mean a 4-1 road mark in 2013 after going 4-8 overall a year ago.

This year’s team seems oblivious to location.

“Whether you’re a home or away team, playing in a big, loud, rowdy stadium is a lot more fun than playing for crickets,” Morris said.

A win would secure the Hawkeyes a second-place tie in the Big Ten’s Legends Division and possibly enhance their status in the bowl pecking order.

“It’s never easy going to another team’s stadium,” quarterback Jake Rudock said. “Especially Nebraska, their fans are crazy. They’ll be loud and ready to go.”

Iowa will be ready to go, as well.

“We have to understand we can handle the environment, but not just say because we did it before we can do it again,” Rudock said. “We have to understand this is a completely new environment, and we really need to concentrate and communicate real well.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Andrew Logue: Andrew has been with the Des Moines Register for 15 years, covering everything from preps to Hawkeye and Cyclone sports, as well as the Drake Relays. View author profile.

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