LINCOLN, Neb. — Iowa dominated up front to stake itself to 14-3 lead against Nebraska in a bid for its first win against the Cornhuskers since 1981.
A crowd of 91,260 watched the Hawkeyes position themselves for a Black Friday victory.
A huge swing developed after a Nebraska penalty in the first quarter erased a long gain.
Nebraska quarterback Ron Kellogg, in his first career start, connected on a pass to Taariq Allen inside the Iowa 20 — but was called for illegal touching after returning to the field from out of bounds.
On the next play, Iowa linebacker Anthony Hitchens stepped in front of a pass for an interception that ended at the Cornhusker 44-yard line. The drive stalled, however, on a failed fourth-down attempt at the Nebraska 24.
Two plays later, another linebacker recorded another interception for Iowa.
James Morris dove to corral a Kellogg pass at the Nebraska 25 — and the Hawkeyes scored on a 10-yard, third-and-goal pass from Jake Rudock to C.J. Fiedorowicz for a 7-0 lead with 16 seconds to play in the opening quarter.
Iowa routinely started in Nebraska territory, scoring its second touchdown on its fourth trip that began on the Cornhuskers’ side of the field.
On first down from the Nebraska 41, Jordan Canzeri caught a Rudock swing pass and — with a quick cut — turned a 5-yard gain into 29 yards. Running back Mark Weisman shed four tacklers from the 12 on the next play to bull to the 1.
One snap later, Weisman scored and Iowa pushed its lead to 14-0 with 5:15 to play in the half.
Nebraska scored its points on a 33-yard field goal by Pat Smith with 31 seconds left in the half.
Iowa, which entered the game with seven wins, is bidding to double its victory total from a season ago.
3 KEYS FOR IOWA IN THE SECOND HALF
1. HOG THE BALL: Iowa controlled the clock for much of the first half. A repeat after halftime could give the Hawkeyes their first Big Ten win against Nebraska.
2. RUN-GAME BALANCE: The 1-2 punch of Mark Weisman and Jordan Canzeri was effective early. Weisman provides the bulk; Canzeri provides the burst.
3. ONE BIG PLAY: The game has that feeling where a long pass or special teams play could be enough to tip the scales.