In the span of less than a minute of game time, Iowa made two terrible special teams mistakes against Nebraska.
Just inside the 10:30 mark of the first quarter, Hawkeyes punter Colten Rastetter inexplicably dropped a snap that was right to him. Seriously, it was a perfect snap that somehow went through his hands and hit him in the chest.
Three plays later, Nebraska took advantage of the gaffe and took a 7-0 lead on this awesome one-handed touchdown catch by Stanley Morgan.
On the ensuing kickoff, Iowa returner Ihmir Smith-Marsette made things tough on his offense.
That kickoff by Nebraska’s Drew Brown was angled perfectly near the pylon, but instead of letting the ball land and bounce either out of bounds or into the end zone, Smith-Marsette caught the ball. His momentum carried him out of bounds at the one-yard line, giving his team terrible field position.
Fortunately for Smith-Marsette, his offense picked him up. The Hawkeyes marched right down the field and capped off a 99-yard drive with a 20-yard Akrum Wadley touchdown run on third-and-8. It was an impressive run.
But it wasn’t all bad for Iowa’s special teams in the first half. The Hawkeyes’ kick block unit was able to sniff out a fake field goal try from the Huskers in the second quarter.
And after Nebraska took a 14-7 lead, Rastetter helped his team get a first down by really selling this running into the punter penalty against the Huskers.
The penalty put the Iowa offense back on the field and led to the touchdown that made it 14-14 at halftime.
The second half was a much different story. The Hawkeyes stormed out of the gates and scored three times in the first seven minutes of the second half and went on to win in a rout, 56-14.
The game will likely Nebraska coach Mike Riley’s last one in Lincoln, with new Huskers athletic director Bill Moos seemingly looking to make a change. Riley has an 18-20 overall record (12-14 Big Ten) in three seasons at Nebraska.
Meanwhile, there were significant financial ramifications on the line for Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz and his assistants to get to win No. 7. And there’s more at stake contractually if Iowa reaches win No. 8 in a bowl game.
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