GAME 12: MEMORIAL STADIUM, 11 A.M.
IOWA AT NEBRASKA
RADIO: WOC 1420 AM
LINE: Nebraska by 3
SERIES: Nebraska 28-12-3
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
Ameer Abdullah’s feet
No Nebraska running back has rushed for as many as the 1,483 yards that Ameer Abdullah has collected this season since Ahman Green ran for 1,877 in 1997. The junior I-back leads the Big Ten in rushing with an average of 134.8 yards per game. He has topped 100 yards in 10 of the 11 games the Cornhuskers have played this season.
Iowa’s defensive line
An improved Iowa defensive line that is expected to start juniors Carl Davis, Louis Trinca-Pasat and Mike Hardy as well as sophomore Drew Ott will line up against an injury-riddled Nebraska offensive front. The four have helped the Hawkeyes limit their last opponents to 53 and 60 rushing yards. Starters Jake Cotton, Jeremiah Sirles, Cole Pensick and Mike Moudy have dealt with injuries in recent weeks after the Cornhuskers lost standout Spencer Long for the year.
Randy Gregory on the edge
Sophomore defensive end Randy Gregory has had a breakout season for Nebraska since transferring from Arizona Western Community College. He leads the Big Ten with 8.5 sacks on the season and trails only Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier with 16 tackles for a loss. The Fishers, Ind., native also leads the Cornhuskers with 17 quarterback hurries.
Whoever is behind center
Three quarterbacks have seen action for Nebraska and it is possible that the Cornhuskers could have their third starting quarterback of the year today. Injuries limited senior Taylor Martinez to four starts and his replacement, Tommy Armstrong, is questionable today with an ankle injury. Ron Kellogg, a senior walk-on who shared snaps with Armstrong in his seven starts, will start if Armstrong cannot go.
Iowa’s balancing act
The Hawkeyes have strived for a balanced offensive attack in Jake Rudock’s first season as the starting quarterback and they pretty much have achieved that. Through 11 games, Iowa has rushed for 2,107 yards and thrown for 2,279. Iowa is averaging 5.5 yards per play, up from the 4.7 yards the Hawkeyes averaged in 2012.
— Steve Batterson
Iowa (7-4, 4-3)
INTERCEPTIONS: B.J. Lowery 3, Tanner Miller 3, James Morris 3
SACKS: James Morris 5, Drew Ott 2.5, Dominic Alvis 2, Anthony Hitchens 2
TACKLES: Anthony Hitchens 95, James Morris 89, Christian Kirksey 86, John Lowdermilk 66, Desmond King 55
PUNT RETURNS: Kevonte Martin-Manley 18-292-16.2, Riley McCarron 2-8-4.0
KICKOFF RETURNS: Jordan Cotton 24-538-22.4, Macon Plewa 2-41-20.5, Adam Cox 2-32-16.0
Nebraska (8-3, 5-2)
INTERCEPTIONS: Ciante Evans 4, Stanley Jean-Baptiste 4
SACKS: Randy Gregory 7.5, Avery Moss 4.5, Ciante Evans 3, Zaire Anderson 3
TACKLES: David Santos 77, Corey Cooper 74, Randy Gregory 56, Ciante Evans 42, Zaire Anderson 42
PUNT RETURNS: Jordan Westerkamp 17-46-2.7, Jamal Turner 2-6-3.0
KICKOFF RETURNS: Kenny Bell 17-502-29.5, Alonzo Moore 5-116-23.2, Ameer Abdullah 3-59-19.7
IOWA LB ANTHONY HITCHENS VS. NEBRASKA RB AHMEER ABDULLAH: The Hawkeyes’ senior will be challenged by a back attempting to finish the season as the Big Ten’s rushing leader. Hitchens leads Iowa with 95 tackles this season, including a team-high 13 tackles for a loss. His quickness to the edge will be important against a Cornhuskers’ rushing attack which favors the perimeter. Abdullah has averaged 6.4 yards per carry while collecting 1,483 yards on 231 carries. No other Nebraska back has rushed more than 81 times.
BY THE NUMBERS
1943: Last season Iowa won in Lincoln, defeating the Cornhuskers 33-13. The Hawkeyes have lost in five visits since, including 20-7 two years ago in the first meeting between the teams as Big Ten opponents.
2,107: Iowa’s team rushing total is the highest single-season total since Shonn Greene led a 2,453-yard attack in 2008 with 1,850 yards
HE SAID IT
“Winning on the road is never easy and it won’t be easy at Nebraska. Their fans are crazy and I know they’ll get after it. They’ll be loud and it will be a different environment from what we’ve played in. Every road environment is different, but we’ve shown we can deal with that and we will need to again.’’ — Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock
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Steve Batterson will grade Iowa’s performance from today’s game against Nebraska.
I wore glasses to keep the bugs out of my eyes and my hair was blown straight back by the time I got home, but it was a good deal.’’