This wasn’t James Vandenberg’s finest moment, and it clearly was Marvin McNutt’s worst game of the season. Other than Marcus Coker, who rushed for 87 yards despite limited opportunities in the second half, no one really looked very good. Vandenberg was 4-for-10 for 36 yards in the first half, and McNutt had two catches for one yard before padding his stats with a pair of receptions late in the game. The Hawkeyes managed just 270 yards of offense and 113 of those (and their only touchdown) came in garbage time after Nebraska took a 20-0 fourth-quarter lead.
Nebraska started with bad field position several times, and that probably kept the Cornhuskers from piling up more points than they did. The Hawkeyes had trouble getting off the field as Nebraska had the ball for nearly 38 minutes to just 22 for Iowa. Rex Burkhead rushed for 160 yards against the Hawks, although he needed a school-record 38 carries to do it. The Hawks occasionally made a pretty mediocre quarterback, Taylor Martinez, look pretty good.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C+
There was nothing glaringly bad here, but nothing really outstanding, either. Punter Eric Guthrie had a decent day, pinning Nebraska deep in its territory a few times. Kicker Mike Meyer was only on the field twice (one kickoff, one extra point). His backup, Trent Mossbrucker executed a nice onside kick in the fourth quarter that the Hawkeyes had a chance to recover. The kickoff and punt returns and kick coverage were fairly average.
Again, nothing really horrible. But nothing really great, either. When it was clear Nebraska was going to do everything it could to silence McNutt, the Iowa coaches seemed slow to adjust by using other targets, such as tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz. The Hawkeyes again went conservative by sitting on the ball when they got it at the end of the first half. It was forgivable this time since they only had about 30 seconds, instead of a couple of minutes, as they sometimes have in the past.