Steve Batterson grades Iowa’s performance in its 13-7 loss to Nebraska:
Aside from a game-opening scoring drive, Iowa turned in another lackluster offensive performance. The Hawkeyes finished with a season-low 200 yards of offense and were held to their worst passing performance in four seasons, totaling 72 yards through the air in a game where winds severely impacted the passing game for both teams. Two second-half interceptions by James Vandenberg didn’t help and Iowa’s 5-of-15 effort on third down continued season-long struggles there, highlighting this team’s inability to make critical plays at critical moments. The Hawkeyes failed to capitalize on two turnovers, wasting opportunities against an opponent that was ripe for the picking.
It went for naught, but the Hawkeyes defense turned in one of its better performances of the season against the Cornhuskers. Iowa held the Big Ten’s second-most potent offense to a season-low 13 points and limited Nebraska to 200 rushing yards, 56.9 below its league-best season average. The Cornhuskers settled for field goals on their initial drives of each half and followed a short punt with a 43-yard drive for their go-ahead score in the third quarter. Louis-Trinca Pasat recovered a Taylor Martinez fumble in the second quarter
SPECIAL TEAMS: C-
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It was a hot-and-cold day for Iowa on special teams. The good? Micah Hyde recovered a fumbled punt in the second quarter and freshman Connor Kornbrath left the Cornhuskers on their own 1-yard line with a 61-yard punt early in the fourth quarter. The bad? A 31-yard punt by Kornbrath positioned Nebraska on the Iowa 43-yard line and four plays away from a game-deciding touchdown in the third quarter. Otherwise, the Hawkeyes returned just one punt – Hyde ran one back 29 yards – and unlike its opposition, Iowa did not have a turnover after fielding six Cornhusker punts.
Iowa’s inability to gain a needed yard in two tries after facing a 3rd-and-1 situation on the Nebraska 39-yard continued to add to the collection of befuddling play calls the Hawkeyes have had this season. That situation, following the first of Nebraska’s two second-quarter fumbles, was followed by a 1-yard gain on a 3rd-and-9 pass which led to a 3-and-out deep in Iowa territory in the third quarter. Confusion led to Iowa’s lone penalty of the game – an extra player was on the field following a timeout – and the five-yard walk off preceded a missed field goal in the second quarter.