Linebacker Alonzo Whaley led a Nebraska defense that frustrated Iowa almost from start to finish Friday at Kinnick Stadium. In addition to leading the Cornhuskers with 11 tackles, Whaley picked off a James Vandenberg pass with 2 minutes, 11 seconds remaining in the game, ending the Hawkeyes’ final chance for an upset.
A 61-yard punt by Connor Kornbrath left the Cornhuskers inside their own 1-yard line with just over 12 minutes left in Friday’s game, but consecutive runs of nine and eight yards by Rex Burkhead following a 1-yard gain by Taylor Martinez let Nebraska wiggle its way out of trouble. The Hawkeyes forced a punt after seven plays, but answered with a 3-and-out.
Iowa totaled a season-low 200 yards of offense against Nebraska, rushing for 108 and being held to just 92 yards through the air on James Vandenberg’s 11-of-24 passing performance. It marked the first time the Hawkeyes finished with fewer than 100 passing yards in a game since it totaled 72 yards in a 22-17 win over Purdue on Nov. 15, 2008.
“If we don’t take anything else from this season, we have to understand just how important two, three plays are in every game, how you have to make the most of every single play. We had so many close games where one, two plays could have turned it. That’s what makes this tough. All year, we were close.”
— Iowa wide receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley