Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

Nebraska vs. Iowa, 11/24/17

Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee (13) is sacked in the third quarter of Friday's game at Memorial Stadium.

ERIC GREGORY, Journal Star


Nebraska ran the ball about like what you would expect from the nation's 117th-ranked rushing offense. The Huskers finished with 67 yards, averaging only 3.2 per carry.


Tanner Lee threw three interceptions, pushing his season total to 16 (against 23 touchdown passes). He escaped immediate disaster when his first pass attempt was knocked from his throwing hand and ruled a fumble that was returned for a touchdown, but the fumble call was overturned — ruled an incomplete pass. Lee had a so-so game from there, going 22-for-41 for 205 yards. On the bright side, Stanley Morgan's one-handed touchdown grab in the first quarter was a beauty. Lee had the wind at his back in the second quarter, and went to work, gunning a 28-yard touchdown pass to Morgan.


Nebraska was flat-out awful in this regard, allowing 313 yards and an unsightly 6.7 per carry. Akrum Wadley made a couple of nice moves on his 20-yard first-quarter touchdown run, but the fact is three Huskers were basically unblocked and should've gotten a good shot at the runner. It was a case of poor fundamentals. Iowa cranked up its running game in the second quarter while headed into the wind, rushing eight times for 94 yards. The Hawkeyes kept hammering away in the third quarter as they seized control of the game.


Nate Stanley was 4-for-6 for 28 yards during Iowa's 15-play, 99-yard touchdown drive in the first quarter. Keep in mind, the Hawkeyes entered the day ranked 117th in total offense. Stanley was 11-for-15 for 80 yards at halftime. I'm sure Nebraska fans just loved seeing Omaha South graduate Noah Fant, all 6-foot-5 and 232 pounds of him, rumbling down the field in the third quarter with a 68-yard catch-and-run touchdown to push Iowa's lead to 42-14.


Nebraska suffered a major letdown as Iowa's Ihmir Smith-Marsette returned the kickoff to begin the second half 74 yards, setting up a touchdown. The Huskers' punt-return defense also was shaky; Matt Vandeberg had returns of 14 and 17 yards. However, the Huskers caught a big break earlier in the game when Hawkeyes punter Colten Rastetter dropped a perfect snap on the visitors' first possession. He was tackled immediately at his own 15, and NU made the Hawkeyes pay in the form of Lee's 14-yard touchdown pass to Morgan.


Nebraska played a relatively clean game (three penalties for 19 yards). But redshirt freshman Tony Butler ran into the punter in the second quarter, and it proved costly as Iowa was handed a first down en route to scoring a touchdown that tied the game at 14-14.


I liked the call for a flip pass from place-holder Zack Darlington to Luke McNitt out of field-goal formation in the second quarter. But Iowa diagnosed the trickery well and tackled McNitt for a 5-yard loss. Once again, Nebraska's problems range far beyond play-calling, so it seems silly to nitpick this area.


"I had to evaluate where Iowa was." You get the feeling Iowa's program has Shawn Eichorst's words from 2014 in mind every time the Hawkeyes play the Huskers.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.


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