Sports writer

Parker joined the Journal Star as the University of Nebraska football beat writer in August 2017. He previously covered Montana State athletics for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2012.

Nebraska vs. Iowa, 11/24/17

Nebraska defensive lineman Mick Stoltenberg (44) and linebacker Chris Weber (49) gang up on Iowa running back Akrum Wadley (25) during the first half Friday at Memorial Stadium.

GWYNETH ROBERTS, Journal Star

Nebraska football writer Parker Gabriel offers his extra points from Nebraska's 56-14 season-ending loss to Iowa.

Turning point: A Tony Butler running-into-the-punter penalty turned a fourth-and-4 for the Hawkeyes into a first down. Instead of the Huskers getting the ball back up 14-7 with a little less than five minutes remaining in the first half, the penalty gave the Hawkeyes a first down at the their own 36. Eight plays later, they scored to tie the game. It was the first of 49 consecutive Iowa points.

It was over when: The Huskers turned the ball over on downs with 1 minute, 20 seconds remaining in the third quarter, trailing 35-14. It was probably over before that, but two plays later, Nate Stanley hit Noah Fant for a 68-yard touchdown and a 42-14 lead. It was really, really over at that point.

Quotable: Quarterback Tanner Lee on huddling the offense together just before the end of the game:

“We just had a little personal talk. Those are the guys I’ve been fighting with for 12 games and I wanted to tell them that I appreciated them. I know this wasn’t easy, but not one guy stopped playing hard, not one guy quit. That’s admirable and I just wanted to tell them that and thanks for all their hard work all season.”

Game ball: Noah Fant came back to Nebraska and caught three passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns. His last, a 68-yarder in the third quarter, felt like salt in the wound for the Huskers. Fant earned a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct for diving across the goal line in celebration.

Game ball: A salute to Chris Weber. I only covered him for one season, but he’s about as class an act as you’ll find.

Notable performance: The Iowa offensive line hadn’t earned a whole lot of praise this year — the Hawkeyes’ offense entered No. 117 in total offense — but they dominated Friday. Iowa rushed 47 times for 313 yards and six touchdowns, churning out 6.7 yards per carry. In 11 games before this one, Iowa averaged 127 rushing yards per game.

Deep connection: Not so deep, but Keyan Williams’ first career catch came at a big moment early in the game. In the game for injured JD Spielman, Williams hauled in a 19-yard completion in traffic over the middle on a first-quarter third-and-10 throw from Lee.

Numbers for the road

1968: The last year Nebraska failed to win three games at Memorial Stadium. The Huskers finished 2-5 at home this season.

23: Average margin of defeat in those five home games, including a pair of 56-14 losses to Ohio State and Iowa.

10: Runs of 20-plus yards for Nebraska in 12 games, including just three in the final six.

3.5: Yards per rush averaged on the season for NU.

494: Team-best rushing yards for junior Devine Ozigbo. That’s just 195 more than sophomore Tre Bryant, who played in just two games before suffering a season-ending knee injury against Oregon on Sept. 9.

11: Players in NU history with 100 career receptions. That list now includes De’Mornay Pierson-El, who finished his senior season with 45 catches, 623 yards and five touchdowns. Not bad for a third option.

3: Times this season the Huskers gave up 42 points in a half — the first half against Oregon, the first half against Penn State and the second half against Iowa.

Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.

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