116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
A look at the Iowa Hawkeyes’ 24-17 loss to the Nebraska Cornhuskers Friday at Kinnick Stadium.
Iowa starting cornerback Cooper DeJean was injured on Nebraska’s first offensive series and didn’t play the rest of the game. He was replaced by freshman T.J. Hall, whose playing time this season has been primarily on special teams.
Nebraska pounced on his inexperience. On first-and-10 at its own 13, quarterback Casey Thompson dropped back and threw a perfect long ball over the middle to outstanding wide receiver Trey Palmer, who had beaten Hall on a double move.
A mere 87 yards later, and Nebraska had a touchdown and a two-score lead of 10-0 from which Iowa could never recover.
By the numbers
7 — Iowa’s seven-game winning streak against Nebraska was halted.
14 — Iowa’s winning streak in November ends at this number.
5 — This was the fifth-straight Nebraska-Iowa game decided by one score.
300 — Kirk Ferentz coached his 300th game as Iowa’s coach Friday. He is 185-115.
10 —The Hawkeyes had won their last 10 Friday games.
* The pregame Senior Day ceremony recognized 27 Iowa players.
There were big ovations. Many big ovations.
* At 53 degrees Fahrenheit, this was easily the warmest Nebraska-Iowa Black Friday game at Kinnick Stadium since the first one in 2012.
The warmest had been 44 degrees. In 2012, it was 31 at kickoff with a 26 mph wind.
* ESPN reported Nebraska is nearing a deal with Matt Rhule for him to become the next Huskers’ coach.
Rhule was 28-23 in four years as Temple’s coach, 19-20 in three years at Baylor, and 11-27 in two years-plus with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. His first Temple team went 2-10. His last two Owls clubs won 10 games apiece.
Baylor was 1-11 in Rhule’s first season, 11-3 in his third and final year.
* Iowa City West grad Oliver Martin played wide receiver for Nebraska and returned punts. Martin began his college career at Michigan before transferring to Iowa, where he stayed for a year.
Martin then transferred to Nebraska in 2020 as a walk-on. He went into Saturday’s game with 10 catches this season, including one for a touchdown.
* The 17-0 halftime score was the largest lead Nebraska has had in this series since it led 20-0 in 2011. The Cornhuskers ended up winning that game, 20-7.
Running back Rex Burkhead rushed for 160 yards and a touchdown for Nebraska. Burkhead now plays for the NFL’s Houston Texans.
Of course, Nebraska immediately extended that advantage with a touchdown on its first drive of the second half.
DeJean was injured on Nebraska’s first possession and taken to the medical tent. His game was done, and he was replaced by Hall. A freshman from Fresno, Calif., Hall had four tackles in 11 previous games, primarily playing on special teams. He was beaten on an 87-yard TD pass from Thompson to Palmer in the first quarter and an 18-yard TD pass from Thompson to Palmer in the second.
He then was replaced by sophomore walk-on Jamison Heinz, a converted wide receiver from Humboldt. Heinz was beaten on Nebraska’s third TD, a 14-yard TD pass from Thompson to Marcus Washington.
Hawkeye quarterback Spencer Petras went to the same tent midway through the first quarter, shaking his right arm. His game was done, and he was replaced by Alex Padilla. Petras wore a sling on his right arm on the sidelines.
Hawkeye tight end Sam LaPorta, linebacker Jay Higgins and fullback Monte Pottebaum missed the game because of injury. Wide receiver Keagan Johnson, who has been injured most of this season, participated in pregame warmups and played in the second half.
Iowa can only reach next Saturday’s Big Ten title game if Purdue (at Indiana) and Illinois (at Northwestern) lose Saturday. Otherwise, the Hawkeyes will learn their bowl destination Sunday, Dec. 4.