Tom Shatel, Omaha World-Herald: Fall back to old habits hint Nebraska’s uphill climb continues
Two years ago, after Nebraska won a thrilling overtime game at Kinnick Stadium to notch its ninth victory of the season, Cotton came walking up the tunnel to the locker room. To no one in particular, he shouted:
“Nine wins, baby!”
Two years later, none of the 9-3 Nebraska football coaches or players was celebrating the accomplishment.
I suppose that’s progress.
Progress is where you find it. It was nowhere to be found at Kinnick Stadium on this lackluster Nebraska Black Friday.
Steve Sipple, Lincoln Journal-Star: No good excuses for being pummeled by ordinary Iowa team
It goes without saying that Iowa's effort was exponentially better than Nebraska's — a rather bizarre occurrence if you think about it in the context of the Huskers entering the day in contention to win the Big Ten West Division. Maybe, with a win, they could've put some heat on sixth-ranked Wisconsin.
That just sounds ridiculous now.
Nebraska couldn't even put a minor dent into Iowa, which had lost 41-14 to Penn State only three games ago. Ferentz's crew was playing for pride, for its seniors on Senior Day and for a trip to the Holiday Bowl. The Hawkeyes showed a lot more pride than the visitors.
Mark Emmert, Des Moines Register: Plain to see, Iowa has ‘great time’ in romp of Nebraska
It had been 11 long weeks since the Hawkeye players had been able to smile so freely throughout a game at Kinnick Stadium. They had been locked in tense home games ever since blowing out Iowa State in Week 2. Then another rival from the West came to town, and Iowa quickly made Nebraska regret it.
The Hawkeyes (8-4, 6-3 Big Ten Conference) unleashed a trio of long gains in the first half to roll to a 20-3 lead that stunned the No. 15 Cornhuskers (9-3, 6-3) and delighted the majority of an announced crowd of 69,814.
Kittle, who has been battling an ankle injury for weeks, said it was evident early on that the Hawkeyes were on a different plane.
“We all just kind of looked at each other like, ‘OK, we’re gonna run the ball down their throats. And that was just kind of the vibe on the sideline,” he said after Iowa found early success.
Ben Ross, BHGP: The Husking
I think there was a decent amount of nervousness in Hawkeye land going in to this game. An Iowa loss, and apathy would likely engulf the fanbase. And if the Hawkeyes got blown out at home on senior day? Forget about it.
Instead, this Iowa team took its drubbing at the hands of Penn State from a month ago as a wake-up call and rattled off three straight wins to finish the season at 8-4 when many thought five or six wins was the ceiling for this team.
RossWB. Go Iowa Awesome: Hawkeye Seniors Smash Huskers On Senior Day
Iowa's seniors absolutely ran the show on Friday. Beathard still wasn't at his best, but he was still effective and had his best game in ages, going 10/15 for 144 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. He even threw in a magnificent naked bootleg late in the game to extend an Iowa drive.
LeShun Daniels had 158 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries, pacing the Iowa ground attack. (Akrum Wadley wasn't bad himself, adding 105 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.) Riley McCarron gave Iowa a 100-yard receiver for the first time in, uh, a really long time with 108 yards and a touchdown on five carries. Kittle only had two receptions, but he made them count, with both going for touchdowns.
Turns out, 62-3 wasn’t even the worst day of Nebraska’s season. When Husker fans think back on 2016, the day they’ll regret most is Black Friday at Kinnick Stadium. It was worse because the opponent wasn’t a top-five team. Worse because Nebraska’s starting quarterback wasn’t knocked out of action before halftime. Worse because, well, it’s Iowa.
The Hawkeyes played like they wanted to prove a point to new rival. The Huskers played like they were stuffed with tryptophan. The defense didn’t tackle. The offense couldn’t find a rhythm. Nebraska got out-muscled, out-run and out-disciplined. They looked ill-prepared.
“By no means were they as good as the score ...” safety Nate Gerry said. “I don’t think they were 40 points better, 30 points better, whatever the hell the score was.”
Yet the Hawkeyes dominated every phase. The poise and experience that paved the way to nine Husker wins disappeared.
#Huskers hit a wall tonight. Don't know why. Not the team I've seen most all season. Could be spent. Don't know.— Brian Rosenthal (@GBRosenthal) November 25, 2016
NU DC Mark Banker on Iowa's physicality: "I bet their practices are like a bloodbath, because both sides of the ball kind of emulate that."— Samuel McKewon (@swmckewonOWH) November 26, 2016
On the plus side we don't have to watch Wisconsin and Minnesota play football. #huskers— Ryan Donohue (@DigitalRyan) November 26, 2016
I know people hate perspective when they are upset but 9-3 considering where Nebraska was last year (5-7) is a BIG step forward. #Huskers— Nick Bahe (@NickBahe) November 26, 2016