As much fun as this 2017 journey has been, it will sadly come to an end for our Huskers on Friday, win or lose. The opponent, as always since joining the B1G but now in jeopardy thanks to one of the many logical thought-challenged decisions by Shawn Eichorst, will be the Iowa Hawkeyes.
For our final Q&A, Max Brekke(GospelofMax) of Black Heart Gold Pants was kind enough to answer some of our questions regarding the game and the rivalry. He expects a closer game than many Husker fans might, thinks that Iowa might be ok with moving on to a Black Friday game with another rival and had no funny Kirk ferentz stories, dammit.
On with the Q&A:
1) So you ran the Buckeyes out of the stadium, then...what the hell happened? (Not poking at you, completely serious)
Iowa played an absolutely perfect game against Ohio State and everyone knew it wasn’t going to happen again, but yeesh. No one thought that the offense was going to turn into what it’s been the past couple games, but a little bit of everything has plagued them - pass catchers have a nasty case of the drops, Iowa’s offensive line has been absolutely abysmal in both pass protection and run blocking, and Nate Stanley, who was great through the Ohio State game, hasn’t had great games the last couple weeks. The defense hasn’t been great (although they’ve outscored the offense in the past two games!), but you can chalk up the last two performances to Brian Ferentz’s poor playcalling and the offense’s bad execution.
2) Where are we in this rivalry thing? (Nebraska has literally never had a primary rival. Oklahoma and Texas had each other, everyone knew Colorado would flame out sooner or later, the forced Penn St thing was silly, etc.) Does Iowa have a THE RIVAL? Are we getting on each other’s nerves enough that it might happen?
It’s all about the Quadrangle of Hate, baby! Iowa fans probably designate Wisconsin as THE rival, which helps when the series is pretty close, but I’m not sure if Badger fans would pick Iowa to be the one. Iowa State is also in the mix - they’re in-state rivals, the series is generally competitive (and weird) enough in both basketball and football, and the fans mostly come from different backgrounds, which only breeds more contempt.
I think a lot of Iowa fans would gladly embrace Nebraska as their big rival - there’s certainly a lot of hatred there - but the whole “it’s not a rivalry” thing may never go away. I think it’s all sort of a cover up for a rivalry happening, but I think the reluctance mostly comes Nebraska fans because of Iowa’s lack of national championships. Maybe it’s already a thing!
3) One of the lesser reasons Shawn Eichorst is Nebraska’s former athletic director is that he infamously put forward that Nebraska didn’t need to play on the Friday after Thanksgiving anymore and that we didn’t need to play Iowa in the season finale, going so far as to suggest Minnesota instead. Nebraska fans disagreed strenuously on both counts. New AD, Bill Moos has wasted no time stating that things should remain as they are. In your view where does Iowa stand on Black Friday’s game?
When Eichorst said that Nebraska wanted no part of the Black Friday game, Ferentz and AD Gary Barta went on the record as saying they loved playing the day after Thanksgiving. There were rumblings that they were going to try to pursue playing Wisconsin on Black Friday when the time came, and there seemed to be mutual interest from Wisconsin’s camp. I’d honestly be surprised if that didn’t happen, but we’re still a ways away so anything is possible.
4) Iowa has had trouble moving the ball the last couple of games and now faces Bob Diaco’s terrifying revamped 3-4. By how many yards do you expect to eclipse the 409 that Minnesota rolled up on us two weeks ago? Has Wadley ever run for over 200 in a game?
Akrum Wadley boasted a 200 yard game a couple years ago against Northwestern, but what better time to have a repeat performance than his final regular season college football game? If the offensive line can get him some breathing room and the coaching staff puts him in space rather than running him off guard and to the short side of the field, he can go off against what’s been a poor rush defense.
Iowa will eclipse Minnesota’s yardage by about -150, in my professional opinion. Offense is for LOSERS.
5) Does Kirk Ferentz ever say or do funny things that we just don’t hear about? An example or two would be awesome.
No, but that’s football.
6) Prediction time - how will Iowa write the final chapter in the Mike Riley Era?
I’m confident that the Hawkeyes can win this one, but I don’t think it’ll be the bloodbath it was last season. With the offense sputtering, I think the Husker defense and a little bit of hatred are the perfect antidote to get this thing righted at the end of the season. Put me down for 24-20, Iowa.