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Five Reasons Nebraska Will Win: Iowa

Five reasons to be thankful Nebraska is playing Iowa

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Iowa Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Isn’t that refreshing? Culture and Coaching.

One: The Weather Will Be More Cooperative in Iowa City

I went down onto the field last Saturday with about five minutes left in the fourth quarter.

It. Was. Cold.

I know this is not a newsflash for ANYBODY, but I was somewhat surprised how uncomfortably cold it was last Saturday. Oh, and the wind. That did not help my comfort level either.

Another thing it did not help was the ability for Nebraska to run it’s offense. It was a chore for either team to score points.

Nebraska’s scoring drives were of 36, 17, and 23 yards. It was tough sledding last Saturday.

Well luckily for Nebraska, and not so luckily for Iowa, the weather tomorrow is going to be much more friendly to what Nebraska wants to do compared to what Iowa wants to do.

Yes there is a chance of rain, but that will be better than the cold wind that Adrian Martinez had to deal with in Lincoln last weekend.

Two: The Same Uncreative Offense Two Weeks In A Row

Michigan State has been running the same offensive scheme since Teddy Roosevelt invented the atomic bomb.

Iowa has been running their same offensive scheme since Francis Scott-Key built the Golden Gate Bridge.

Of course the offensives aren’t exactly the same. Iowa uses more zone-blocking than Michigan but both teams are happy if the final score is 13-10. They run the ball here and there. And then they run the ball a little more here and there. Then they set up the play-action pass. And then BOOM some other tight end besides Noah Fant catches it because he is considered a “specialist” even though he’ll probably be a first round NFL Draft pick next year.

I digress...

While the schemes technically may be different, there are a lot of similarities in what Michigan State runs and what Iowa runs on offense. This will be a benefit for the Nebraska defense as they have a warm-up for what they’ll see in Iowa City.

Like Michigan State, Iowa’s offense is not creative. But that does not mean that it isn’t productive. They are good at what they do.

I would rather Nebraska have the warm-up the week before than not having experienced the physicality from Iowa that they will be getting.

That is nothing like what Scott Frost and company will be running tomorrow. The offense that Iowa has seen that compares to Nebraska’s offense is Purdue, and Purdue put up 38 points and over 400 yards of total offense against the vaunted Iowa defense.

Three: Nebraska Has Learned To Close Out Games

I think we can all remember the nightmare that was Northwestern. There was almost zero reason why Nebraska should not have closed that game out.

But give respect where it is due. Nebraska found a way to give that game away.

This past week Offensive Coordinator Troy Walters brought up the failure that was the Northwestern game:

“You look back to Northwestern. We needed a first down and we didn’t get it. And they end up scoring and winning the game.”

Well fast forward to Michigan State. Nebraska needed to get a first down. If they did then they win the game. Because of the weather Nebraska had problems throwing the ball. That as well as the possibility of stopping the clock led to every single person in the stadium knowing that Nebraska was going to run the ball.

They had to get a first down by running the ball against the number one rush defense in the country. They got it.

Troy Walter continued about finishing out the Michigan State game:

So for us to go and get that first down that last possession was big. And we did it running the ball ... We’ve come a long ways since Northwestern.”

“For us to go and get that first down on that last possession was big,” Walters said Monday when he met with the media. “And we did it running the ball. They had the No. 1 ranked rushing defense in the country. Hats off to the offensive line blocking, then Devine hitting the hole and getting that first down and sealing the game. We’ve come a long way since Northwestern and it showed right there on that play.”

The ability and confidence this Nebraska team should have in an ability to close out a football game will likely be important in the game tomorrow. Having closed out a game against a tough physical opponent like Michigan State should compare nicely to Iowa.

Four: Iowa Has “Struggled” At Kinnick Stadium

Iowa has averaged 22.333 points per game at Kinnick Stadium in 2018. That by itself would likely not be considered “struggling.” However, if you compare it to the games away from Iowa City then it might.

Iowa has averaged 42.6 points per game away from their home stadium.

Also, in conference Iowa is 1-2 at home with their only win against Maryland.

So while Kinnick Stadium is generally considered to be a tough environment for any team coming in, it appears in 2018 it has not been entirely kind to Iowa.

Five: For The First Time In A While The Players Are Motivated To Play Iowa

The saying goes that you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink it. The same could be said about sports. You can plead and plead with players, but if they are not motivated going into a game then there really is not anything you can do.

It has felt that way for multiple years going into the Iowa game. One team is motivated. The other is...well they were not.

Over the past two seasons, Nebraska has lost to Iowa by a combined score of 94-24. We can point to multiple reasons why this happened. Talent, scheme, development, health, coaching.

But the one determining factor is that one team was motivated. Well it is obvious from some of the comments made by players and coaches both after the Michigan State game and after practices this week leading up to the game.

The players want to beat Iowa. We could not say that over the past several years.

It is almost like Jerald Foster made it a point following the game:

“I can’t wait to beat Iowa,” Foster said. “I really can’t.”

And then there’s these:

So three seniors have all commented on the Iowa game in a way that lets you know that they are motivated. It is about time.

For those who don’t understand the relationship between Iowa and Nebraska I think an illustration may be helpful. Since today is Thanksgiving, I will do my best to get into the Thanksgiving spirit:

Nebraska is one of the cousins who Grandma and Grandpa brag to their friends about. He has been successful in multiple ways and the whole family knows it. Iowa is the cousin who is jealous of Nebraska for his success, but while at the same time is entirely fine with his life of mediocrity. Instead of joining the tide that lifts all boats, this cousin prefers people come down to his level.

Every Thanksgiving the two cousins compete in a game of H-O-R-S-E after dinner. Nebraska expects to win. The entire family expects Nebraska to win. Even Iowa expects Nebraska to win at H-O-R-S-E.

However, the past couple of years has been hard on Nebraska. Times have been tough for Nebraska. So instead of filling himself up on Turkey and sides at dinner, Nebraska has been self-medicating with alcohol. These are self-inflicted wounds. He is doing it to himself. Nebraska knows there is a game of H-O-R-S-E to follow dinner but he drinks anyways.

The game of H-O-R-S-E starts and you can tell from the start that Nebraska isn’t up to it. If he is not air-balling the shot, then it is missing to the left and right. Nebraska cannot even execute his patented behind the back-board shot.

He loses. Iowa freaks out. He cannot believe he just beat Nebraska. He is already thinking about getting home and messaging his dungeons and dragons friends about his personal victory.

The year goes by and every time Nebraska and Iowa see each other at family gatherings Iowa brings up the game of H-O-R-S-E.

Thanksgiving comes around again and the same thing happens. Iowa beats Nebraska. After the loss, Nebraska hit rock bottom. It was time to get sober. It was difficult for Nebraska but Nebraska knew it would be worth it in the end.

Now it is Thanksgiving again and Iowa is licking it’s chops. He is the first one to the table. Iowa grabs his plate and loads it up with several servings of Turkey. There was still more room for a couple of sides.

He felt good about himself. He could feel that his stature within the family has improved. Soon he will be the one who Grandma and Grandpa brag about with their friends.

The family is about to say their prayer before meals. Nebraska is nowhere in sight. Iowa wonders if Nebraska was too embarrassed to show up for Thanksgiving this year. Then right before they start the prayer the front door opens and in walks Nebraska with a salad.

He apologizes for being late but lets the family know he thinks they will like what he brings to the party. Iowa says, “well I don’t really like salad.”

Nebraska laughs at him. “Ya, I know.”

Iowa notices that Nebraska’s skin and eyes have cleared up. His smile is wider and he is happier. Nebraska walks around and shakes hands with Michigan State, Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan.

Then he turns to Iowa and smiles. He grabs a plate and starts filling it up. Sits down at the family table right next to Iowa and pats him on the back.

“Well Iowa, I’m looking forward to our game of H-O-R-S-E.”


How will Nebraska fare against Iowa?

This poll is closed

  • 70%
    Win (heck yes!)
    (471 votes)
  • 13%
    Lose but cover the spread (+9)
    (94 votes)
  • 15%
    Lose and not cover the spread
    (107 votes)
672 votes total Vote Now

Well this is my last Five to Win for the season. Thanks for reading this year, I appreciate it!