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.
The offense did its part in the first half. Touchdowns of 75 yards from Akrum Wadley and 77 yards from Riley McCarron, and another long run and eventual score from LeShun Daniels set the tone, and the defense came up when it needed to whenever it felt as though Nebraska would start knocking on the door.
Daniels ended the day with 151 yards on 29 carries to get over 1,000 for the season. The last time Iowa had a 1,000-yard rusher was MARCUS COKER in 2011. That seems like a lifetime ago. Wadley had 105 himself; the rushing game was working.
C.J. Beathard went 10-15 with 144 yards and three scores. Half those yards came from McCarron’s score, but I mean we’ll take it. He won the game with some moxie, and it was the perfect way to cap off his career as a Hawkeye.
And the defense. Don’t even get me started. I’m not sure if I have ever seen an entire Iowa defense play this dominantly since ... Michigan. Seriously, though. Everyone stepped up at every position, and the day wasn’t highlighted by a single effort. This was how Iowa’s defenses under Norm Parker looked.
Now Iowa goes in to a decent bowl game with a chance at nine wins this season. I don’t think anyone saw that coming even three weeks ago.
The time for party is now on this wonderful holiday weekend. Don’t forget to follow our coverage of the Iowa basketball game going on.
This feels appropriate.
On Iowa. Go Hawks.