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Behind Enemy Lines: Corn Nation Discusses Iowa - Nebraska Football

This could be an ugly game.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Penn State Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

The regular season reaches its end on Friday afternoon for the Hawkeyes when they take on Nebraska, and it’s a bittersweet ending - on one hand, this season has been incredibly frustrating, but on the other, are we ever really ready for football season to come to a close?

It could be a lot worse, though, and our friends at Corn Nation show why in this Q&A. They’ve dealt with a season just as frustrating as Iowa’s and have had quite a bit of fallout in 2017. Don’t take it from me - their answers in this Q&A are pretty bleak, which makes this an excellent read for any Hawkeye fan. They discuss Mike Riley, their excellent wide receiver corps, and well, don’t really give Nebraska a fighting chance against Iowa this Friday.

It feels good.

1. This hasn't exactly been a banner year for the Cornhuskers and everything points to Mike Riley getting canned, but somehow Nebraska is still playing for bowl eligibility against Iowa this weekend. What's gone wrong for the Huskers and can winning two more games this season salvage it?

Jon Johnston: There is no salvaging this season. Regardless if we win this game, this will go down as possibly the worst season in my lifetime, and I am older than all you young uns. The biggest thing that’s gone wrong… wow. Pick one, huh? The hiring of Bob Diaco and the transition to the 3-4 defense have been pretty much a disaster. I don’t know if Diaco can’t coach/teach or if his players don’t fit the scheme, but the defense has been lost most of the season.

Husker Mike: There won’t be a bowl game; after this weekend, there will be at least 74 bowl eligible teams for 78 spots. 13 teams other teams could win this weekend and become eligible. What went wrong? Nebraska’s offense has been ineffective at the start of just about every game against teams with a pulse, while the defense crashed hard in October.

Nate McHugh: At the beginning of the season I thought the offense would be able to shoulder the load while the defense continued to adjust to a new system. That didn’t happen. The defense actually showed some life at the beginning of the season. At one point they didn’t allow a touchdown in two and a half games. That was until the second half of the Wisconsin game where the inability of the defense to stop the run was exposed for everybody to see. Then the following week the team was embarrassed by Ohio State and I think it broke the will of the team.

Cobcast Ryan: No, it’s a shit show. A super huge shit show full of shit of various types. Diarrhea shit, pebble shit, big painful shit. Plus beating Iowa, while good for the soul, means nothing. Iowa sucks.

Andy Ketterson: He’s gone and good riddance. I’m tired of everyone acting like we need to hug him & give him a lifetime job here or something because he’s such a nice guy. Even though I place a lot of the blame on former AD Shawn Eichorst for the stupid hire, the fact is that Riley came in here with his “All is well except for the games” bullshit and his surrender-monkey body language and drove this program into its deepest hole and greatest apathy in 50+ years.

Bill Moos - please give him a pink slip and a work boot in the ass as soon as the final guns sounds.

2. Tanner Lee had a tough start to the season, but it looks like he's made better decisions with the football during conference play, save the Northwestern game, and Iowa's secondary has been suspect outside of Thorpe Award finalist Josh Jackson. What's the key to him having a solid game this weekend?

Jon: Protection by the offensive line.

Mike: Not asking him to throw any screen passes or anywhere in the same area code as Jackson.

Nate: If the offensive line plays well then he will carve up the defense. Unfortunately however, the offensive line has been the worst unit on this Nebraska squad all season long. Tanner Lee has quietly been playing really well as of late even though he sees pressure every time he drops back.

Ryan: Throw to Spielman every play.

Andy: Iowa jumping out to a 32 point lead and then putting in the backups and seniors who never play while Riley leaves Lee and the starters in. It made for some impressive numbers in Happy Valley.

3. Outside of Lee, who are the skill position players who figure to make the biggest impact against the Hawkeyes?

Jon: Never has never had a 1,000 yard receiver, and Stanley Morgan is 88 yards away. He’s a big threat, as are redshirt freshman JD Spielman and senior Demornay Pierson-El. Together they can rack up a ton of yards through the air and probably will because Nebraska will be playing from behind just like they do pretty much every game this season.

Nate: Stanley Morgan and JD Spielman could be the best combo a the WR position that Nebraska has had in a long time. Lee likes to throw the ball high to Morgan because he trusts him to jump up and come down with the ball. Spielman has been dangerous all season long on 3rd and 4th down as well as returning kicks. If healthy I believe Jaylin Bradley, at RB, could have a big game.

Ryan: Spielman and Morgan. Also, Dicaprio Bootle.

Andy: Morgan and Spielman. After you go ahead by 4 or 5 touchdowns, those two will eat you guys alive.

4. It's a stoppable force vs. a moveable object: Iowa's rush offense, which averages just 3.5 yards per carry, vs. Nebraska's run defense, which is giving up 5.4 yards per carry. Someone has to win, right? Who will it be?

Jon: Iowa’s rush offense. Nebraska gave up over 400 yards rushing to Minnesota, making Demry Croft look like a Heisman Trophy contender in the process. I would think that Iowa can do better than that.

Nate: If Penn State was forced to play its starters the entire game last week, then Penn State could probably have run for 5,000 yards. There is no defense in Nebraska’s rush defense.

Ryan: Iowa Sucks.

Andy: Minnesota entered the Nebraska game unable to move or score and Saquon Barkley had been shut down for 2-3 weeks including by Rutgers. They ran wild. So will Iowa.

5. Finish the sentence: Nebraska will win the game if...

Mike: Hy-Vee serves the Hawkeyes’ turkey dinner before the timer pops up, and Iowa can’t keep 11 players out of the bathroom on Friday.

Nate: The Nebraska defense can get off the field on 3rd down. I think the offense will be able to move the ball and score points, but can the Nebraska defense stop Iowa.

Ryan: Iowa is Iowa.

Andy: ...bwahahahahaaha

6. Prediction time - who ya got?

Jon: I hate Iowa. You know it’s bad when I can’t even come up with decent insults… hell, even lousy, retread insults. You smell bad and, uh, whatever… sure. Woooo. How ‘bout this. I want Nebraska to win this game so I can spend the next year talking about how the worst Nebraska team I’d ever seen was able to beat the Hawkeyes! Nebraska will come from down 21 points in the fourth quarter to win 35-32!

Mike: Scott Frost returning home in a couple of weeks.

Nate: I was hoping Bill Moos would make the statement that Iowa would be Mike Riley’s last game earlier this week. The thought was that the players might be a little more motivated to send their coach out with a win. Maybe even play a little angry. But that didn’t happen. Until I see a Nebraska squad come out motivated to beat Iowa I will continute to predict that Iowa wins. Iowa 25 - Nebraska 24.

Ryan: 69-3 Nebraska. All Spielman TDs and Dicaprio Bootle pick 6’s.

Andy: The Riley Era comes to an end with one last Andre the Giant hand-sized proctological exam for the Husker faithful. Thanks for 3 years of friendly press conferences and not much else. Iowa 42 NU 27 (20 against Iowa scrubs in 4th quarter as NU’s backups left to rot yet again).

Thanks to the crew at Corn Nation for their time and insight! Of course, I hope the Hawkeyes throw nine hundred points on your team. For more on all things Nebraska, check out Corn Nation and find them on Twitter at @CornNation. Go Hawks.