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The Pants Predicts: Iowa at Nebraska

The Hawkeyes haven’t lost to Nebraska since 2014. Is this the year? Will they cover? Here’s what we’re predicting.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 23 Nebraska at Iowa
Can AJ Epenesa and the Hawkeyes take down Adrian Martinez and the Cornhuskers?
Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Hawkeyes came away with a win against Illinois last week, which was a great way to send off a tremendous senior class, including QB Nate Stanley. Unfortunately, the win wasn’t exactly a runaway and Iowa didn’t cover the 15-point spread we quoted heading into the matchup. that means half the staff came away disappointed with their pick a week ago

Here’s an updated look at the season-long standings.

Thad - 4-1-1
Matt C - 7-4
Jerry - 6-4-1
Doug - 5-5
Adam - 2-2
DC - 5-6
JP - 5-6
Matt R - 5-6
BoilerHawk - 4-7
Ben - 4-8

As we look to this week, the Hawkeyes are favored on the road against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Iowa opened at -3 and have since moved to -6 at The game has a 43.5 point over/under. That’s an implied score of Iowa 24.75, Nebraska 18.75.

At the Pants, only one of us is picking Iowa to lose (you should totally @ him on all the social media). On average, we’re calling for a final of 23-16. That’s just good enough for the Hawks to cover. It would also be comfortably on the under. Do with that what you will.

Here are our individual predictions.

JPinIC: This Thanksgiving Day, I’d like to take a moment to be thankful for the stability of Kirk Ferentz. Do I wish he won more games at Iowa? Yes. Do I wish he cared more about style points and throwing the ball and exploiting opponents’ weaknesses? Yes, yes and yes. But as we prepare to take on Nebraska and their third head coach in the 8 years since they joined the Big Ten, I’m thankful for the stability and the high floor he’s brought to the program. We may not light the world on fire, but we never suck. And I like not sucking.

I do, however, like Nebraska sucking. And that’s what they’ve done for the better part of the last five years. Last week, though, they did not suck. Now they need a win against Iowa to salvage anything resembling a successful season. Iowa, on the other hand, is playing for nothing other than pride and bowl positioning. That’s less than ideal.

However, nobody on the Iowa roster has played in a loss to Nebraska and based on what we heard from some of the players this week, I don’t think they intend to this year. This defense is too good to let Nebraska go wild and the Black Shirts are too bad for Iowa to completely fail at running the ball.

Iowa 27, Nebraska 20

Mattcabel: This Iowa team is not fun to watch. A talented defense keeps an infuriating offense in games they shouldn’t be, and the result is eight wins and counting. Even with the struggling offense, I think Iowa wins this game. If it wasn’t for the defense, I’d be a bit worried, but Nebraska’s offense is nothing to write home about, either. Regardless, will this game be close? Probably! Will it be fun to watch? Probably not! But I just don’t see how this team loses to Nebraska. Famous last words, right?

Iowa 24, Nebraska 19

Adam Hensley: In all seriousness, Friday is Nebraska’s Super Bowl. This is the biggest game for the Huskers in 2019. At 5-6, they need one more win for bowl eligibility. Taking that into consideration, I still think the Hawkeyes win. After a dud of a running game against Illinois, I wouldn’t be surprised if Iowa hit Nebraska with a heavy dose of Tyler Goodson. I’d hope, at least. This is the game where Kirk passes Hayden Fry for Big Ten wins.

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for Hawkeye kicker/TikTok sensation Keith Duncan, the Big Ten record holder for field goals in a season. He better win the Lou Groza Award. If he doesn’t, I will riot, and I encourage you to do the same. On that note...

Iowa 20, Nebraska 16

Jerry Scherwin: Iowa’s defense is entirely way too good to all of a sudden let this game slip by. While I personally expect big things from the offense, even their subpar performances should be plenty to crush Nebraska once again. And as Iowa heads to bowl season, the Corn Huskers will once again be forced to re-evaluate themselves, their program and their fanhood.

Iowa 25, Nebraska 10

Also, I’m thankful for Lisa Bluder because she’s a gem of a coach and her program is the shining star of the University of Iowa and until she starts getting more and more fans to her games, I will continue to scream her name from the mountain top.

DC: Iowa’s defense has held almost all of their opponents to their lowest scoring totals of the season. Adrian Martinez is befuddled by even average defenses. That’s a combination that is VERY much in Iowa’s favor. I don’t know what Iowa does offensively but between the defense and Lou Groza finalist Keith Duncan, Iowa should win this game.

I said it on this week’s SpoCo Radio and I’ll reiterate here. I’m so very thankful for not only the improved recruiting the football team has committed to but also for getting these talented guys into games regardless of their experience or year in school. We constantly complain about Iowa falling short against ranked teams and one way to turn that around is by playing the high impact players more often. We’ve started to see it and I’m very thankful for it.

Iowa 31, Nebraska 10

Ben: I HATE that Nebraska needs to beat Iowa in order to make a bowl game. I HATE that Nebraska is riding a HUGE win over perennial Big Ten powerhouse Maryland. I HATE that the line has moved to 5 ½, for some friggin’ reason.

But you know what I love? Nate Stanley and AJ Epenesa and Geno Stone and Ihmir Smith-Marsette and I love thinking that Brian Ferentz is going to prove me wrong despite a bazillion examples of the contrary. I’m thankful for those things. And I’m most thankful that I didn’t go to Minnesota.

Iowa 20, Nebraska 13

Doug: I’m sad that after Friday there will be a couple year hiatus in the Black Friday game. I of course blame Nebraska for this failure so Iowa will take out their frustration on the ‘Huskers. If there is one team that Coach Ferentz wouldn’t be afraid of running the score up a bit, it would be Nebby.

The defense will remain stout as they have done all year. The return of Kristian Welch was critical and he should have another double digit tackle game. Add in at least two forced turnovers and the opportunity to keep Nebraska from soiling any bowl games adds up to a convincing Hawkeye victory.

I am thankful for the feeling and energy of just being a Hawkeye fan. Go to a game in Kinnick and you can’t help but feel the love and energy. For that moment in time, all is right in the world and if The Wave doesn’t bring a tear to your eye every time you are at the game, you are not human. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, remember that the journey is what makes everything worthwhile.

Iowa 30, Nebraska 14

tnels20: I can’t believe the final game of the regular season is here. I feel like we wait, wait, and keep waiting for that first game and then it’s over in a flash. Being on the western edge of the state, each year I find myself just wanting to get this game over with. Although, I have to admit, I’ve really enjoyed getting the weekly press clips of Scott Frost not just throwing his players under the bus, but constantly blaming anyone and everyone else for their struggles this season. I’m thankful for the way Kirk Ferentz runs this program, has his player’s back, and never makes it about himself like a few of the neighboring states’ head coaches.

So far this season, Iowa has beat every team they should, won a couple of toss-ups and lost to three teams that are probably more talented. This Nebraska team is not more talented, is not tougher, and is not better coached than Iowa.

So, with all of that said, it’s time to make my yearly emotional hedge and say the Hawks are due for a loss to a substandard team. Feel free to toss eggs at me later.

Iowa 18, Nebraska 23

MattReisener: Nebraska is in desperation mode to salvage some semblance of respectability this season, so whatever the Huskers’ best shot is, the Hawkeyes are going to get it. That being said, the Hawkeye defense is hitting its stride and should be able to frustrate Adrian Martinez and the Husker attack, and who I am to tell the venerable George Kittle that his prediction is wrong?

Iowa 24, Nebraska 17

BoilerHawk: I can’t for the life of me pick Nebraska to win it. I think it’s going to be an ugly, ugly game with the weather and Iowa unable to get into the end zone. Nebraska is able to break a big play or two which they capitalize on, including one in the last 3-4 minutes. But like last season, Nate Stanley drives Iowa down the field within Keith Duncan range and Iowa walks off in Lincoln. The kicker? (pun intended) Duncan seals his Groza award by setting a new record with 32.

Iowa 15, Nebraska 14

That’s what we’re predicting, what’s your call for Iowa’s matchup with Nebraska?