It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
I don’t think Charles Dickens could say it any better than that regarding the Iowa Hawkeyes’ 27-24 win against the Nebraska Cornhuskers today (or really, the entire Iowa football season). A 24-10 Iowa lead heading into the second half turned into a 24-all tie that seemed like it would go Nebraska’s way (with a little assistance from the refs).
But with six seconds remaining and the score locked at 24, Keith Duncan kicked a 48 yard field goal right down the middle for the game win—until the Nebraska Cornhuskers used their last timeout to try and ice the kicker.
But the second time was the charm, and Duncan blew kisses to the Nebraska faithful to seal Iowa’s 9th win of the season, ending Nebraska’s hopes at a bowl game, and sealed Iowa’s fifth consecutive victory over Nebraska.
It was a tale of two halves for the Hawkeyes and Huskers, particularly on offense. Tyler Goodson came alive, running for 116 yards and a touchdown before exiting early and essentially taking Iowa’s entire offense with it. Nate Stanley finished the regular season with a disappointing 99 yards, 1 INT and no touchdowns, but he made the plays when they counted: with under a minute left in the game, with his team needing a score. And boy, did he come through, finding Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Sam La Porta to set up Duncan’s field goal.
After the teams traded punts on their first drives, it only took two plays for Iowa to find the end zone on their second drive. Tyler Goodson ripped off some easy yards, and then on the next play tossed an reverse to Ihmir Smith-Marsette, who, led by his blocker Nate Stanley, found pay dirt for a 7-0 lead. The play was Iowa’s second longest run play of the season and the longest of ISM’s career.
Look at that dive!
Iowa’s defense stifled Nebraska’s run game on ensuing drives. Michael Ojemudia was particularly stout, preventing big plays left and right, just in the span of the first quarter alone. He stopped plays just about everywhere: in coverage, behind the line of scrimmage and in man. The Huskers did convert on one good pass in the first quarter, which was good enough to get them three points.
On the ensuing drive, Tyler Goodson ripped off a 55-yard scamper, the longest of his career and the longest of the season for Iowa’s running game, to quickly bring the score to 14-3.
SO FUN TO WATCH.
FRESHMAN TYLER MF'N GOODSON FOR 55 YD TOUCHDOWN pic.twitter.com/G7nRGzRLTO— Heavens! (@HeavensFX) November 29, 2019
Things were looking good with Iowa for most of the second quarter. Duncan continued his recent hot streak and got his 28th field goal of the season, but a Nate Stanley pick-six with just under nine minutes left in the half gave the Huskers new life...
...until Ihmir Smith-Marsette returned the ensuing kickoff for 95 yards and a touchdown, that is. A 24-10 Iowa lead meant goodbye to Nebraska’s momentum...right?
Luke McCaffery found a wide open receiver on a cross route early in the second half and suddenly Nebraska had life again (again). Iowa’s nothing drive in response certainly didn’t help, to the point where it felt like Iowa needed a stop, badly.
It looked like Iowa had done just that, until Martinez converted on a key 4th and 6th, and suddenly on 3rd and one, Nebraska tied the game with 30 seconds left in the 3rd quarter.
And from there, inept Iowa offense, combined with bad officiating, kept the game locked at 24.
But Epenesa stopped Martinez again on 3rd and long, forcing the Huskers to punt on 4th and 17. Iowa got the ball back around the 40 with 3:14 left in the game. On first down, Mekhi Sargent ripped off a big run for a first down and more, but on the next play, he fumbled the ball away.
Sargent giveth and taketh away.
But on Nebraska’s potential game winning drive, some personnel change issues killed a lot of clock, and an offensive penalty made it 2nd and 20 for the Huskers with a minute left and 65 yards to the end zone. Nebraska could create nothing, and Iowa got the ball back at its own 26 with 32 seconds left in the game and no timeouts.
And then, Stanley found Nico Ragaini for a huge play through the air and had his shoulder touch the ground before the ball popped out. The play was initially called a catch, but was overturned upon further review because lol gotta get Nebraska back to bowl season.
But on second down, Stanley found ISM for a big pass over the middle and then found LaPorta, but with time ticking down, the Husker defenders tried to get in the way of the Hawkeyes to stop them from spiking the ball because they have no class.
Cue Duncan, cue kisses to the crowd, cue five wins in a row for Iowa over Nebraska.