Your Iowa Hawkeyes coughed away a chance at an appearance at the Big Ten Championship game for the second-consecutive year in a humiliating 24-17 loss to Nebraska in Iowa City.
In a season of horrible halves, the first frame against Nebraska may have been the worst of the year out of Iowa. Cooper DeJean got hurt in what looked like a concussion on the first drive, and Nebraska QB Casey Thompson hit Trey Palmer—covered by replacements TJ Hall and Jamison Heinz—early and often to sprint the Cornhuskers to an early 17-0 lead. Nebraska scored on an 87-yard bomb to Palmer midway through the first quarter and that was basically it.
Palmer had 6 catches for 138 yards and 2 scores.
In the first half.
On the offensive side of the ball, it wasn’t much better as Spencer Petras got hurt on the second or third drive while coughing up the ball on a third down sack. Alex Padilla went in, about 12 weeks too late according to some, and quieted those some with his performance:
16-33, 141 yards, 1 TD, 1 interception 2 sacks & a lost fumble.
It’s not like he was helped by his offensive line, or his play-caller, for that matter.
Jack Plumb totally and completely whiffed on the rusher across from him on a third down that resulted in a sack, and Brian Ferentz called a weird long-developing play a while later, when a run would’ve kept Iowa in field goal range and a potential 10-3 halftime score was in reach.
Instead, Padilla got sacked, Nebraska got a touchdown and held an insurmountable 17-0 lead at the break.
The second half offered nothing of a reprieve.
After a nice stop on defense, Arland Bruce fumbled Nebraska’s punt on Iowa’s 18. Three plays later, Marcus Washington was in the end zone and it became 24-0 bad guys.
Thankfully, Kaleb Johnson kept Iowa from getting skunked at home and scampered 50 yards for a score despite Nebraska stacking eight in the box on second-and-five.
A crucial stop on third down by the Iowa defense bore zero fruit, as Iowa called it conservatively the following drive, opting to punt at midfield despite being down three scores with 16 minutes left in the football game.
After forcing a punt, Sebastian Castro got whistled for playing football while attempting to block a punt, giving Nebraska a fresh set of downs with just under 13 minutes to play.
From then on, Thompson and Nebraska bled out the clock.
Iowa did its best to keep it interesting, as Luke Lachey carried the entire Nebraska defense into the end zone after a nice drive from Iowa. It took nearly 55 minutes for the Hawkeyes to reach the red zone.
Not so fast!
Nebraska did some Nebraska shit, and coughed it right up on the following drive.
Iowa capitalized on its chance to make it a one score game, even though Brian dialed up a slow-developing screen, a weird four verts attempt, and then a dropped Nebraska interception. Drew Stevens bailed him out, again, and nailed a 45-yarder to make it 24-17 bad guys.
On 3rd & 17 during the most crucial Nebraska drive of the game, Palmer was dragged down to the ground a yard short by Jamison Heinz. Mickey Joseph called a timeout on 4th & 1 with the game on the line just to punt it away and dare Iowa to go 79 yards in 200 seconds.
A batted ball on first down landed safely in the hands of Nick DeJong for a 4-yard loss.
A low throw fell short of Diante Vines on second down.
A dart nailed Lachey for 16 yards and a fresh set of downs.
Two plays later, Nebraska dropped an easy interception—at least its second chance to put the game away.
On third and ten, an obvious no-catch by Bruce for a first was ruled a catch, but later overturned.
And with the game on the line on 4th & 10, Padilla missed a double-covered to Nico Ragaini & gave it back to Nebraska on Iowa’s 33 with just over 2 minutes to go.
Once again, Nebraska pulled some Nebraska shit and eventually punted it back to Iowa.
Iowa couldn’t capitalize on the Nerbaska-ing, or a wonderful special teams play by Bruce to render the punt a net of 13 yards. Iowa’s four plays resulted in 2 net yards, and the last play of Iowa’s regular season ended in an interception.
This is how the 2022 season ends, not with a bang, but with wet fart.