For the final time in the regular season, the Iowa Hawkeyes are poised to take the field as they travel to Lincoln to face off with the Nebraska Cornhuskers. While Iowa officially clinched their spot in Indianapolis and the Big Ten West division title, the Huskers enter the day playing for their first shot at a bowl berth since 2016.
Beyond that, the Hawkeyes and Huskers have a deep hatred fueling the fire today, as well as the Heroes Trophy which took up residence in Lincoln after Nebraska defeated Iowa a season ago for the first time since 2014. Now the Huskers look to get their first win in Memorial Stadium over Iowa since 2011.
They’ll be doing so with a quarterback who started the season as the third-stringer. Original starter Jeff Sims was replaced earlier this year by sophomore Heinrich Haarberg. But Haarberg went down with a leg injury against Maryland, leaving freshman Chubba Purdy at the helm. Purdy threw an interception to thwart any hopes of a comeback, but looked much better in Nebraska’s loss at Wisconsin a week ago.
Now, Chubba looks to become the first of the Purdy brothers to beat the Hawkeyes as he starts for a second straight week. He’ll be doing so against an Iowa defense that is now entering their second straight game in the absence of star corner Cooper DeJean. A week ago, Phil Parker’s bunch took only a bit to adjust and ended the day in familiar fashion, giving up just 13 points and scoring two of their own.
The question for Iowa this week is likely not whether the defense can continue to hold up its end of the bargain, but whether the offense can carry some of the load. The Hawkeyes looked improved in the second half against Rutgers two weeks ago. That seemed to carry over in the first half against Illinois, though the production stalled out with few points on the board. But the second half looked like vintage Iowa offense and not in the good way.
Deacon Hill will need to make use of his new friend Kaleb Brown while keeping in touch with his old pal the tight end. Addison Ostrenga has looked every bit the part of the next great Iowa tight end and will need to continue to do so. If Hill and the receiving options can open things up just a bit, that would make life much easier on the three-headed monster out of the Hawkeye backfield.
As we countdown to kickoff, here’s everything you need to know about today’s matchup.
Date: Friday, November 24th
Time: 11:00 am CT
Matchup: Iowa Hawkeyes (9-2, 6-2) at Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-6, 3-5)
Location: Memorial Stadium- Lincoln, NE
Preliminary Weather Forecast: cloudy with temps in the lower-30s, 5% chance of rain
DraftKings Sportsbook Line: Nebraska -3, O/U 24.5
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Keep an eye out for the availability report, which is set to be published around 9:00 am CT. Recall that’s a new item in the Big Ten this season with availability reported two hours before game time.