Jacob Bova, Senior Sports Editor: Nebraska 35, Iowa 31
Friday’s game against the Hawkeyes is the biggest game yet of the Scott Frost era. The Huskers are playing for a bowl berth and the 15 more practices that come with it, which can make all the difference in the development of this young team. It’s because of this desperation I think Nebraska can put it all together once and for all and get this win.
Iowa’s strength is its defense, which is allowing 306 yards per game and hasn’t allowed a team to score more than 24 points all season. Those numbers are impressive, but the Huskers recently played against a similarly built defense in Wisconsin that is statistically better and moved the ball easily all day. The problem that day was not getting points out of those drives.
I think Nebraska will be able to finish those drives it couldn’t against the Badgers and will put up points on the Iowa defense. Nebraska’s defense has steadily improved the last few weeks and should be able to slow Iowa just enough for the Huskers to edge the Hawkeyes for the first time in four years and get Frost his first signature win.
Luke Mullin, Assistant Sports Editor: Iowa 26, Nebraska 23
Disregarding all the noise around this game, and whether or not Iowa and Nebraska are true rivals (are we really still having this discussion?), this is the biggest game of the Scott Frost era thus far. Most Husker fans would have probably hoped for more than a 9-14 record under Frost, but here we are.
It’s clear what this win would mean for Nebraska. Extra practices, a win over a ranked opponent and a return to national legitimacy, at least as much as a 6-6 team can demand. To suffer defeat, though, and secure a third straight losing season would mark the first time since the 1960s that the Huskers suffered that fate.
If Nebraska is going to pull the upset, it certainly won’t be easy. Iowa’s defense is a thing of beauty, designed specifically to thrive on a cold November day like Friday. The Hawkeyes average just 12.2 points scored against them, the fifth-best mark in the entire country. Iowa’s offense isn’t particularly impressive, but a rush-heavy attack could wear down the Huskers similar to Wisconsin earlier this season.
Just as was the case a year ago, I could see this game coming down to the final moments. In previous years, those last-second finishes haven’t seemed to favor Nebraska, and that may happen again this season.
Drake Keeler, Assistant Sports Editor: Nebraska 21, Iowa 18
Nebraska football has been on a roll lately, and that momentum will carry it to bowl eligibility in a close rivalry game on Black Friday.
The Huskers had their most dominant win of the season in their win against Maryland. Even in the game before that, a 37-21 loss to Wisconsin, Nebraska moved the ball with ease against one of the best defenses in the country.
Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes have been consistently good all season, with their three losses on the year coming by a combined 14 points. Iowa’s strength is its defense, and it has only given up more than 20 points once this year.
No matter what, it seems destined that this matchup will end in a close one. All but two of Iowa’s games against Power Five teams have come down to nine points or less, with the only exceptions coming against the bottom two teams in the Big Ten in Rutgers and Northwestern.
On top of that, Iowa needed a last-second field goal last year to take down the Huskers. This year’s game will be a close one again, and I think Nebraska’s momentum and motivation will earn the team bowl eligibility in front of the home crowd.