Grace Harmon, senior sports editor: Nebraska 35, Iowa 28
This game should be close and could honestly go either way, but I still think Nebraska will come out on top against the Iowa Hawkeyes. Even though Nebraska is coming off a loss to Penn State, it was expected, and facets of the game were actually more promising than against Minnesota a week ago.
It was a tale of two halves for the Huskers in Happy Valley on Saturday, and some players ended the game with good performances. While a big reason for the turnaround performance in the second half was because Penn State took out some of its starting players, Nebraska did look a lot better. Tanner Lee finally fell into a rhythm and some of the team’s receivers made strides as well.
My worry for Friday’s game isn’t so much the offense, because on Saturday it proved it has the capability of scoring points and making big plays. The defense on the other hand once again is what I’ll be watching closely in the Friday matchup. The Blackshirts gave up 56 points and 609 yards against the Nittany Lions, and never really seemed to find their groove.
With that being said, Nebraska pushed to the end. And despite being down 42-10 at half, NU came out of the locker room still fighting, which was something that never happened against Minnesota. Despite the loss, it could have been much worse, and the offensive turnaround in the second half was the major key. If the Huskers can come out with the same zest to prove themselves as they did on Saturday, they could finish the season with a 5-7 record, something that I did not predict after Minnesota.
Iowa is coming off a pretty significant 24-15 loss to Purdue. But Iowa also had a significant 55-24 win over Ohio State two weeks ago. The Hawkeyes’ 6-5 record is full of a lot of upsets, with the team coming out on both sides of them depending on the week.
This game will come down to which team shows up. Nebraska hasn’t traditionally performed well in its Black Friday matchup, losing the last three games. If both teams show up ready to play, it could be an interesting matchup. But let’s be honest, neither team is performing consistently enough to make that a guarantee.
Zach Markon, assistant sports editor: Nebraska 34, Iowa 27
In all honesty, I’m just glad the football season is coming to an end. In a word, this season has been exhausting.
It’ll all be over after this weekend, though. Going into the Penn State game, I wasn’t expecting the Huskers to make it into the end zone even once, let alone six times. Somehow, the Huskers performed better against Penn State than they did against Minnesota. I don’t know which game was the fluke, but since it’s the end of the season, I’ll remain optimistic that Minnesota was an outlier.
I saw some really impressive things from the Huskers during the second half of their game against PSU, which NU will hopefully be able to carry into its final game of the season.
Nebraska was solid from an offensive standpoint, but still struggled defensively. Iowa has been inconsistent this season, raising questions about the Hawkeyes’ ability to deliver on a consistent basis. On one hand, Iowa beat Ohio State. On the other hand, it lost to Purdue last weekend, a team which the Huskers even managed to beat.
Overall, there are a lot of questions heading into this matchup. Nebraska has continued to face defensive problems, while the Hawkeyes have struggled to be consistent as a whole. I’m not sure how this game will pan out, and to be honest, it doesn’t really matter.
Iowa has already qualified for a bowl game, while Nebraska has been eliminated from bowl contention. Neither team will earn a Big Ten title this year, let alone a national title. Overall, there’s almost nothing riding on this game, and I’m ready for the disaster that has been Nebraska’s 2017 football season to be over.
Anna Gleason, assistant sports editor: Nebraska 27, Iowa 24
Let’s be honest, this game doesn’t really affect anything. Once again, it’s a hard one to predict.
The Nebraska football team put up a surprisingly good fight against Penn State, although it was to no avail. Sadly, the team performed significantly better than the then No. 10 Nittany Lions than it did against the unranked Gophers.
Because of this, who really knows what will happen at Memorial Stadium on Friday? The Huskers could pull out an upset or get demolished. Either way, their season will go unaffected with their hopes at a bowl game already vanished from sight.
Tanner Lee played well against a formidable Penn State defense so there’s a chance the Husker offense could put up a decent amount of points against the Hawkeyes. That said, I think this will be a game of defense.
Bob Diaco’s Blackshirts will once again be put to the test and may determine the game, and the fate of the defensive coaching staff. If the defense can do its job and prevent the Hawkeyes from moving down the field too quickly, too many times, there might be a chance at a 5-7 season.
All in all, I’m not particularly excited about this game, but that’s not really news. Hopefully the Huskers can end their abysmal season on a somewhat high note, but as we’ve seen this season, no one really knows what kind of Husker team will take the field on Friday.