Huskers Travel to Iowa for Regular-Season Finale
GAME 12: NEBRASKA at IOWA
NOV. 23, 2012 | KINNICK STADIUM
IOWA CITY, IOWA | 11 a.m. (CT)
TV - ABC
RADIO - Husker Sports Network
SATELLITE RADIO - Sirius Channel 91, XM 191
INTERNET RADIO - Huskers.com
Record: 9-2, 6-1 Big Ten
Rankings: Coaches-14; AP-17; BCS-14
Last Game: def. Minnesota, 38-14
Coach: Bo Pelini
Career | NU Record: 48-18/5th year
vs. Iowa: 1-0
Record: 4-7, 2-5 Big Ten
Rankings: Coaches-NR; AP-NR
Last Game: lost to Michigan, 42-17
Coach: Kirk Ferentz
Career | Iowa Record: 112-94/17th year | 100-73/14th year
vs. Nebraska: 0-3
Nebraska closes the regular season with its traditional Friday after Thanksgiving contest, traveling to Iowa to take on the Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium. The game is set for an 11 a.m. CT kickoff, with national television coverage provided by ABC. The game is also the second annual Hy-Vee Heroes Game between Nebraska and Iowa.
The Huskers enter the contest as winners of five straight games and will look to clinch a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game with a win over Iowa. Nebraska stands 6-1 in Big Ten Conference play, good for a first-place Legends Division tie with Michigan. The Huskers hold the tiebreaker over Michigan and would advance to a Dec. 1 matchup with Wisconsin in Indianapolis with a Friday victory. Last Saturday’s win over Minnesota improved Nebraska to 9-2 overall on the season and secured the Huskers’ fifth straight nine-win season under Head Coach Bo Pelini.
After five straight wins, the Huskers now check in at No. 17 in the Associated Press poll, 14th in the USA Today Coaches poll and 14th in the BCS rankings.
Iowa will look to finish its season on a winning note against Nebraska. The Hawkeyes stand at 4-7 overall and 2-5 in Big Ten play following a 42-17 loss at Michigan last Saturday. The setback was Iowa’s fifth straight loss after a 4-2 start to the 2012 season.
Friday’s game marks the 23rd consecutive season Nebraska has played on Black Friday, including games with Oklahoma from 1990 to 1995, Colorado from 1996 to 2010 and Iowa each of the past two years.
Friday’s meeting will be the 43rd all-time between the two schools, Nebraska’s second most frequent opponent among Big Ten schools. The Huskers hold a 27-12-3 edge in the all-time series, including victories in each of the past four matchups. NU holds an 8-6 advantage in games played in Iowa City, and makes its first trip to Kinnick Stadium since 1999.
Nebraska: Bo Pelini (Ohio State, ‘90) owns a 48-18 record (.727) in his fifth season. Pelini has guided NU to nine or more wins in each of his first five seasons as head coach, joining Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne in accomplishing that feat at Nebraska. Pelini is one of only four first-time head coaches in NCAA history to win at least nine games in each of his first five seasons at a BCS conference school.
Iowa: Kirk Ferentz (Connecticut, ‘78) owns a 100-73 record in his 14th season as Iowa’s head coach. Ferentz has guided the Hawkeyes to 10 bowl appearances in 14 seasons and to a pair of Big Ten titles in 2002 and 2004. Ferentz holds a 112-94 overall record in his 17th season as a college head coach.
Iowa enters Friday’s game trying to snap a five-game losing streak. The Hawkeyes, who are in the midst of their longest losing streak since 2000 and their longest Big Ten Conference losing streak since 1999, are 4-7 on the season and 2-5 in the conference. Iowa was on top of the Legends Division standings in October with a 2-0 league record and a 4-2 overall mark. But the current losing streak, which includes home losses to Penn State and Purdue, has left Iowa short of the necessary victories to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2000.
Two of Iowa’s four victories have come at Kinnick Stadium, as the Hawkeyes are 2-4 at home. Three of Iowa’s four home losses have been by a combined seven points, including last-second losses to Central Michigan and Purdue. Overall, the majority of Iowa’s games have been close, as six of the Hawkweyes’ 11 games have been decided by three points or less, with Iowa holding a record of 2-4 in those contests. The Hawkeyes have played the
most games decided by three-or-fewer points of any FBS team this season.
Offensively, Iowa is averaging 20.5 points per game this season, ranking 105th among 120 FBS teams in scoring, to go along with rankings of 97th in passing offense and 100th in rushing offense. Injuries have contributed to Iowa’s offensive struggles, especially at the running back position. The good news for Iowa is leading rusher Mark Weisman returned from an injury last Saturday at Michigan. Weisman, who is Iowa’s leading rusher with 724 yards this season, had missed back-to-back games during which time Iowa rushed for only 170 yards in losses to Purdue and Indiana, the 11th- and 12th-ranked rushing defenses in the Big Ten, respectively.
Defensively, Iowa ranks 40th nationally in scoring defense, allowing only 23.8 points per game. At home, the Hawkeyes have held three of their six opponents under 17 points. Iowa is allowing 158.6 rushing yards per game and 233.7 passing yards per contest. The Hawkeyes have had trouble getting pressure on the quarterback, ranking 116th nationally in sacks, but Iowa has excelled in forcing turnovers. The Hawkeyes have forced a league-high 21 turnovers, helping them lead the Big Ten with a plus-12 turnover margin that ranks 13th nationally.
Nebraska leads the all-time series with Iowa, 27-12-3. The Huskers have won four straight in the series with each victory coming by at leas two touchdowns. NU enters Friday’s game ranked in the top 25 for the eighth straight time. NU has won six of the seven meetings since 1950. In Iowa City, Nebraska owns an 8-6-0 advantage. The Huskers and Hawkeyes will play for the Heroes Game Trophy, which Nebraska won last season in the inaugural Heroes Game.
Kirk Ferentz is in his 14th season at Iowa, making him the dean among active Big Ten coaches. In fact, among the league’s 12 head coaches, Ferentz is the only coach with more than nine years at his current school. Nationally, Ferentz is tied for third in coaching longevity among BCS schools and tied for fifth among all FBS head coaches. In his time in Iowa City, Ferentz has compiled a 100-73 record to go along with a 112-94 career record in 17 seasons as a head coach.
One of only four coaches in conference history to be a three-time Big Ten Coach-of-the-Year honoree, Ferentz led Iowa to the 2004 Big Ten title in only his fifth season. The title highlighted an impressive stretch for Ferentz’s Hawkeyes, who finished the 2002, 2003 and 2004 seasons ranked eighth in the final polls. In 2002, Ferentz was named the Associated Press and the Walter Camp Football Foundation’s Coach of the Year.
Before arriving at Iowa, Ferentz served as the offensive line coach for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns from 1993 to 1998. His only previous head coaching job came at Maine from 1990 to 1992. Ferentz also coached the offensive line at Iowa from 1981 to 1989 in his first full-time coaching job in the collegiate ranks.
Huskers Secure Fifth Straight Nine-Win Season
Nebraska heads into its regular-season finale at Iowa with a 9-2 record, and has secured its fifth straight nine-win campaign under Head Coach Bo Pelini. The streak of five straight nine-win seasons puts Nebraska in an elite class nationally and continues a long tradition of winning nine or more games at Nebraska.
- The five straight years of nine wins marks the first time NU has accomplished that since its NCAA record streak of 33 straight nine-win seasons from 1969 to 2001.
- Nebraska was one of eight schools with nine wins or more each season from 2008 to 2011, joining TCU, Oregon, Boise State, Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech, Alabama and West Virginia. Among that group, Nebraska, Boise State, Oregon and Alabama have reached nine wins in 2012, while TCU, Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech and West Virginia all have seven wins or fewer at this point in the season.
- Nebraska has 47 nine-win seasons in school history, including 40 in the last 44 seasons since 1969.
- A win on Friday at Iowa would give Nebraska a 10-win season for the third time under Head Coach Bo Pelini. It would also mark NU’s 27th all-time season with 10 or more victories, including 24 since 1970.
- The 2012 season could mark just the second season in the past 11 years with 10 regular-season wins (2010).
Nebraska Continues Thanksgiving Friday Tradition at Iowa
Nebraska has continued one of its long-standing traditions despite its move to the Big Ten Conferenence the past two seasons. Friday’s game at Iowa will mark the 23rd consecutive season the Huskers have played on the Friday after Thanksgiving. NU met Oklahoma in the final six seasons of the Big Eight Conference (1990 to 1995), then palyed Colorado in all 15 of the Huskers’ Big 12 Conference years (1996 to 2010), before taking on Iowa the past two seasons.
Nebraska and Iowa are scheduled to conclude the season against each other until at least 2016, but it has not been determined if the game will be played on Friday or Saturday.
- Nebraska owns a 17-5 record since 1990 in games on the day after Thanksgiving, including a 5-1 record against Okahoma, an 11-4 mark against Colorado and 1-0 against Iowa, following a 20-7 win in Lincoln last year. Nebraska is 7-3 in road games during that stretch.
- This year’s game with Iowa marks the fourth straight year Nebraska has played on the Friday after Thanksgiving without a bye week. Before 2009, Nebraska had not played the game on six days rest since playing at Oklahoma on Thanksgiving Friday in 1973.
- Nebraska’s post-Thanksgiving game has been nationally televised by ABC each of the past 22 yearars.
- Nebraska has won its regular-season finale each of Bo Pelini’s first four seasons and is 29-21 in the final game of the regular season since 1962. NU and Iowa closed the regular season against each other nine times from 1892 to 1916.
Heroes Throphy on Line in Husker-Hawkeye Matchup
The HyVee Heroes Game is the annual trophy game between Nebraska, the newest member of the Big Ten Conference, and Iowa, one of the conference’s original members. While both teams will aim to win the trophy on the field, both Nebraska and Iowa wished to make their annual meeting about more than just winning a football game. With that in mind, the schools partnered together to not only create a trophy, but to use a national stage to honor a citizen hero from each state.
In addition to the trophy that will be claimed by the winner of Friday’s game, both an Iowa and Nebraska native will be honored at halftime for extraordinary acts.
Husker Can Clinch Legends Division Crown, Title Game Berth with Win
A win on Friday at Iowa would guarantee Nebraska a trip to the Dec. 1 Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis, where the Huskers would meet Wisconsin. Nebraska owns a 6-1 Big Ten record and is tied atop the Legends Division with Michigan, however NU holds the tie-breaker over the Wolverines on the strength of a 23-9 victory in Lincoln in the Oct. 27 meeting between the teams.
- In addition to a win clinching Nebraska a spot in the Big Ten title game, losses by both the Huskers and Michigan this weekend would also send NU to Indy. Michigan closes its regular season at Ohio State on Saturday.
- Nebraska will be looking to make its third appearance in a conference championship game in the past four seasons after playing in the Big 12 Championship Game in both 2009 and 2010. Nebraska would be the only school in the country to play in a conference title game three times between 2009 and 2012.
Huskers Take Five-Game Winning Streak into Regular-Season Finale
Nebraska’s victory over Minnesota last Saturday extended the Huskers’ winning streak to five games. The Huskers’ winning streak is one of the longest in recent years at Nebraska.
- Nebraska’s five-game winning streak is its longest win streak since a six-game winning streak spanning the final game of the 2009 season and the first five of the 2010 season.
- Nebraska’s five-game conference winning streak is its best regular-season conference winning streak since the Huskers won their final five Big 12 regular-season games in 2009 and their Big 12 opener in 2010 for a six-game conference win streak.
- Nebraska has two six-game win streaks under Bo Pelini. The previously mentioned six-game streak spanning the 2009 and 2010 seasons, and a six-game streak between 2008 and 2009 (final four games of 2008 and first two of 2009).
- Nebraska has not won six straight conference games in the same season since winning its first seven Big 12 Conference games in 2001.
Huskers Look to Post Best Conference Season Since 2001
A victory on Friday at Iowa would not only clinch a trip to the Big Ten Championship Game, but it would also give Nebraska a 7-1 conference record. A 7-1 conference record would be Nebraska’s best mark in Big Ten or Big 12 play since also posting a 7-1 record in the 2001 Big 12 season.
Since posting a 7-1 mark in 2001, Nebraska has posted three 6-2 conference seasons, with two of those coming under Bo Pelini in 2009 and 2010, and the other in 2006. Each of those three seasons ended in a Big 12 Championship Game appearance.
Huskers Hoping to Complete November to Remember
Nebraska has posted three victories to begin the month of November, rallying from double-digit deficits against both Michigan State and Penn State before a dominant home win over Minnesota. The Huskers have extended their overall winning streak to five games with their 3-0 start to November. Under Head Coach Bo Pelini, Nebraska has had a solid track record in November, posting a 15-4 record in the month, with three of the losses on the road against ranked opponents.
Nebraska posted a nine-game November winning streak from the 2008 to 2010 seasons, its longest winning streak in the month since winning 19 straight from 1992 to 1998.
Click on the "Game Notes" link in the related links section at the top of this page for more notes on this weekend's game.