Last-Second Field Goal Dooms Huskers
Iowa City, Iowa – Nebraska set individual records in its season football finale, but Miguel Recinos hit a 41-yard field goal on the game’s final play, and Iowa emerged with a 31-28 victory in the Heroes Trophy game on Friday at Kinnick Stadium.
Senior wide receiver Stanley Morgan Jr. caught seven passes for 81 yards to become Nebraska’s all-time receiving yards leader with 2,747 yards, and quarterback Adrian Martinez had 336 yards of total offense, including 260 passing yards and 76 rushing yards, setting a Nebraska season record with his seventh 300-yard total offense effort of the season. Joe Ganz (2008) and Tommy Armstrong Jr. (2015) previously held the record with six 300-yard total offense games in a season.
Nebraska (4-8, 3-6 Big Ten Conference) rallied from a 28-13 deficit to force a 28-28 tie before Iowa (8-4, 5-4) rallied for the game-winning score.
Tight end T.J. Hockinson caught a 10-yard pass from quarterback Nate Stanley on a fourth-down conversion to keep the Iowa game-winning drive alive.
Morgan, meanwhile, caught a pass in 38 straight games, setting a Nebraska record, one better than Johnny Rodgers’ 37-game streak with a catch from 1970 to 1972. Morgan has at least three catches in 23 of the past 24 games.
Down 28-13, Nebraska drove 98 yards in 14 plays in a scoring drive that began in the third quarter and ended in the fourth. The drive highlighted with senior linebacker Luke Gifford catching a pass on fake punt pass that converted fourth down deep in Nebraska territory.
Martinez followed with a 12-yard rush, and later hit Morgan for gains of 4 and 11 yards. That set up a 28-yard touchdown pass to freshman running back Maurice Washington that cut the Iowa lead to 28-20 with 13:57 remaining.
Following a Nebraska defensive stop, Martinez scored on a 3-yard touchdown run and hit wide receiver Kade Warner on a two-point conversion pass to tie the game 28-28 with 3:22 remaining.
Nebraska never possessed the ball again, as Iowa drove for the game-winning score.
Iowa won the opening coin flip and elected to receive the football to begin the game, and Hawkeyes put together a methodical scoring drive that lasted 11 plays and covered 79 yards. They converted two third downs in the series, capped when quarterback Nate Stanley hit wide receiver Brandon Smith on a 15-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead with 9:37 remaining in the first quarter.
Nebraska responded quickly. The Huskers drove 81 yards in 12 plays, with Martinez twice hitting Morgan on passing plays of 11 and 17 yards, both plays converting third downs. Morgan ended his Nebraska career with 38 straight games with at least one reception, and became the school’s all-time receiving yards leader.
Martinez, 6-of-8 passing on the drive, also had an 18-yard rush in the series, capped when he hit tight end Jack Stoll on a 4-yard touchdown pass to tie the game 7-7 with 5:55 remaining in the first quarter.
Iowa answered with another long scoring drive that lasted into the second quarter. Running back Toren Young cut back for a 4-yard touchdown run to cap a 13-play, 85-yard drive that lasted 6:34 and gave the Hawkeyes a 14-7 lead. Young also had runs of 11 and 13 yards in the scoring drive.
Nebraska cut the lead to 14-10 on a 27-yard field goal by freshman Barret Pickering. That ended a drive that featured two passes from Martinez to Washington for 16 and 35 yards, with the 35-yard catch a career long for Washington. Martinez gained 7 yards on a third-and-10 run that set up the field goal with 11:30 remaining in the second quarter.
After each time had a scoreless drive, running back Mekhi Sargent scored on a 15-yard run to give Iowa a 21-10 lead with 45 seconds left before halftime. That finished a 15-play, 85-yard drive that lasted 7:16.
Nebraska didn’t ended the half without a score, though. Martinez got the Huskers into scoring territory, and after Pickering fell short on a 51-yard field goal attempt, and offsides penalty on Iowa moved him 5 yards closer. Pickering made his second try, from 46 yards, to trim Iowa’s lead to 21-13 at halftime.
Senior linebacker Dedrick Young had 10 tackles in the game to increase his career tackle total to 284, moving him up one spot to fifth on the Nebraska career tackles list. Young is the only player in Nebraska history to record at least 60 tackles in four straight seasons.
Linebacker Mohamed Barry had a game-high 11 tackles, his seventh double-figure tackle game of the season. Barry is the first Husker to record seven double-figure tackle games since All-American Lavonte David in 2010. Barry finished the season with 112 tackles, the most tackles by a Husker since David had 133 tackles in 2011.
Running back Devine Ozigbo rushed for 50 yards and finished his senior season with 1,082 yards to finish 27th on the single-season rushing list and 10th among Husker seniors. Ozigbo finished his Nebraska career with 2,196 rushing yards to rank in a tie for 25th on the Nebraska career chart.