Week 14 - Iowa at Nebraska

Posted Nov 27, 2013

Week 14 Fearless Prediction & Preview - Iowa at Nebraska

Iowa (7-4) at Nebraska (8-3) Nov. 29 12:00, ABC

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Has Bo Pelini been fired yet?

A funny thing happened on the way to the unemployment line; Nebraska turned out to be okay, and now it has a shot at a ten-win season with a win over the Hawkeyes and a bowl victory. Is that enough for the Lincoln faithful? Probably not, but at the very least the Huskers have managed to fight well despite a nightmare of a problem holding on to the ball and the loss of starting quarterback Taylor Martinez. It might not be a Big Ten championship season, but with a win, Nebraska could finish the year with four wins in the final five.

Iowa has put together a nice season and an excellent second half, winning three of the last four games with the only loss a tough day against Wisconsin. With a win over Michigan, now the Hawkeyes can look to a halfway decent bowl game, and if they can get by the Huskers, all of a sudden, this could turn into a great campaign considering the losses so far have come to an unbeaten Northern Illinois team that might end up in the BCS, Michigan State and Ohio State, and the Badgers.

Why Iowa Might Win: This could be a bad matchup for Nebraska. The Huskers keep on surprising with the passing game when absolutely needed, but this is first and foremost a running team. Iowa's run defense has been fantastic, thanks to one of the best and most experienced linebacking corps in the Big Ten, allowing just 124 yards per game and allowing a mere four touchdowns – two to Wisconsin and two to Ohio State. Considering this might be a low scoring game, special teams and field position should be a bit deal. Iowa has the best punt return game in the Big Ten, averaging 15 yards per try, while Nebraska is dead last in the conference, and 119th in the nation, averaging 3.1 yards per pop.

Why Nebraska Might Win: Ohio State and Wisconsin each powered the ball on Iowa and ran for over 200 yards – no surprise there, but the other team that hit the 200-yard mark was Northwestern, mainly because a relatively healthy Kain Colter rook off for 60 yards and Mike Trumpy was able to pound away a bit. Nebraska might not have a Taylor Martinez in the backfield, but quick backs like Ameer Abdullah have given the Iowa front seven a hard time. On the other side of the ball, the Nebraska defense might not be a rock, but it's great at getting off the field, doing a brilliant job on third downs allowing teams to convert just 29% of the time.

Who To Watch Out For: Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock is setting the tone for what should be a solid next few seasons. He might not be adding too much of a vertical passing game to a team that had none last year, but he has been accurate and steady throughout the season. While he's coming off a 239-yard day against Michigan, and he has four touchdown passes in his last two games, he continues to have a big, big problem with interceptions, throwing 12 on the year and three against the Wolverines. Nebraska is all too happy to give the ball away; Rudock has to do his part and not help out the Huskier turnover margin.

What Will Happen: Nebraska will close strong. It'll be a tough, low-scoring battle with field position and the kicking game playing major factors, but Abdullah will have yet another good performance and the Husker D will do just enough against the run to make Rudock try to win the game – and then the picks will come.

Prediction: Nebraska 24 … Iowa 20
Line: Nebraska -3 o/u: 48
Must See Rating: (5 American Hustle – 1 The Sound of Music Live!) … 3
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