Football season moves so fast once it gets going. Can you believe another regular season has already almost come and gone? I mean, it’s not even Thanksgiving and the halls are decked like Christmas.
It’s a short week, so we’re a little light on predictions compared to other weeks. But it’s also good to quickly move on from that Purdue loss that 1) no one predicted last week and 2) turned on the most “scratch where it itches” halftime adjustment I’ve seen in a long time.
Anthony Mahoungou was targeted six times in the first seven plays of the third quarter and ended up with five completions for 118 yards, two touchdowns, one defensive pass interference call and a score flipped from 9-7 Iowa to 21-9 Purdue within three minutes. And that was that.
The Hawkeyes’ all-time leader in receptions returns for another round of predictions.
Kevonte Martin-Manley: Iowa 31, Nebraska 17
Steve Batterson: Iowa 31, Nebraska 24
Iowa should be able to get the legs back under its rushing attack against a hole-filled Nebraska defense. The Cornhuskers have given up an average of 289.2 rushing yards per game over their last six games, dealing with tackling and schematic issues throughout a 4-7 season. Nebraska’s Tanner Lee and a solid collection of receivers have the potential to make things interesting, but the Hawkeye ground and pound should be enough to keep the Heroes Trophy in Iowa City for a third straight year.
Both @danvasko and I like the #Hawkeyes to keep the Heroes Trophy another year since the Iowa offense can’t keep being this bad.
Right?…RIGHT? pic.twitter.com/soPBe00CU1— Adam Rossow (@AdamJRossow) November 22, 2017
Andy Staples: Iowa
Bruce Feldman: Iowa
Chris Johnson: Iowa
Joan Niesen: Iowa
Eric Single: Nebraska
Molly Geary: Iowa
Scooby Axson: Iowa
Bill Connelly: Iowa 28, Nebraska 24
Steven Lassan: Iowa
Mitch Light: Iowa
Bryan Fischer: Iowa
Hawkeye State predictions
Marc Morehouse: Iowa 24, Nebraska 20
Chad Leistikow: Iowa 35, Nebraska 20
Go Iowa Awesome
Mark Hasty: Nebraska 28, Iowa 24
Rob Howe: Iowa 27, Nebraska 20
And finally, the totally irrelevant prediction based on playing EA Sports’ NCAA Football 2004 on a PS2, as is the tradition since 2015:
Ryan Jaster: Hawkeyes 14, Nebraska 7. Nebraska started off with a 68-yard touchdown pass and it felt like Mahoungou all over again. But the Hawkeyes overcame two fumbles on their opening drive to connect for a 39-yard TD. Iowa closed the first half with a clock-eating drive capped by a rushing touchdown just before the break, and it held up. No one scored again. The teams trade possessions — and turnovers — for most of the second half until Nebraska finally puts together a late drive to set up 1st and goal at the 2. But the Hawkeyes make a stand and take over on downs with 22 seconds left to kneel it out and secure the Heroes Trophy.
This week’s totally irrelevant prediction: #Hawkeyes 14, Nebraska 7. Offense inept, but defense pulls off goal-line stand in final seconds. pic.twitter.com/cMli6ksrCf— HAWKWAVIAQ (@Hawkologist) November 22, 2017
Prognosis: No one seems to know which Iowa team will show up, but it seems clear that the Ohio State game was the outlier rather than the many games with offensive struggles. Nebraska could be exactly what the Hawkeyes need to cure them, but then again… the Big Ten road has not been kind to Iowa. Despite that, most of the experts above think this trip will be mostly pain-free.