Black Friday recap: Iowa squanders huge chance to win Big Ten West in 24-17 loss to Nebraska

Iowa’s chances of being in the Big Ten title game are now incredibly slim.

The Hawkeyes squandered a fantastic chance to play for the Big Ten title in a humiliating 24-17 loss at home to Nebraska on Friday. Iowa was down 17-0 at halftime and its late comeback eventually fell short when it turned the ball over on downs with just over two minutes remaining and when Alex Padilla was picked off with 42 seconds to go.

Iowa needed to simply beat a Nebraska team that entered the game at 3-8 to win the Big Ten West. Now Iowa is out of Big Ten West contention and Purdue is in the title game with a win over Indiana. If Purdue loses to Indiana, Illinois is in the title game with a win over Northwestern. Iowa needs both Purdue and Illinois to lose to get into the Big Ten title game via tiebreaker over the Boilermakers.

The Hawkeyes played much of the game without QB Spencer Petras after he exited the game in the first half because of an apparent right shoulder injury. Padilla led the team to two second-half TDs, but Iowa’s lack of tactical aggressiveness at times in the final 30 minutes was head-scratching.

Iowa’s first TD of the game came in the third quarter. With Nebraska leading 24-0 before the score, a two-point conversion would have cut the deficit to two possessions. Iowa instead chose to kick the extra point and cut the lead to 17 points and keep it a three-score game.

Minutes later, Iowa was still trailing by 17 and drove into Nebraska territory and faced a 4th and 12 with less than a minute to go before the fourth. Instead of going for the first down given the three-score deficit, Iowa chose to punt the ball back to Nebraska.

Did those decisions cost Iowa the game? Not entirely. But they certainly didn’t help Iowa’s chances of winning the game. After all, this is an Iowa offense that had scored 17 points just three times all season before Friday. Minimizing the number of possessions it needed to tie the game would seem like an good idea.

But so would not being down 17-0 at halftime. An Iowa defense that has kept its part of the bargain up for most of the season had one of its worst halves of football at an inopportune time on Friday. And that could ultimately cost Iowa a chance to be a massive underdog to either Michigan or Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.

Iowa quarterback Alex Padilla (8) fumbles as he is tackled by Nebraska linebacker Eteva Mauga-Clements (5) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Iowa quarterback Alex Padilla (8) fumbles as he is tackled by Nebraska linebacker Eteva Mauga-Clements (5) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Tulane beats Cincinnati, will host AAC title game

No. 19 Tulane will host the American Athletic Conference championship game thanks to a come-from-behind 27-24 road win over No. 24 Cincinnati on Friday.

Cincinnati, the two-time defending AAC champion, rallied from a 20-10 deficit to take a 24-20 lead with 6:27 to play. But Tulane responded quickly. A little more than a minute later, Michael Pratt found Duece Watts behind the Bearcats’ defense for a 30-yard touchdown. It proved to be the game-winning touchdown.

Tyjae Spears was the star of the game for the Green Wave. Spears carried 35 times for 181 yards and two touchdowns.

Tulane’s win snapped Cincinnati’s 32-game home winning streak. Additionally, Tulane’s 61-game losing streak vs. ranked opponents — a streak that dated back to 1984 — also came to end.

Tulane will now wait to learn its opponent next weekend at Yulman Stadium. If UCF beats South Florida, it will be a Tulane-UCF rematch. UCF is the only AAC team Tulane has lost to this season. If UCF loses, it opens the door for Cincinnati or Houston.

Florida State outlasts Florida in high-scoring battle

No. 16 Florida State has taken a massive leap forward in Year 3 under Mike Norvell. The Seminoles combined for eight wins in Norvell's first two seasons as head coach but are now 9-3 this season following a 45-38 home win over rival Florida.

In the win, FSU got 270 passing yards, 83 rushing yards and three total TDs from Jordan Travis, who had multiple long runs after improbably escaping the Florida pass rush. Additionally, Trey Benson chipped in 111 yards and three rushing scores in the win.

FSU trailed 24-21 at halftime but outscored the Gators 17-0 in the third quarter to take a 38-24. Midway through the fourth, Florida responded with back-to-back touchdown drives to tie the game at 38-38 with 7:41 to play.

After surrendering the lead, FSU quickly bounced back with Benson scoring what ended up being the game-winning touchdown with 4:06 to go. From there, Florida drove deep into FSU territory in an effort to tie the score, but the Seminoles eventually got the stop they needed to seal the win.

FSU enters bowl season on a four-game winning streak. Florida, now 6-6, dropped back-to-back games to close out the regular season.

NC State, down to 4th string QB, upsets North Carolina

A few weeks ago, No. 17 North Carolina was still in the national championship conversation. Now the Tar Heels are limping into the ACC title game.

For the second straight week, UNC was upset at home. Last week, Georgia Tech won 21-17 in Chapel Hill despite having to play with its third and fourth-string quarterbacks. This week, NC State started Ben Finley, its fourth-stringer, and he led the Wolfpack to a 30-27 win in double-overtime.

It was a wild game.

NC State went ahead 24-17 and then UNC forced overtime by scoring on fourth-and-goal from the 4-yard line as time expired in regulation.

Once the game got two double-overtime, it came down to the kickers. UNC’s Noah Burnette and NC State’s Christopher Dunn were both successful in the first overtime, but only Dunn could connect in the second overtime, giving NC State the win.

North Carolina wrapped up the Coastal division two weeks ago, but will now go into the ACC title game vs. Clemson on a two-game losing streak. NC State, meanwhile, improved to 8-4 and will await its bowl placement.

North Carolina State quarterback Ben Finley (10) celebrates with fans after the team defeated North Carolina in overtime in an NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Chapel Hill, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
North Carolina State quarterback Ben Finley (10) celebrates with fans after the team defeated North Carolina in overtime in an NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Chapel Hill, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

Missouri clinches bowl eligibility with win over Arkansas

Missouri made it to 6-6 and became bowl-eligible with a 29-27 win over Arkansas.

Missouri sacked Arkansas QB K.J. Jefferson six times as it led for all but 12 minutes of the game. Arkansas took a 21-20 lead just before halftime, but Missouri scored to open the third quarter and never trailed again.

The Razorbacks had chances to win the game late, however. Arkansas got the ball back three times after kicking a field goal to cut Missouri’s lead to two with 12:40 to go. But two of its drives ended in punts and the third ended on a last-ditch lateral play as time expired.

As Mizzou heads to a bowl game because of the victory, Arkansas is left to lament a disappointing season at 6-6. The Razorbacks were pegged to be mid-pack contenders in the SEC West and instead finished with the same 3-5 conference record as Mizzou. Arkansas also lost to Liberty at home before losing by three to LSU. The Razorbacks finished just 1-4 in one-possession games in 2022.

Bijan Robinson, Texas run past Baylor

In what was almost certainly his last home game in a Texas uniform, Bijan Robinson made it count. The Longhorns’ star running back rushed for 179 yards and two touchdowns in No. 23 Texas’ 38-27 win over Baylor. UT also got 77 yards and two scores from Roschon Johnson in the win.

Texas trailed at the half and then was down 27-24 early in the fourth, but Steve Sarkisian’s team rallied with two touchdowns in the final 8:25 to get the win.

Texas finishes out the regular season with an 8-4 record with a 6-3 mark in Big 12 play. UT is still alive for a spot in the Big 12 title game, but will need Kansas State to lose to Kansas on Saturday.

Baylor, after winning the Big 12 in 2021, dropped to 6-6 with the loss.

Arizona ends Territorial Cup losing streak

For the first time since 2016, Arizona is in possession of the Territorial Cup. Thanks to two late defensive stops — a strip-sack and an interception — Arizona was able to pull out a 38-35 win over rival Arizona State.

The Wildcats struggled defensively all game, allowing 537 yards, but got the key stops when it mattered to get the win. Offensively, Michael Wiley was Arizona’s star. He ran for 214 yards and three touchdowns on just 12 carries.

With the win Arizona finishes the year 5-7, a major step forward in its second season under Jedd Fisch.

Arizona State, meanwhile, falls to 3-9 with an ongoing coaching search now coming into focus.

Boise State, Utah State deliver all-time bad beat

If you had Utah State +17 on the road vs. Boise State, you experienced a gambling nightmare.

Trailing 28-23, USU drove all the way to the Boise State 11-yard line in the final minutes of regulation. However, Boise State ended up getting a stop on fourth down to keep the lead at 28-23 with just 1:28 left.

Backed up in its own territory, Boise State was trying to run the clock out but quarterback Taylen Green reeled off a 91-yard touchdown run. That increased Boise State’s lead to 35-23 with 1:09 remaining.

Utah State was still within the number but not for long. Four plays later, USU's Cooper Legas threw a pick-six that put Boise State up 42-23 — a 19-point advantage.

To recap: Utah State was 11 yards away from taking the lead with under 90 seconds to play. Utah State then allowed a 91-yard touchdown run and a pick-six to lose by 19. Just brutal.