It seemed like Nebraska flipped a switch late in the third quarter.
The Huskers struggled on offense for much of the day but scored 31 of the game’s final 41 points to register a come-from-behind, overtime 37-34 victory over Iowa in Iowa City.
Everything was going wrong for Bo Pelini’s team for the first 32 minutes of play. Tommy Armstrong was intercepted twice (one returned for a touchdown), punter Sam Foltz kicked the ball off his own teammate and it was returned for a touchdown by Iowa, and Drew Brown had a 27-yard field goal blocked.
So when the Huskers regained possession down 24-7 with 3:19 to go in the third quarter, they needed a score in the worst way. Quickly the switch was flipped and the Huskers scored on a five-play, 64-yard drive that culminated in a 34-yard Armstrong touchdown pass to Taariq Allen.
An excellent De’Mornay Pierson-El punt return set up Nebraska’s next score a few minutes later – a 32-yard connection between Armstrong and Kenny Bell.
Pierson-El struck again a few minutes later, but this time he would not be brought down. The true freshman took back a Dillon Kidd punt 80 yards for a touchdown to give the Huskers a 28-24 lead with 12:06 to go.
Iowa did not go away easily, however. After the teams traded punts, the Hawkeyes executed a 12-play, 53-yard touchdown drive that culminated in a five-yard touchdown pass from Jake Rudock to Jordan Canzeri on third-and-goal with 1:49 to play.
The Huskers again answered, but could not reach the end zone this time. Instead, Brown knocked down a 20-yard field goal to force overtime.
The Nebraska defense held Iowa to a field goal on the first possession of the extra frame. The Huskers then sealed the win on Armstrong’s fourth touchdown pass of the game – a nine-yard strike to Bell in the front right corner of the end zone.
Facing his fifth-straight four-loss season, Huskers coach Bo Pelini faced questions about his job status heading into the game. It didn’t look good for Pelini for much of the afternoon, but his team responded to improve to 9-3 with a bowl game on the horizon.
Nebraska has never been a bad program under Pelini, but it has been a stagnant program that has yet to win a Big Ten title. In a place where excellence has been the standard for decades, four-loss seasons lead to questions about the coach’s job security.
Meanwhile, for Iowa, the Hawkeyes finished the season at 7-5 with the loss. Iowa beat just one team with a winning record this season: FCS Northern Iowa.
For more Nebraska news, visit HuskerOnline.com.
For more Iowa news, visit HawkeyeReport.com.
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