Iowa routs Nebraska with strong second half
Iowa running back Akrum Wadley ran for 159 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Hawkeyes to a 56-14 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers in what probably was the last game of the Mike Riley era in Lincoln, Neb.
The Cornhuskers suffered just their fourth losing season since 1962 and finish the season a disappointing 4-8 and 3-6 in the Big Ten. Iowa (7-5, 4-5) won the Heroes Trophy for a third straight season, snapped a two-game losing streak and now awaits a bowl bid.
While the temperature in Lincoln was a record-high 75 for Nov. 24, the game snowballed pretty quickly as the Hawkeyes scored on their first three possessions of the second half to blow the game wide open.
Iowa’s onslaught began with the score tied at 14-14 with Ihmir Smith-Marsette returning the second-half kickoff for a touchdown. A penalty nullified the score and put the ball on the Cornhuskers’ 22-yard line.
Wadley capped the five-play drive with a 1-yard plunge to give the Hawkeyes a 21-14 lead.
Nebraska’s couldn’t move the ball and Iowa forced a punt. The Hawkeyes struck quickly and moved 56 yards in two plays with James Butler, a transfer from Nevada, scoring from 12 yards out to put the Hawkeyes up by two touchdowns.
Iowa linebacker Ben Niemann intercepted Cornhuskers quarterback Tanner Lee to set up another quick score with Wadley taking it to the house from 29 yards out, and the rout was on.
Iowa amassed 505 total yards, 313 of them coming on the ground. The Hawkeyes’ defense held Nebraska scoreless in the second half and to 267 total yards.
Lee threw two first-half touchdowns to Stanley Morgan, Jr. The first score from 14-yards out, a one-handed circus catch, put Nebraska up 7-0.
Morgan caught seven passes for 74 yards and set the single-season Nebraska receiving yards record for Nebraska with his second TD reception, a 28-yard strike. Morgan surpassed Cornhuskers legend Johnny Rodgers, who set the record with 943 yards in 1972.
Morgan finishes the season with 986 yards.
Iowa intercepted Lee three times and leads the nation with 19 picks.