Hawkeyes Level Flat Huskers 38-17

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

Jake Rudock threw for two touchdowns, including a 24-yarder to Kevonte Martin-Manley right after Iowa had stuffed Nebraska on a fake punt, and the Hawkeyes finished the regular season with a 38-17 victory Friday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.

The Hawkeyes converted two of Nebraska's three turnovers into touchdowns and got a short field for a third TD after the failed fake punt. Seven of Iowa's 14 possessions started in Husker territory.

Iowa (8-4, 5-3 Big Ten) doubled its win total from a year ago and won a fourth road game for the first time since 2009. Mark Weisman ran 24 times for 72 yards and two touchdowns. Rudock left late in the third quarter with an undisclosed injury.

The Huskers (8-4, 5-3) had their lowest regular-season win total since 2008, coach Bo Pelini's first year, and lost three games at home for the first time since 2007 under Bill Callahan.

In a press conference following the third home loss this season, Pelini said a fake punt that backfired and led to Iowa extending a seven point lead, "was there" and someone missed a block. "We took a chance and it didn't work out," Pelini said. "It's my fault."

He also blasted officials on a pass interference call and subsequent sideline penalty on Pelini: “[The ref] said I got too close to him. I thought that was a chicken s*** call. Excuse my language on that, but I had never seen anything like that before. I've done a lot worse than that. I saw [Iowa head coach] Kirk Ferentz on the other side acting a lot worse than I act. I didn't see a flag come out on him. The bottom line is they knew they blew the call. They blew it. They blew that call over there on that third down. Everybody in the stadium knew it. They just didn't man up enough to pick that flag up."

Concerning the firestorm of commentary on whether Bo should retain his job or be replaced, the coach said,“I don't concern myself with that. You guys can concern yourself with that."

When asked if he had been informed of any timetable, Pelini responded, “That's not my decision, so why are you asking me the question? Talk to somebody else."

Pelini also had some words for the Nebraska media covering the Huskers, saying "You guys (the media) have chosen to make a story of it all year. It's impacted our football team. It's hurt our football team. Let's call a spade a spade. If they want to fire me, go ahead. I believe in what I've done. I don't apologize for what I've done. I don't apologize for anybody, myself or this staff. Our record since I've been here speaks for itself. This program's heading in a good direction. If you choose not to think so, that's your prerogative. All I know is that myself, the staff, the people associated with this program since I've been here can look at themselves in the mirror and feel good about what they've done."

Senior Offensive Lineman Jeremiah Sirles said he hopes Bo returns. Sirles said the "program is moving forward under Bo."

Junior Receiver Kenny Bell said, "I'd play for coach Bo against Satan himself and a team of demons at the gates of the underworld."

Former players came to Pelini's defense on social media sites. P.J. Mangeri said on Twitter, "Bo Pelini is a father figure to every man that has come through the Nebraska program. He has made everyone excel at all aspects of life."

On his Twitter account, former Defensive Back DeJon Gomes said, "Whomever thinks Coach Bo isn't a helluva coach really doesn't know college football. I'm riding with him everyday of the week. It's that simple."

Former Tight End Ben Cotton said on Twitter, "Proud to say that I played for Bo, My dad and these coaches. Losing them would be the biggest mistake for these guys and this program. (They) not only taught us football, but how to act as men in school, in the community, and in the real world. We are better men now because of them."

No word yet from NU Chancellor Harvey Perlman or Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst concerning Pelini's future tenure at Nebraska.

The loss dropped Nebraska to 8-4 overall and 5-3 in Big Ten Conference play.

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