Iowa defeats Nebraska, 28-21

Published: Nov. 26, 2021 at 11:28 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Spencer Petras’s 2-yard touchdown run with 2:58 left gave 17th-ranked Iowa its first lead and the Hawkeyes came back from a 15-point deficit in the third quarter to beat Nebraska 28-21.

Iowa won the border battle for the seventh straight year but not before Jermari Harris intercepted Logan Smothers’ pass at the Iowa 2 with 43 seconds to play. The Hawkeyes got their 10th win and stayed alive in the Big Ten West race. Minnesota must beat Wisconsin on Saturday for Iowa to go to the conference championship game.

The Huskers finished 3-9 for their worst season since 1957.

With the win, Iowa has now won seven straight in the series and five straight in Lincoln. Nebraska still leads the all-time series 29-20-3, but Iowa owns an 8-3 edge since NU joined the Big Ten.

Freshman quarterback Logan Smothers made his first career start. Smothers completed 16-of-22 passes for 198 yards and rushed 24 times for 64 yards and two touchdowns. Smothers was 5-of-5 for 58 yards passing and had 14 carries for 64 yards rushing in the first half. Smothers accounted for 67 yards on NU’s opening drive, with 47 passing yards and 20 rushing yards. Smothers entered the game with 119 career passing yards and 70 rushing yards.

Smothers completed his first seven passes of the game and had four passes of at least 25 yards.

Smothers set career highs in both passing and rushing yards. His previous highs were 54 yards passing (Buffalo) and 36 yards rushing (Fordham). His 24-yard run in the second quarter was a career long rush for Smothers.

Tight end Austin Allen caught two passes for 55 yards to give him 602 receiving yards this season, a Nebraska record for receiving yardage by a tight end. Junior Miller held the previous record with 560 receiving yards in 1978. Allen also finished with a season record for receptions with 38 catches in 2021.

Allen had 27-yard reception in the third quarter and a 28-yard catch in the fourth quarter. Those long receptions gave him 12 catches of longer than 20 yards this season. He entered the game averaging 15.2 yards per catch, which was 2.9 yards more than any other Big Ten tight end.

Senior receiver Samori Toure had six receptions for 67 yards, including receptions of 19 and 28 yards on Nebraska’s opening series. With his six catches, Toure ended his career with 201 receptions, including his time at Montana and Nebraska.

With his 67 receiving yards, Toure increased his season yardage total to 898, moving him up into a tie for sixth place on the Nebraska single-season yardage list.

Receiver Omar Manning had a career-long 40-yard reception in the third quarter to set up a Nebraska touchdown. His previous long was 32 yards against Fordham.

Receiver Levi Falck caught two passes in the game, giving him 101 in his collegiate career, including his career at South Dakota and Nebraska.

Nebraska had a 94-yard scoring drive in the third quarter, tying its season long drive (also vs. Purdue).

Safety Marquel Dismuke had seven tackles in the game, giving him 204 career tackles. He is the eighth Husker defensive back and 40th Husker overall with 200 career tackles.

Luke Reimer finished with seven tackles to increase his season total to 108. His tackle total is the most by a Husker since Mohamed Barry had 112 tackles in 2018.

Caleb Tannor had two pass breakups in the game. He entered the game with two career PBU.

Nebraska held Iowa scoreless in the first quarter. In seven home games this season, Nebraska allowed just seven first-quarter points (TD by Northwestern).

In addition to Logan Smothers making his first start at quarterback, running back Jaquez Yant and defensive lineman Deontre Thomas both made their first career starts.

Iowa’s blocked punt for a touchdown in the fourth quarter was the first time Nebraska has allowed a blocked punt return for a touchdown since Kansas’ Darren Rus returned a blocked punt 20 yards for a touchdown on Nov. 5, 2005.

Nebraska averaged a school-record 9.35 yards per pass attempt in 2021. The previous record was 9.09 yards per pass attempt in 1978.

Austin Allen set NU tight end records for the most receptions (38) and yards (602) in a season.

Although he did not play against Iowa, Adrian Martinez set a school record by averaging 308.0 yards of total offense per game in 2021. Martinez broke his own record of 295.1 yards of total offense per game, which he set as a freshman in 2018.

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