Lincoln, Neb. — Keith Duncan kicked a 48-yard field goal with one second left, giving No. 19 Iowa a 27-24 victory over Nebraska on Friday that leaves the Cornhuskers out of the postseason for a third consecutive season.
The Hawkeyes (9-3, 6-3 Big Ten) overcame a sluggish second half offensively to beat the Cornhuskers (5-7, 3-6) for a fifth straight year and second year in a row on a late field goal. Last year they won on Miguel Recinos’ 41-yarder as time expired.
Iowa, which had its 14-point lead wiped out in the third quarter, started its final possession at its 26 with 32 seconds left. Nate Stanley had a long pass to Nico Ragaini overturned to incomplete on video review, but then completed a pair of 22-yard passes to Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Sam LaPorta to bring on the reliable Duncan.
The Huskers called two timeouts before Duncan drilled the winner down the middle and with plenty of distance.
“He’s proven time and time again in practice and in games that he’s going to perform for us,” Stanley said. “We knew we didn’t have to score a touchdown. We feel confident with our guys that we’re going to be able to make plays out there.”
Nebraska, down 24-10 at half, tied it with back-to-back touchdowns in the third quarter. Luke McCaffrey entered the game for a play in place of quarterback Adrian Martinez, rolled to his left and hit JD Spielman with a perfect 39-yard TD pass.
After the Huskers forced a punt, Martinez was back in and the Huskers played some power football while driving 60 yards for the tying score. The Huskers ran on 12 of 13 plays, the only pass being an 11-yarder to Kade Warner to convert a fourth-and-6 before Wyatt Mazour ran up the middle into the end zone from 9 yards.
Smith-Marsette scored on a 45-yard on a reverse run and ran back a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown and Tyler Goodson broke a 55-yard TD run as Iowa got out to its lead in the first half.
Iowa had 18 plays for 191 yards in the first quarter but just 131 yards on 38 plays for the remainder of the game. Iowa gained 11 yards in the second quarter and 7 in the third.
Iowa rushed for 225 yards, its most since going for 351 against Middle Tennessee on Sept. 28, but 100 came on two scoring plays.
“It was about three plays on defense in the first half,” Nebraska coach Scott Frost said. “Our edge lost contain on the reverse, which can’t happen. We got cut out of the backside of another. We missed tackle on another one. Aside from that, the defense held its own against the run game and did a great job against what probably will be an NFL quarterback, an NFL arm. Those two big plays and the kickoff return really hurt us.”
Stanley completed 11 of 24 passes for 99 yards, his lowest total since throwing for 86 against Maryland last year. Tyler Goodson ran 13 times for a season-high 116 yards.
Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz moved ahead of the man he replaced, Hayden Fry, on the Big Ten list for career conference wins. Ferentz now has 97 in 21 seasons, behind only Ohio State’s Woody Hayes (153), Michigan’s Bo Schembechler (143) and the University of Chicago’s Amos Alonzo Stagg (115).
This was the ninth straight Black Friday meeting between Iowa and Nebraska. A Big Ten scheduling change-up has the Huskers playing Minnesota on the day after Thanksgiving the next two years. Iowa-Nebraska will be back on Black Friday in 2022.
Friday's Top 25 games
► (At) No. 17 Memphis 34, No. 18 Cincinnati 24: Brady White threw for 233 yards and two touchdowns as Memphis beat Cincinnati for the Tigers’ third straight American Athletic Conference West title and the right to host the league championship — and the Bearcats again — next week.
This will be the first time that Memphis (11-1, 7-1, No. 18 CFP) will host a conference title game in program history.
And the league championship will be a rematch between these teams after Memphis snapped a nine-game winning streak by the East Division champs. Cincinnati (10-2, 7-1, No. 19 CFP) hadn’t lost since being routed by Ohio State on Sept. 7.
Joseph Dorceus and Bryce Huff had two sacks apiece, and Memphis finished with five. The Tigers came up with three turnovers, including an interception by Sanchez Blake Jr. with 1:35 left.
► No. 20 Boise State 31, (at) Colorado State 24: Jaylon Henderson accounted for three scores, defensive tackle David Moa came up with a big late sack and Boise State beat Colorado State 3to finish undefeated in Mountain West conference play for the first time.
Henderson ran for a short score early in the fourth to give Boise State some breathing room. He also threw two TD passes, giving him eight over the past three games as he fills in for banged-up starter Hank Bachmeier and backup Chase Cord.
Garrett Collingham hauled in one of Henderson’s TD passes and ran in another as the Broncos head into the league’s championship game with a head of steam. They host Hawaii on Saturday.
This version of Boise State (11-1, 8-0 MW, No. 20 CFP) became the program’s first to run through Mountain West regular season play unblemished. The Broncos have finished the conference portion of their schedule with one loss five times since joining the league in 2011.
Patrick O’Brien threw for 289 yards and two TDs for the Rams (4-8, 3-5).
► No. 22 Appalachian State 48, (at) Troy 13: Zac Thomas passed for 326 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for a fifth score to lead Appalachian State to a romp over Troy oin the regular-season finale.
The win assured the Mountaineers (11-1, 7-1 Sun Belt Conference) of hosting the league title game against Louisiana next Saturday.
Thomas, Darrynton Evans, Thomas Hennigan and others all delivered big plays for Appalachian State, which reached the end zone on each of its first five possessions against the Trojans (5-7, 3-5).
Thomas was 28-of-34 passing with his final attempt a 25-yard scoring strike to Evans to start the fourth quarter. He had a 12-yard touchdown run.
Evans also scored on runs of 52 and 9 yards and gained 82 yards. Hennigan gained 140 yards on 11 catches and Malik Williams caught two short touchdown passes.
► (At) Virginia 39, No. 23 Virginia Tech 30: Brian Delaney kicked a 48-yard field with 1:23 to play to put Virginia ahead and the Cavaliers sealed it with a defensive score, beating Virginia Tech to end a 15-game losing streak in the rivalry and earn their first trip to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.
Bryce Perkins ran for two long touchdowns and passed for another for the Cavaliers (9-3, 6-2), who became the seventh different winner in as many years to claim the Coastal Division. Delaney also kicked a 25-yard field goal for Virginia, and his last kick made up for a missed extra point early.
Hendon Hooker ran for one touchdown and threw for another for the Hokies (8-4, 5-3), who came in having won six of seven games to surge into championship contention.
The Cavaliers’ winning drive began with Noah Taylor’s interception of Hooker’s pass at the Virginia 35. Virginia moved steadily downfield, not facing a third down play until it was third-and-15 from the Hokies’ 40. Perkins hit Tavares Kelly for nine yards and Delaney converted the kick, setting off a cautious celebration.