For only the third time in the last 54 seasons, Nebraska will finish the season with a losing record.
The Huskers fell to 5-7 with a 28-20 loss to #3 Iowa (12-0) Friday at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.
“This team fought all year; there was never a game where they didn’t compete in,” said Riley following the loss. “There is a lot of things we wish we could get back, there’s a few plays here and there, but that’s not life.”
Nebraska’s loss came at the hand of four turnovers committed, while the Husker defense was only able to force one Iowa turnover. Husker Quarterback Tommy Armstrong threw four interceptions.
“Cost us the game,” Armstrong said. “If it’s anybody’s fault it’s mine. Defense played well, our receivers caught well, offensive line blocked well. Put us in great positions to win the game. I just didn’t take care of the football.”
Armstrong threw for 296 yards on 25/45 passing. Iowa quarterback CJ Beathard completed only nine passes for 97 yards and a touchdown.
Nebraska’s defense played well for much of the game, allowing only 250 yards of offense, while the Husker offense racked up 433 yards. Most stats in the game favored the Huskers, doubled Iowa’s 11 first downs with 22 and holding the Hawkeyes without a conversion on third down in the entire game.
But the stats tell little of the whole story, which included two long touchdown runs by Iowa’s Jordan Canzeri in the third quarter, which ended up being the difference.
“My understanding is that we missed an adjustment,” said senior defensive end Jack Gangwish. “Something that you try to avoid, obviously, but it happens.”
With the loss, the Huskers are left wondering about bowl game possibilities. Ordinarily 5-7 teams go without a bowl game, but it’s possible that there will not be enough 6-6 teams in college football this year to fill out all the bowl games.
“I’d especially like a bowl game this year,” said Gangwish. “I’d like to prolong my playing time a little, that’d be incredible.”
Coach Mike Riley says he’d like the team to be able to reach a bowl game. “Whatever it is, whatever happens with this team… there is enough stuff here where we will be excited about working on it in the near future.”
But for now, Nebraska will have to wait to find out if that future includes another game in 2015.