Offensive lineman Tanner Farmer strode up to the podium at Nebraska’s weekly news conference on Monday. There was something authoritative about his stance, his posture. Farmer leaned into the microphone to field a question about Iowa and Nebraska’s rivalry. “Nothing needs to be said,” Farmer stated. “We’re all ready to go.”
It’s Iowa week and the bad blood is palpable between the Huskers and Hawkeyes. Senior linebacker Luke Gifford is itching to get out there, having missed the last two contests. “It’s been tough to watch from the sidelines,” Gifford said. He added that he hasn’t watched the film from the previous couple of games, and doesn’t plan on doing so “ever.”
The last three times Nebraska has played Iowa have all ended in defeat, with former head coach Mike Riley going winless in his tenure as Husker head coach. In that stretch, Iowa has put up 124 points total combined points. Nebraska on the other hand, has only put up 44.
Senior safety Tre Neal transferred to Nebraska from UCF, and wasn’t a part of those losses, but he won’t need reminding that the Huskers aren’t any fans of Iowa. “I’ve heard plenty of trash talk,” Neal said, with a smile. Mo Barry put it in simpler terms – “Iowa. That’s our rival. We don’t like them.”
Head coach Scott Frost was a little more ambivalent about the dynamic between the two border states. “Rivalry games – I’ve said this a bunch – are more for the fans than they are for the players,” Frost said. “We have to prepare like we’re playing anybody else.”
Frost said that he was actually quite friendly with Hawkeye head coach Kirk Ferentz. “Yeah I know Kirk (Ferentz) pretty well, mostly from my time at Northern Iowa (Frost was on Northern Iowa’s coaching staff from 2007-2008),” Frost said. “He’s one of the good guys in the sport.”
Just like Bob Diaco before him, Nebraska’s current defensive coordinator is a former Hawkeye. Erik Chinander played for Iowa from 1998-2002 as an offensive lineman. Frost said that he and Chinander used to get into arguments over Iowa-Nebraska football but the fighting has stopped now that Chinander is “on the good side,” Frost joked. “I’m sure it will be as emotional for him going over there as it was for me coming back here.”
Although the Huskers lead the all-time series 29-16-3, Nebraska has lost four of the last five games, and is currently on a three game losing streak to Iowa. Since Nebraska joined the Big 10, they’re 3-4 against the Hawkeyes.
Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. CT on FOX.
(Tim Curran) photo by Kenny Larabee