LINCOLN, NEBRASKA—If this was Bo Pelini's last game at Memorial Stadium, he didn't go quietly.
Iowa jumped on Nebraska early then hung on for a 38-17 victory, the Hawkeyes' first win at Nebraska since 1943. Iowa took advantage of three Nebraska turnovers and some generally boneheaded special teams play to gain the upper hand, and the Hawkeyes' ability to capitalize delivered the victory in Lincoln.
Ron Kellogg III threw two interceptions in the game, both of which brought the ball deep into Nebraska territory, and an Ameer Abdullah fumble in the fourth quarter sealed Nebraska's fate. The Huskers also ran a horrendous fake punt in the third quarter that led to another Iowa touchdown. It was that kind of afternoon for Nebraska.
Bo Pelini's fate is still uncertain at Nebraska going forward, and the embattled head coach had his share of very visible moments on the sideline. That's a bad thing. Pelini drew a 15-yard penalty for taking a swipe at an official after a questionable pass interference call, and his halftime interview was the stuff of grumpy rich man legend.
Still, even though Nebraska's at 8-4 (four losses a year being Bo Pelini's standard), there is an air of finality to his time at Lincoln. It's still a prime job, one of the best in the Big Ten, and Nebraska's all but assured to have its pick of coaches in 2014. Maybe that pick is Pelini. Maybe it's not. We'll find out in the coming weeks and months.
Box Score Hero: Before going out with a leg injury near the end of the third quarter, Iowa QB Jake Rudock logged 126 yards passing and two scores on 9-for-15 passing. This wasn't really a game for big stats.
Rankings Ramifications: Iowa's not likely to crack the Top 25, though a relatively high-profile win at Nebraska will probably raise a few voters' eyebrows here or there. Count on 10-15 votes or so.
But Did They Cover? Nebraska was a 3-point favorite coming into the game, so no, that's not a cover. Obviously.
Next Week's Schedule: From here it's onto the bowl games. Iowa may have sewn up an Outback Bowl berth with the win, by dint of having A) an 8-4 (5-3) record and B) beaten Nebraska and Michigan, the other two candidates for the bowl. Nebraska is likely off to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Phoenix. If the Big Ten somehow doesn't get two teams into the BCS though, shift these projections down one bowl slot: Iowa to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and Nebraska likely battling Michigan for the Gator Bowl.