Huskers turn attention to new rival Iowa

Story by Ryne Stefankiewicz, NewsNetNebraska

After suffering a humiliating loss at Michigan on Saturday, Nebraska turns its attention to new Big Ten rival Iowa, which comes to Lincoln on Friday.

Iowa replaces Oklahoma and Colorado as Nebraska’s day-after-Thanksgiving rival. The Huskers have played on Black Friday for 21 straight seasons – six against Oklahoma and 15 against Colorado.

Nebraska leads the all-time series with Iowa 26-12-3, but this is the first time the two will meet as members of the same conference. The Huskers and Hawkeyes haven’t met since 2000 – when Nebraska won.

Pelini said the rivalry with Iowa seems to be natural.

Friday also marks Senior Day at Memorial Stadium.  Senior Day is always an emotional one for Pelini.

“Every kid who plays on our team means a lot to me,” Pelini said. “It’s never easy watching them go.  It’s pretty emotional for them playing their last home game.”

Saturday’s loss took the Husker football team out of the Big Ten title race, but the volleyball team can still win a title if the Huskers can beat Iowa on Tuesday in Iowa City.  It would be Nebraska’s first team to claim a Big Ten title.

“We have a great opportunity to make history this week,” volleyball coach John Cook said.

Other notes from Monday’s press conference

  • There’s one other tie between the Huskers and Hawkeyes. Pelini started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Iowa under legendary Hawkeye coach Hayden Fry.

“That was a good experience,” Pelini said of his time in Iowa City.  “It was my first job in coaching.  It was enjoyable.  I actually coached on the offensive side that year.”

That coaching staff included Mike Stoops and Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops.

  • Pelini talked about the progress the Husker program has made in his fourth season.

“This program has come a long way,” he said. “Where this program was and where this program is right now; I’m proud of where this program is right now. I think we’re a better football program. Our kids are doing well academically. Our kids are doing a good job of representing this state and university.”

  • Eric Martin, who suffered an ankle injury against Michigan is questionable for Friday’s game.  Offensive lineman Andrew Rodriguez will not play, Pelini said, and tight end Ben Cotton is doubtful for Friday.