(Friday, November 25th)
Final Score: (22) Nebraska 20, Iowa 7
Lincoln, NE (Sports Network) - Rex Burkhead carried the ball 38 times for 160 yards and a touchdown, as the 22nd-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers wrapped up their first regular season in the Big Ten Conference with a 20-7 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes in the inaugural Heroes Game.
Burkhead's 38 carries broke the previous school record of 37 carries by Cory Ross in the 2003 Alamo Bowl against Michigan State.
Taylor Martinez completed 12-of-22 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown for the Cornhuskers (9-3, 5-3 Big Ten), who have won nine or more games in each of Bo Pelini's four seasons as head coach.
Kenny Bell caught five passes for 93 yards for Nebraska, which went 6-1 at home this season.
"It was a big game for us," Pelini said. "Our team was very upset with ourselves for the way we played in that Michigan game. Just because we didn't play our best football. No one on our football team made an excuse. No one pointed a finger. Everybody, on a short week, came back and approached it the right way. And for that, that's why I say I'm proud of our team."
James Vandenberg connected on 16-of-35 passes for 182 yards and an interception for the Hawkeyes (7-5, 4-4), who lost two of three to end the regular season.
Marcus Coker carried the ball 18 times for 87 yards and a score in defeat.
These two teams met for the first time since the Cornhuskers won both games of a home-and-home series with the Hawkeyes in 1999-2000.
The first quarter featured five punts, with Nebraska taking over at its own 25 with one minute left. Faced with a 3rd-and-5 on the first play of the second period, the Cornhuskers got a first down due to a holding call on Iowa. Bell's 19-yard catch two plays later put the ball at the Iowa 38. The home team had to settle for a 40-yard Brett Maher field goal.
The Hawkeyes moved the ball into Nebraska territory on the ensuing possession. On 3rd-and-13 from the 38, Vandenberg gained nothing on the ground. Iowa was forced to punt.
The Cornhuskers extended their lead with a 15-play, 80-yard scoring drive. After converting on third down earlier, Burkhead rumbled forward for two yards on 4th-and-1. Burkhead ripped off a five-yard run three plays later to pick up another first down. Kyler Reed caught a six-yard TD pass on 3rd-and-3 to give the home team a 10-0 edge with 32 seconds remaining.
The home team tacked on a field goal in the third quarter. Bell's 28-yard catch combined with a horse collar tackle on Iowa put Nebraska at the 11. Maher made a 21-yarder to make it 13-0.
Burkhead put the game away for Nebraska early in the fourth stanza. The junior running back ran the ball seven times during a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive. His two-yard TD run with 11 1/2 minutes to play made it a 20-0 contest.
"He's a good running back. We knew that coming in," Iowa linebacker James Morris said of Burkhead. "He broke some tackles and gained some yards. He hurt us a little more than we were anticipating."
Coker's two-yard rushing TD with 3 1/2 minutes remaining accounted for the final margin.
Nebraska owns a 27-12-3 advantage in the all-time series with Iowa. The Cornhuskers improved to 14-2-1 against Iowa in Lincoln...Nebraska recorded nine wins for the 38th time in the last 42 seasons...Coker caught three passes for 39 yards...The Cornhuskers rushed for 222 yards, compared to 88 for Iowa.
11/25 16:41:27 ET