Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Huskers Open as 9-point Underdog in Season Finale at Iowa

November 20, 2022

Nebraska is down to its last football game of 2022 and spoiler is the only role that remains.

The Huskers (3-8, 2-6) head to Iowa City Friday to face a Hawkeyes team that can clinch the West Division title with a win.

Circa Sports made Iowa a 9-point favorite on its opening line on Sunday. The game total started at 42.5.

Iowa (7-4, 5-3) is in a position to claim back-to-back division titles thanks to a four-game winning streak West Division foes. On Saturday, the Hawkeyes wrung out a 13-10 win at Minnesota despite the Gophers rushing for 312 yards. The win left Iowa in a tie for first place with Purdue, which beat Northwestern.

The Hawkeyes beat the Boilermakers on Nov. 5, giving Iowa the head-to-head tie-breaker.

Nebraska enters Friday having lost five straight. A 43-37 loss at Purdue started the slide, and in the four games since the Huskers have failed to score more than 14 points in any game. Iowa has given up 13 or fewer points in each of its four consecutive wins.

ESPN’s Football Power Index ranks Iowa 31st this week, Nebraska 74th. The FPI ratings, adding 2.5 points for home field advantage, project a line of Iowa -12.8.

Should the Huskers pull the upset Friday, Purdue would play Indiana the following day knowing a win would put the Boilermakers in Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship Game. If both Iowa and Purdue lose, Illinois would still have a chance to win the division with a victory over Northwestern.

After beating the Huskers in Lincoln Oct. 29, the Illini were in the driver’s seat with a 4-1 conference record but have since lost three straight.

In addition to playing spoiler, Nebraska is also looking for its first win against Iowa since 2014. The Huskers and Hawkeyes kick off at 3pm CT on BTN.

Elsewhere in the Big Ten:

Illinois at Northwestern +12: The Illini (7-4, 4-4) need a win to even have a shot at the division. The Wildcats (1-10, 1-7) need a win to…well…avoid having just one win this season.

Minnesota at Wisconsin -2: The Gophers (7-4, 4-4) and Badgers (6-5, 4-4) can finish in a tie for first place with a win and some help, but there’s no tie-breaker scenario that would put either team through to Indy.

Purdue at Indiana +10: The Boilermakers’ (7-4, 5-3) situation is explained above. The Hoosiers (4-7, 2-6) snapped a seven-game losing streak on Saturday, knocking off Michigan State in overtime.

Michigan State at Penn State -16: The Spartans (5-6, 3-5) need a win to reach bowl eligibility. The Nittany Lions (9-2, 6-2) are seeking a 10th win and better bowl positioning.

Rutgers at Maryland -14: Somebody is snapping a losing streak on Saturday. The Scarlet Knights (4-7, 1-7) have lost four straight, the Terrapins (6-5, 3-5) three straight.

Michigan at Ohio State -8: Relish it. The Wolverines (11-0, 8-0) and Buckeyes (11-0, 8-0) navigated 11 games without a loss to set up the perfect sort of rivalry game–one with everything at stake. Winner advances to the championship game, but the loser here might not be totally out of the playoff picture. Both teams survived scares on Saturday, Michigan beating Illinois 19-17 on a late field goal and Ohio State tacking on a late score to put away Maryland, 43-30.

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