Nebraska’s season ends after Friday’s Heroes Game against Iowa. The Hawkeyes, meanwhile, are off to a bowl game regardless of result and play for a Big Ten Championship with a win. While the larger mystery looming over today is what happens back in Lincoln, Iowa City hosts the contested annual Black Friday game. Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts came to Kinnick Stadium, as he does most away games. But, for those interested in reading into things, he did not arrive on one of the initial team buses like usual.
A completely sunny sky heated Duke Slater Field, which hovered around 50 degrees just before kickoff. It’s an unseasonably warm day and should make for pristine Big Ten football conditions in November. Despite massive attention on the coaching search, there’s a game set for a 3 p.m. kickoff. Like every other Heroes Game, today’s contest gives those involved time to recognize something beyond football.
The 2022 edition of the Heroes Game will honor different local heroes. Charity auctioneers Randy Stabe and Clint Vos of Iowa and Blake Vitale of Falls City will be recognized at today’s game. Stabe and Vos volunteered their auctioneering services to over 30 local charities for more than three decades. Vitale rescued his three sleeping siblings from a house fire on November 23, 2012, when he was just 10 years old. The nominated heroes from Iowa and Nebraska will be recognized at halftime, per tradition in the rivalry.
>> Nebraska’s defense will shuffle slightly due to Marques Buford’s knee injury. Isaac Gifford moves to safety in Buford’s absence while Javin Wright and Omar Brown will see time at nickel. Luke Reimer was also not suited during initial warmups and is out.
>> Meanwhile, Iowa is without leading receiver Sam LaPorta. As a result, sophomore Luke Lachey and freshman Addison Ostrenga will see increased playing time.
>> Today’s game against Iowa is the final college football game for a dozen Huskers. Team captain Caleb Tannor, Omar Manning, Eteva Mauga-Clements, Brandon Moore, Chris Kolarevic, Brady Weas, Broc Bando, Trent Hixson, Chancellor Brewington, Travis Vokolek, Oliver Martin and Devin Drew will all exhaust their NCAA eligibility with the conclusion of Friday’s game. All of them were among the 31 Huskers who were honored in Senior Day festivities ahead of the Wisconsin game.
>> Tannor now ties a school record with 56 game appearances (Cameron Meredith 2008-12) by playing in today’s contest. Tannor has played in every game since arriving in Lincoln ahead of the 2018 season.
>> This is the 12th consecutive season Iowa and Nebraska play on Black Friday. Iowa has won eight of the last nine meetings between the two. Nebraska leads the all-time series 29-20-3 and 10-9 in Iowa City. But the Hawkeyes are 8-3 through the 11 previous meetings as Big Ten opponents. The last four games between the two were separated by a touchdown or less.
>> Today marks the 33rd straight year Nebraska has played a game the day after Thanksgiving. That includes the past 12 seasons against Iowa, the years against Colorado before that (1996-2010) and the series with Oklahoma (1990-95) that started the tradition.
>> The Iowa football team will honor longtime former assistant coach Bill Brashier with a “BB” decal on their helmets. Brashier recently passed away at 93. He retired as an assistant coach after the 1995 season, concluding a 17-year long coaching stint in Iowa City.
>> Today is also Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz’s 300th game as Iowa’s head coach. He has won 115 career Big Ten games, trailing only historic coaches Bo Schembechler of Michigan (143) and Woody Hayes of Ohio State (153).