No. 22 Huskers look to enhance bowl position

BY foxsports • November 20, 2011

Now that Nebraska has been eliminated from the Big Ten Legends Division race, all the Cornhuskers can do is try to enhance their bowl position.

The 22nd-ranked Huskers (8-3, 4-3) were the popular pick to win their division in their first year in the conference. Those hopes are gone after Saturday's embarrassing 45-17 loss at Michigan.

Receiver Tim Marlowe said he and his teammates won't let down in Friday's final regular-season game against Iowa.

''We play for us, we play for our team, we play for our coaches, our families, the state of Nebraska,'' Marlowe said. ''We have a lot of pride. We still have a chance to win 10 games. We have a great Iowa team coming in. We hope to beat them, get to a good bowl game and hopefully end the year 10-3.''

With a win over Iowa, the best Nebraska probably could hope for is a bid to the Outback Bowl on Jan. 2. A loss probably would drop the Huskers into the Insight Bowl on Dec. 28 or Gator on Jan. 2.

Iowa (7-4, 4-3) inherits the day-after-Thanksgiving spot on Nebraska's schedule that used to be reserved for Big Eight/Big 12 rivalry games against Oklahoma and Colorado.

The Hawkeyes will come to Lincoln looking for a third win in a row for the first time this season. They beat Michigan 24-16 two weeks ago in Iowa City and defeated Purdue 31-21 on the road Saturday.

''We're going to try and rally the troops this week,'' Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. ''We're going to go into a very tough environment against a very good football team. I really feel like anybody can beat anybody in this conference. We'll see if we can put a good plan together and go over and play hard.''

The game is being promoted by the universities as the ''Heroes Game,'' which will honor citizens in both states who are ''admired for their brave deeds and noble qualities.''

Another piece of hardware, the Corn Bowl trophy, also will be on the line. Members of student groups from both schools came up with the idea to award the winner a golden bowl filled with ears of dry field corn.

Nebraska wouldn't have deserved even a box of rocks for its performance against the Wolverines.

The Huskers lost three of four fumbles, got fooled on a fake field goal and were penalized eight times for 73 yards.

Rex Burkhead was held to a season-low 36 yards and didn't score for the first time this season. Taylor Martinez ran for 49 yards and was 9 of 23 for 122 yards with a touchdown and a fumble.

Nebraska generated a season-low 260 yards and didn't convert a third down until late in the third quarter.

Michigan's Denard Robinson ran for 83 yards and passed for 180, and Fitzgerald Toussaint had 138 yards rushing and two scores.

''We knew what they were going to do,'' Nebraska safety Austin Cassidy said. ''It's more disappointing when we get what we were expecting. Coaches had us in the right call and we just didn't execute. That's what is so disappointing.''

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