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By RANDY PETERSON
Register Staff Writer
Register staff writer Randy Peterson evaluates Saturday's game on a scale of one to three footballs:
There was nowhere to run . . .
Remember 1998? Saturday was similar. The Hawkeyes rushed for only 57 yards, passed for only 112 yards and got only eight first downs. Tailback Ladell Betts fumbled twice.
Nebraska can do that to people, but there will be defenses just as good as the Cornhuskers in the Big Ten Conference. Penn State comes to mind.
. . . and nowhere to pass
Quarterback Kyle McCann had a below-average effort with 11 completions for 112 yards. He did all right with short passes, but overshot receivers with long-range aerials. Of course, it's always a lot easier when you have time to think.
Jury still out on McCann
McCann has had better days - largely because he was seeing red most of the time. He was visibly aching after the game. With the running game nonexistent, the role of the quarterback is going to increase. Long passes may become more prevalent. Complete a few and open a few holes for the backs. McCann threw long at times Saturday - too long.
Punter was Iowa's MVP
The Hawkeyes' offense was so bad that Jason Baker punted 12 times. "I did?" he asked in a bewildered tone. "I can't remember punting that many times in a game." He averaged 42.1 yards on those punts and dropped one inside the 20-yard line. Three other times, he sent punts into the end zone, when a shorter pooch would have been better.
Defense can sue for lack of support
It was on the field nearly 36 of the 60 minutes. That's too much on a day in which the temperature reached 92 degrees in the fourth quarter. The Iowa defense was the reason Nebraska led only 7-0 at halftime. "The defense played a heck of a first half. The second half they were probably tired," center A.J. Blazek said. "We owe them because they were on the field most of the game."
Black and gold and red unite
The crowd was something veteran Kinnick Stadium observers hadn't seen in a long time. Nebraska fans were everywhere among the capacity crowd of 70,397. Every section had a sprinkling, even the sections directly in front of the Iowa bench. By most accounts, they got along nicely.
It was just average. Everyone played, which was good. Backup quarterback Scott Mullen should have played more, considering the beating McCann took and the fact the game was out of reach. Mullen played, but not until the fourth quarter. Ferentz has been high on running back Robbie Crockett, but he carried the ball only three times. To his credit, the plays got to McCann quick enough to avoid calling a time-out at the line of scrimmage. "I got my feet wet today and hopefully I improved today, too," he said.
KICKOFF - 6 p.m. Saturday
TV, RADIO - Fox, Iowa network
SERIES - Iowa leads, 33-13
LAST MEETING - Iowa State beat Iowa at Iowa City, 27-9, in 1998.
KEY PLAYERS - Iowa State tailback Darren Davis has a chance to become the first Cyclone with three 1,000-yard rushing seasons in his career. He had 1,005 yards in 1997 and 1,166 yards in 1998. Davis was unstoppable last season against Iowa with 244 yards and a touchdown on 37 carries. Also uncontainable last season against Iowa was returning linebacker Jesse Beckom, whose eight tackles included two sacks.