They call it the Heroes Game, so it's appropriate that a guy whose nickname is "Superman" stole the show.
Nebraska simply dominated Iowa on Black Friday in a very impressive defensive effort. The Hawkeyes' defense did some good things as well, but the Huskers had too much Rex Burkhead.
The junior cemented his case for All-Big Ten honors by lugging it a whopping 38 times for 160 yards. The 38 carries set a Nebraska school record; he scored a game-clinching touchdown on his 37th attempt early in the fourth quarter, and in a nice gesture by the coaching staff, Burkhead came back in for the record-breaking carry in the final seconds.
The Blackshirts didn't need much else in one of their best showings of the year, one that ranks right up there with the shutdown of Michigan State in October. If only Nebraska's defense had played close to the level of those two games all season ...
But let's stay in the moment. Iowa came in with one of the most balanced offenses in the league, but the Hawkeyes apparently thought this rivalry was called the "Zeroes Game" until late in the fourth quarter. Much of Iowa's 270 total yards came late, and Nebraska had a shutout going until Marcus Coker ran in for a touchdown with 3:26 left. Coker, who ran for 87 yards despite looking a little gimpy and tentative in the second half, was about the only offensive player who did much for Kirk Ferentz. Star receiver Marvin McNutt had only 1 yard receiving until the final five minutes and finished with just 39 yards as Alfonzo Dennard served as his personal valet down the field throughout the game.
So the Cornhuskers finish their first Big Ten season at 9-3 and 5-3 in conference play. They are almost certainly bound for a Jan. 2 bowl in Florida. It's a solid season, for sure, but still a little less than Big Red fans had hoped from this year's team, and the loss at home to Northwestern still stings. But a bowl victory would mean a third straight 10-win season under Bo Pelini.
Pelini will have a difficult time replacing Dennard and Lavonte David -- who both had tremendous games Friday -- on the defensive side, but he's got a lot of building blocks on offense. Taylor Martinez wasn't spectacular but continued to manage the game well, and freshman receiver Kenny Bell made some terrific catches on his way to 94 yards receiving. Many of the Nebraska skill players are still young.
Iowa (7-5) will go bowling, too, but it ends an inconsistent season on a down note and now will have to wait to find out how far down it will fall in the Big Ten bowl pecking order.