Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

November 21, 2018 at 1:28 am.

Cornhuskers surge to the finish

In a defensive slugfest last week, Nebraska (4-7, 3-5 Big Ten) earned its most notable win of the season with a 9-6 victory over Michigan State, with all nine points coming in the fourth quarter.

In what will be the season finale for the Cornhuskers, they face off on Friday against Iowa (7-4, 4-4 Big Ten). A win would give the Cornhuskers a 5-1 finish to the season after an 0-6 start, with the lone loss in the second half of the season coming to Ohio State.

“You don’t have to know a lot about football to see that we’re playing a lot better in the second half than the first,” Nebraska head coach Scott Frost said.

“We gave ourselves chances to win games in the first half of the season, we just didn’t do the little things right to make them happen, we’re starting to do some of those things right now.”

Of course, Nebraska is facing a short week preparing for Iowa. That means some long nights for the coaching staff.

“We kind of stuck around after the game on Saturday and looked at some film,” Frost said.

“I had a bunch of recruits in town, had to do that a lot of Sunday and then had to have a walk-thru right away the day after a game. It’s not ideal, but around here that’s a tradition and I think that’s probably more important than getting us another hour or two more of sleep.”

Iowa is coming off a 63-0 drubbing of Illinois last week that snapped a three-game losing streak and gave head coach Kirk Ferentz his 150th win.

Nebraska’s hope for the future is freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez, who was inefficient against the Spartans, completing just 16 of, 37 pass attempts for 145 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. However, Frost felt Martinez executed his job against a stout Michigan State defense.

“Just understanding in those situations that it isn’t going to be a track meet and a video game type deal on a day like that,” Frost said.

“On a day like that you’ve got to be patient, be smart with the football and wait on your opportunities to make a couple plays here and there. I thought for the most part he did a really good job with that.”

Nebraska’s road matchup with Iowa kicks off at noon ET and will be nationally televised on FOX.