It’s been a season to forget for Nebraska and its fans. Saturday’s last-second 15-14 loss to Wisconsin was the latest gut-punch.

But 1 last opportunity is on the post-Thanksgiving table for the Huskers. A trip to Iowa City on Black Friday and a chance to end a 7-game skid against Iowa and deny the Hawkeyes a trip to the Big Ten Championship Game.

Interim head coach Mickey Joseph is likely coaching his final game in that capacity. An announcement on the new coach could come as early as this week. And whether Joseph stays on staff should be determined quickly. In the meantime, he’ll have a short week to prepare Nebraska to face an Iowa team coming off a 13-10 win over Minnesota.

Kirk Ferentz’s Hawkeyes have dominated the series of late. Seven straight wins over their rivals to the west and victories in 8 of the past 9. Iowa has won 5 straight in Memorial Stadium and has scored 26 points or more in each of the past 9 contests.

Nebraska has lost the past 7 meetings in a variety of ways. From last-second FG to getting torched on the ground. Let’s take a quick peek at the past 7 meetings and how each played out in favor of the Hawkeyes.

No. 3 Iowa 28, Nebraska 20 – Nov. 27, 2015 – Lincoln

A disappointing season left Nebraska needing a win to reach bowl eligibility in its final game. The Hawkeyes came in unbeaten and ranked 3rd in the country.

Jordan Canzeri ran for 140 yards and 2 TDs, leading Iowa to its first-ever 12-0 regular season. The Hawkeyes’ defense, a mainstay all season, picked off Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. 4 times.

The Hawkeyes dropped a 16-13 decision to Michigan State the following week in the Big Ten Championship Game.

Iowa 40, Nebraska 10 – Nov. 25, 2016 – Iowa City

Iowa pounced on the Huskers with a physical ground game that saw 2 players go over 100 yards on the day.

LeShun Daniels led the way with 158 yards and 2 scores, while Akrum Wadley added 105 yards and a TD. The Nebraska defense was no match for the downhill running game of the Hawkeyes and the normally competitive affair turned 1-sided quickly.

Iowa 56, Nebraska 14 – Nov. 24, 2017 – Lincoln

In Mike Riley’s final game as Nebraska coach, the Huskers were routed in embarrassing fashion in front of a sellout home crowd in Lincoln.

The Hawkeyes broke open a 14-all game in the 3rd quarter with a 28-0 advantage in the period. Wadley had his 2nd straight 100-yard game vs. Nebraska with 159 yards and 3 TDs. With the game totally out of hand late, Nebraska fans filed out quietly and all that was left were chants of “Let’s Go Hawks” reverberating from the stands.

Iowa 31, Nebraska 28 – Nov. 23, 2018 – Iowa City

Scott Frost’s inaugural season was 1 of his best chances to get a win over Ferentz. But it wasn’t meant to be.

Once again, behind a lethal rushing attack, Iowa was able to hold off a 4th quarter rally by the Huskers. Mekhi Sargent went for 173 yards and a score. Toren Young added 83 rush yards and another TD.

Nebraska rallied from a 28-13 deficit to tie the game, but Iowa’s Miguel Recinos knocked through the game-winning 41-yard FG as time expired.

As in years past, the physicality of the Iowa offensive line opened holes and paved the way to victory.

No. 17 Iowa 27, Nebraska 24 – Nov. 29, 2019 – Lincoln

Keith Duncan’s 48-yard FG provided the winning points with 1 second left.

The Hawkeyes saw their 24-10 halftime lead evaporate after a pair of NU touchdowns in the 3rd quarter. But Duncan left no doubt, splitting the uprights with his kick to extend Iowa’s win streak over Nebraska to 5.

Tyler Goodson ran for 116 yards and a TD, making it the 5th straight season a Hawkeyes back went over the century mark against the Huskers.

No. 24 Iowa 26, Nebraska 20 – Nov. 27, 2020 – Iowa City

Duncan again played the hero, kicking a pair of 4th quarter FGs to break a 20-all tie.

Goodson went over 100 yards for the 2nd year in a row, running for 111 on 30 carries. Spencer Petras threw for 193 yards and a TD.

Nebraska had its chances. Wan’Dale Robinson had a combined 117 yards rushing and receiving. Adrian Martinez was 18-for-20 throwing. But a 4th quarter in which the Huskers were stymied several times by the Iowa defense proved fatal in the end.

No. 16 Iowa 28, Nebraska 21 – Nov. 26, 2021 – Lincoln

Maybe Nebraska’s best chance to end the skid — especially after holding a 21-9 lead after 3 quarters at home.

But things unraveled. Quick. Starting with a blocked punt returned 14 yards for a TD. Then a safety. Momentum had swung big time.

By the time Spencer Petras scored on a 1-yard QB sneak with 3 minutes remaining, it added up to a 19-0 Iowa advantage in the final period. A complete flop in how things had played out over the first 3 periods.

Goodson went for 156 yards on 23 carries, his 3rd straight 100+ yard game against the Huskers.

What does it all mean?

Plain and simple, this: Iowa is the better team. Better program. And has been over the past decade.

The Hawkeyes are much better up front. That’s obvious considering in each of the past 7 games, they’ve had a back rush for over 100 yards. They believe in their system and play to it. Nebraska has been unable to stop it.

Iowa also hangs its hat on defense. It shows. Over the past 7 years, the Hawkeyes have gotten stops when they need them. Nebraska hasn’t. It’s a painful narrative for Huskers’ fans to hear. But it’s true.

Turnovers and special teams have also favored the Hawkeyes. Blocked punts, interceptions, game-winning field goals. You name it. It’s gone Iowa’s way.

Is there a chance Nebraska can flip the script Friday? Possibly. But unlikely.

There’s no question Joseph’s team will play hard for him. They have all season since he took over in September. But there’s this huge gap in something important. Talent. And playing hard only gets you so far.

Nebraska’s been exposed in too many areas this season. Iowa, like they have in years past, should dominate up front. The Hawks’ defense is a brick wall. Bad news for the Huskers.

Friday’s game is worth keeping an eye on. Iowa is a win away from an improbable West Division title. Who would’ve thought such a thing in mid-October. Yet, here we are.

And Nebraska playing spoiler is all that stands in the way.