Nebraska to the B1G Game; more Black Friday Snap Judgments
• No. 17 Nebraska 13, Iowa 7. Bo Pelini was asked in his postgame on-field interview whose decision it was to insert the oft-injured Rex Burkhead into the Huskers' final regular-season game. He laughed. "His!" The senior standout, absent for much of this season while nursing a knee injury, made the most of his time on the turf, leading Nebraska's ground attack (69 yards on 16 carries) and scoring the Huskers' only touchdown of the contest on a three-yard run in the third quarter.
Those of you who find our occasional gleeful odes to MACtion tacky are in for a real treat with today's box score, where you will find just one player with an individual stat line totaling more than 100 yards. (The lucky lad: Taylor Martinez, who completed 9 of 14 passes for 63 yards and rushed for an additional 41.) Burkhead was trailed by Ameer Abdullah (50 rushing yards on 14 carries) and Braylon Heard (46 yards on four carries). For the Hawkeyes, James Vandenberg completed 11 of 24 pass attempts for 92 yards and threw two interceptions. Mark Weisman led Iowa in rushing with 91 yards on 29 attempts.
Vandenberg also gave the Hawkeyes their only lead of the game, with a one-yard rushing touchdown late in the first quarter, a lead Iowa hung onto until Burkhead's run. And for a moment there, late in the fourth quarter, it looked as though we might have a ballgame on our hands again. Given the ball on a Nebraska punt at their own 27 with about three and a half minutes to play, the Hawkeyes executed two consecutive six-yard plays before Vandenberg threw his second interception with just 2:11 remaining on the clock. And practically before time had expired in the stadium, we had that all-important BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME TICKETS: ON SALE NOW email land in our inbox. The Huskers have earned at least a share of the division title and will play Wisconsin in Indianapolis on Saturday, December 1. Nebraska won their first meeting in September, 30-27. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 23 Kent State 28, Ohio 6. We really thought these Bobcats had an undefeated season in 'em, but after a fine victory over Penn State to open the season and a 7-0 start, Ohio has lost four of its last five outings. We're inordinately pleased to have been wrong about Kent State in the other direction; between that defense and Dri Archer there's been so much to love on the field this season. Tyler Tettleton threw for 232 yards and Beau Blankenship rushed for 145, but the Golden Flashes made a feast of the Bobcats' turnovers, scoring first on a 50-yard fumble return by Luke Wollet and building to a 21-0 lead with a 33-yard pick-six from C.J. Malauulu. You'll see these guys again before their bowl game; they'll take on Northern Illinois in Detroit next Friday night for the conference championship. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 24 Northern Illinois 49, Eastern Michigan 7.The MAC's other division champ wrapped a perfect conference campaign in style with another offensive onslaught. Jordan Lynch threw for 178 yards and a score and rushed for 114 yards, and the Huskies still found time to hand the ball off enough to record another 100-yard rusher -- 105 yards and four touchdowns for Akeem Daniels on 11 carries. We've got ourselves a snow game. twitter.com/HuskieWire/sta…
— HuskieWire (@HuskieWire) November 23, 2012
• No. 8 LSU 20, Arkansas 13. Arkansas' sideline drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty during a timeout isn't exactly a "highlight" of this game, but it certainly was a memorable moment. For actual highlights, turn to this video of a jaw-dropping touchdown catch by Jarvis Landry. Simply magnificent. At halftime on CBS, Les Miles was asked if he'd ever seen a better catch. "Every day in practice." [BOX | RECAP]
• East Carolina 65, Marshall 59 (2OT). CUSAction also has a nice ring to it, no? The Pirates are one of two one-loss teams in league play in Conference USA East, and could still technically come out mathematically on top of the standings, along with Central Florida, but thanks to their October loss to the Knights that would have to involve a UCF upset by ... UAB. Yeah, good luck with that, y'all. [BOX]
• Washington State 31, Washington 28 (OT). Big dang dramatic finish to the Apple Cup! A missed Huskies field goal with five seconds remaining in the fourth quarter sent the game into overtime, when what to our wondering eyes should appear but a Fat Guy Near-Touchdown. In a truly unfortunate mid-sack decision, Keith Price attempted to throw the ball away and instead delivered it directly to nose tackle Kalafitoni Pole, listed at 6'1, 277 in his school bio. Pole lumbered down the field with great majesty before being tackled at the 5. The Cougars had better luck with their ensuing field goal attempt. Washington State gets a Pac-12 win in 2012, and the Apple Cup resides in Pullman. [BOX]
• West Virginia 31, Iowa State 24. After a 5-0 start followed by a 5-game skid, the Mountaineers slide to a stop and squeak into bowl eligibility with one week to spare. Choose your trophy! [BOX | RECAP]
• Utah 42, Colorado 35. We're including this here just to mark, for the ages, that this is a game that contained back-to-back fourth-quarter 100-yard kickoff returns. Truly, we live in an age of wonders. [BOX] That'll do it for us today. Please enjoy the football stylings of South Florida-Cincinnati and Arizona-Arizona State at your own pace.