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Saturday's home game between the struggling 3-8 Huskers and the surging 9-2 Iowa Hawkeyes looked to be another certain Nebraska loss.

But with the Huskers up 21-6 late in the third quarter, it looked as if Nebraska might just pull a fast one and escape with Scott Frost's first signature win as the Husker head football coach.

My son-in-law who doesn't know much about Husker football asked me while the Huskers were leading in the fourth quarter, "Do you think the Hawkeyes have any chance of mounting a comeback and beating Nebraska?"

"Absolutely!" I said.

The purpose in revealing my comment is not to impress anyone with how wise I am. It's just that those who have been following the plight of Nebraska football this season know what most everyone has known for a long time: Nebraska plays teams really well, often has fourth-quarter leads, is in position to win the games, but in the end, finds a way to lose them.

That's been Nebraska's recipe for disaster all season. I won't belabor the Husker struggles. It's just too painful.

Why “The Sod Couple”?

Several years ago, I tried to think of a name for the annual Black Friday game that pits Iowa and Nebraska - teams from very similar geographical locations. Both states have strong ties to agriculture, both rely heavily on tractors, combines, pickup trucks, silos etc. for their economy.

Both states are what many outsiders would call hick states. So what should the series be named? The name had to have some connection to the soil. The nearest name I could think of was the Broadway play and former TV series called "The Odd Couple." And bingo, that's how "The Sod Couple" was born.

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Yes, Nebraska lost another one-possession game, their 8th of the season. (The loss to Ohio State was by 9 points.) All but one of the teams Nebraska lost to this fall (Illinois) are going to bowl games. One (Michigan) might be playing for a national championship. Two are playing for the Big Ten championship (Michigan and Iowa), five of them have at least 10 wins (Michigan, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Michigan State and Iowa). Three other Husker losses were to teams with 8-4 records (Wisconsin, Minnesota and Purdue). Eight of the nine teams Nebraska lost to were ranked when Nebraska played them.

Friday afternoon, the Huskers came out fighting and for three quarters, Nebraska played well. But early in the fourth quarter, there was another "here we go again" moment that always seems to doom the Huskers. A Husker punt was blocked and returned for a TD. Then there was a safety and a field goal by the Hawkeyes. That was the beginning of the end for Nebraska.

The Huskers didn't lose the game because backup quarterback Logan Smothers had to fill in for the injured Adrian Martinez. The Huskers didn't lose the game because they were without three other starters, OLB JoJo Domann, S Deontai Williams and DT Damion Daniels.


But their absence sure didn't help the Huskers, either.

Losing those four players made it a tall task to beat the Hawkeyes last Friday in Lincoln. But what hurt the Huskers the most was the meltdown of the Husker special teams.

The Huskers close out the season 3-9 with the worst record since 1957 when Bill Jennings team went 1-9.

Let's hope help is on the way. Stay tuned.