Steven M. Sipple: Violent and beaten, NOW must match ‘oomph’ that Iowa puts in rivalry | Column

The previous week, Ohio State, currently in second place in the College Playoff Playoffs, escaped from Lincoln with a 26-17 victory. The Buckeyes’ points were 21 less than their season average.

So it’s hard to imagine that Iowa, in the battle for first place in the Big Ten West Division, has a view of Nebraska. In fact, it’s easy to imagine the game going down to the thread. Yes, again.

If you’re a Nebraska fan, you’re obviously worried about damage to the defense. Nose tackle Damion Daniels played sparingly last week and his status is uncertain for Friday. The same goes for linebacker Caleb Tannor, who was injured in the first quarter and did not return to the game. Pheldarius Payne, prominent in the linebacker rotation, did not play at all.

Versatile full-back JoJo Domann, who underwent hand surgery that ended the season during Nebraska’s second farewell week, was sorely missed last week when Wisconsin tight end Jake Ferguson caught eight passes on 92 yards. Domann is good at covering tight ends. Look no further, but Iowa features Sam LaPorta with 37 team-leading receptions.

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Nebraska fans would feel a degree of comfort if senior security Deontai Williams returns from this three-game absence due to a knee injury. He was close to being ready last week, according to Frost.

Of course, all eyes will be on Nebraska quarterback Logan Smothers. Martinez, the four-year-old starter, underwent surgery on his throwing shoulder on Wednesday. So the shifting first-year student Smothers in 2020 will start his first collegiate start against a defense that specializes in wiretapping – 11 different Hawkeyes have opted for passes. That’s right, 11.

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