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Saturday, November 24, 2018

THE MORNING AFTER — NEBRASKA

There’s already a nice little anecdote out there from Miguel Recinos about why he kept running after sneaking a walk-off 41-yard field goal between the uprights to beat Nebraska.

As Marc Morehouse says it in his gamer, Recinos apparently once talked with Keith Duncan about what to do immediately after making a game-winning field goal. Basically it sounds like the answer is run like hell — no one wants to be the bottom of a dogpile of humanity.

It’s funny this was even brought up between the two kickers at some point, but maybe it makes sense. If there’s one thing about Iowa kickers, it’s that they usually end up with at least one game-winning kick in their career.

In fact, under Kirk Ferentz the only two kickers that haven’t had a game winner (or an extremely late go-ahead kick) are Kyle Schlicher and Tim Douglas. Maybe it’s just the sort of moment that most Hawkeye kickers are destined to have.

Usually these dramatic kicks come against ranked opponents, but they’re all special. I mean today’s kick knocked off the Cornhuskers and meant the Iowa senior class has never lost to Nebraska. The Hawkeyes have won four straight in the series and five of their last six.

And, of course, Recinos is a senior. And he did this after missing a kick. On Senior Day. It was the type of plot line you find in old Disney sports movies. You’ve got your hero (Recinos) overcoming the odds (his struggles in 2016, the missed kick earlier in the game) and of course it’s against a rival in The Big Game, or, rather, A Big Game.

I’m going to sit down and write that script after I get finished with this piece.

Speaking of scripts, this was a Kirk Ferentz Classic. There’s a whole bunch of those movies out there and despite the constant remakes, they never cease to amaze.

You know the drill — playing down to your opponent’s level, a whole pile of rushing yards, nearly losing the game because of a big fourth-quarter comeback, an opposing quarterback having a massive game... the usual.

This final score really shouldn’t have been as close as it was, which is, of course, another hallmark. Up 28-13 late in the third quarter, Iowa had a 2nd and 3 at the Nebraska four-yard line. They ended the drive with no points after a run, an incompletion, and a failed fake field goal.

The fake field goal is now Kirk Ferentz Classic canon too, by the way. I’ve lost track of the number of fake-somethings Iowa’s ran over the past three years, but I think the number for this season is four. #NewKirk is like a TV show reboot of an old and popular movie — shiny and flashy but maybe not quite as good as the original. The network, however, knew people would like it and people tune in each week, so they decided to give it the green light for a fourth season.

Whether it gets a fifth will be up for some discussion, but going for it on fourth-and-8 late in the game instead of playing for overtime is a great new plot twist. Certainly didn’t see that one coming.

I also like the New Archvillain Scott Frost. Recinos referred to him as Ol’ Frost in the post-game presser, which I think means Frost is now a villain in Red Dead Redemption. All he really needs is a mustache to twirl and a six shooter.

Nebraska certainly tried to start a good, old fashioned brawl before the game. The deputies broke it up pretty quick, but this fits with the Cornhusker mantra, I suppose.

Or, at least, the old mantra Nebraska had. I’m really not sure about this new-look Cornhusker team, but we’ll see. Frost was a late reveal in this series and we still don’t know what exactly he’s capable of. One thing I do know is that the Hawkeyes probably won’t be walking over this team in Memorial Stadium next season.

That’ll be the last chapter in the Black Friday rivalry for a bit, though obviously the teams will still play for the trophy. By the way, I’m sure you’ve seen this by now, but the Hawkeyes are 13-3 in trophy games over the past four seasons.

That’s not bad. Now time to go get win No. 9 and end this season the right way in the Holiday Bowl (or the Citrus, I guess).

Let’s just hope it doesn’t come down to Recinos thinking about the best way to avoid being squished by his teammates. He’s already had to worry about that once.



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