Greg Sharpe on Iowa Loss, Bowl Possibilities for Nebraska Cornhuskers
With the 2013 regular season over for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, it's a time to reflect on the past and a time to speculate about the future for this 8-4 team.
Nebraska finished with quality road wins at Penn State and Michigan, but lost three times in Lincoln.
Injuries played a large part of the story with quarterback Taylor Martinez missing the entire second half of the season, and a number of players missing time on the offensive line.
There was an abundance of youth on defense, and at times that group showed improved maturity and at other times showed they are a work in progress.
Turnovers proved to be one of the biggest problem areas for Nebraska in 2013, and it was the turnover bug that helped Iowa win 38-17 in the regular season finale.
The Huskers gave the ball to Iowa on three different occasions, leading to 14 Hawkeye points.
Field position also was a key as Iowa started seven of their 15 drives on Nebraska's half of the field, while the Husker's average start came at its own 22.
Those have been all too familiar sights to see for the 'Voice of the Huskers' Greg Sharpe this season:
The Huskers did put a trio of players on the All-Big Ten Conference first team:
Junior running back Ameer Abdullah finished with 1,586 yards, the most of any Big Ten running back, and made a strong case for running back of the year in the conference:
Sophomore defensive lineman Randy Gregory had a breakthrough season, leading the Big Ten with 9 1/2 sacks, and finishing 2nd in the league with 15 1/2 tackles for loss:
Senior defensive back Ciante Evans tied for the team lead with 4 interceptions, and racked up 11 tackles for loss in his final season in a Nebraska uniform:
There was a lot of speculation about the future of Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini after the Iowa loss and his conduct on the sidelines, which resulted in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and later a $10,000 fine for comments about the officials, but athletic director Shawn Eichorst ended that talk with the announcement that Pelini was returning to coach the Huskers next season:
Now the issue at hand for Nebraska is to find out where they're headed for a bowl game and who they'll play. The early projections have the Huskers either in Tempe, Arizona December 28th for the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl against a team from the Big 12, or the January 1st Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida against an opponent from the SEC: