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Hopping for the Big Ten: Iowa plays Nebraska on Black Friday with a shot at the division title – Mitchell Republic

Iowa’s defense stood up against Purdue while Minnesota beat Nebraska in Lincoln last week. Here’s a look at the upcoming competitions for all three teams, as well as a look at the rest of the conference.

Iowa takes on Wisconsin to stay in contention for Big Ten West

After losing three straight conference games, Iowa has a win from the Big Ten championship game thanks to a four-game winning streak.

Iowa was at one point 3-4 overall and 1-3 in conference play. Then came victories over Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin and Minnesota that put the Hawkeyes (7-4, 5-3 Big Ten) in position to play either Ohio State or Michigan in the Big Ten title game.

A win over Nebraska (3-8, 2-6) on Friday in Iowa City, Iowa will make it possible.

Iowa has won seven straight games against Nebraska, who will likely play their last game under interim head coach Mickey Joseph. The Cornhuskers lost five straight Big Ten games after starting 2-1, including a painful loss last week.

Nebraska was competitive in the 15-14 home loss to Wisconsin but fell short when the Badgers scored on a touchdown run with 35 seconds left. The Cornhuskers’ offense was 171 yards, including 106 yards passing and 65 yards on the ground.

Casey Thompson completed 12 of 19 attempts for 106 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

“Hats off to these kids,” said Joseph, whose team lost three of their five games in the losing streak by a touchdown or fewer. “Just a good character group. A group that will not stop.”

Iowa limited Minnesota to 87 yards in a 13-10 win last week — the third time this season an opponent passed under 100 yards.

This is the first season since 1929 that the Hawkeyes’ defense has conceded 10 points or fewer in eight games. The 1929 team gave up 28 points throughout the eight-game season.

Jack Campbell, a linebacker, had an interception against Minnesota in the fourth quarter and also had 10 tackles — his seventh game with 10 tackles or more this season. Campbell is now 20th in school history with 287 career tackles.

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Minnesota quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis carries the football as Nebraska’s Quinton Newsome tries to get a shot during a Big Ten Conference college football game Saturday, November 5, 2022 at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb.

Marcus Traxler / Republic of Mitchell

Badgers, Gophers aim to renew college football’s most played rivalry

More than Paul Bunyan’s ax will be at stake when Wisconsin host archrivals Minnesota on Saturday in Madison, Wisconsin.

It is the FBS’ longest-running football rivalry, spanning 131 games dating back to 1890. Wisconsin leads the series 62-61-8 and has won 16 of the last 18. Minnesota brings the ax to Madison this week after winning Minneapolis, 23-13, last season.

“It’s the longest running rivalry in college football,” said Wisconsin interim head coach Jim Leonhard. “If that doesn’t mean anything to you, then it’s hard. We’ve talked at length about what I think about rivalries in college football. That is what makes the game so special.”

Wisconsin (6-5, 4-4 Big Ten) clinched a 15-14 away win in Nebraska and rebounded with two touchdowns in the last 11 minutes to become Bowl-eligible for their 21st straight season and find themselves under Leonhard to improve to 4-2.

Shortly after the Badgers’ win over Nebraska, Wisconsin publicly posted the vacancy for the permanent position of head coach. Leonhard was promoted from defensive coordinator to the interim job after Paul Chryst was fired the day after a 34-10 home loss to Illinois on Oct. 1.

Several Wisconsin players have taken to social media to advocate for Leonhard getting the permanent job, and published reports say he is the frontrunner.

Minnesota (7-4, 4-4) lost 13-10 to Iowa on a field goal Saturday with 28 seconds left to fall a game behind against the Hawkeyes and Purdue in the congested Big Ten West.

For Wisconsin, fickle quarterback Graham Mertz recovered from a costly interception to direct the two touchdown drives against Nebraska, throwing for a point and then sneaking out 1 yard with 35 seconds left of the game-winner.

Braelon Allen, who leads the Badgers with 1,121 rushing yards, struggled for 92 yards against Nebraska through a shoulder problem before leaving in the fourth quarter with a sprained ankle. Chez Mellusi, who sidelined four games after fracturing his arm, returned to carry 21 times for 98 yards against the Huskers.

“They’re just very athletic in every position,” Minnesota coach PJ Fleck said of the Badgers. “It doesn’t matter if they’re 325 pounds or 180 pounds, the entire team is athletic. Sometimes they’re really strong, big, physical – and they still are – but very athletic across the board on both sides of the ball and special teams.”

Minnesota lost in Iowa despite Mohamed Ibrahim’s career-high 263 rushing yards. He’s rushed for a Big Ten, leading 1,524 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Redshirt freshman Athan Kaliakmanis, making his third start against Iowa in place of the injured Tanner Morgan, has completed just 34 of 73 passes (46.6 percent) for 547 yards with a touchdown and four picks. Morgan’s status for Wisconsin was not disclosed.

NCAA Football: Big Ten Football Championship – Iowa vs. Michigan
Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh on the sidelines during the second quarter against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Conference championship game on December 4, 2021 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today Sports

Three FBS games to tune into this weekend:

No. 3 Michigan at No. 2 Ohio State – 11 a.m. Saturday — Let’s not revisit this section this week. Both teams are 11-0, with the Big Ten East and the inside lane to the college football playoffs on the line. Depending on how the loser fares, they could also find themselves in the four-team playoffs a week from now. Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines turned the rival in their favor last year, but with a talented OSU offense, can Michigan keep up in the horseshoe?

Florida at Florida State #16 – 6:30 p.m. Friday — The Seminoles are quietly putting together a nice recovery season for third-year coach Mike Norvell, and now a sulky Florida squad is coming to town after the Gators lost at Vanderbilt last week. It’s been a less-than-stellar first season for Billy Napier’s roster, but Anthony Richardson is the type of player who can help Florida spoil FSU’s first attempt to sweep both Miami and Florida in the same season since 2016.

No. 9 Oregon at No. 21 Oregon State – 2:30 p.m. Saturday – For the 126th time in the history of the rivalry, the Ducks and Beavers meet and there are important implications for the postseason. A win secures Oregon a date with Southern Cal in next week’s Pac-12 championship game and brings up a possible trip to the Rose Bowl. Oregon State gets its rivals to visit Corvallis, a place where they’ve won 10 of their last 11 games, and the Beavers’ only two losses this season have been three points each to USC and Washington. Two more wins would give OSU its first 10-win season in 16 years.

Note: This report was compiled in part from previews by Field Level Media.