There weren't many among the 60,160 who jammed Iowa's Kinnick Stadium who thought they were watching a matchup of the eventual Midwest entries in the Rose and Orange Bowls. There probably weren't a whole lot more who thought Iowa would avenge a 57-0 slaughter the Hawkeyes had suffered in Lincoln the year before.
However, Iowa took advantage of excellent field position to jump to a 10-0 first-half lead, then held on to win a 10-7 stunner over the seventh-ranked Huskers.
The Hawkeye defense held the Huskers to their lowest total offense output of the season — 234 yards — and stopped the Nebraska offense three straight times in Iowa territory after Roger Craig's one-yard TD had pulled the Huskers within 10-7 early in the final period. NU was stymied in the fourth quarter by a missed 30-yard field goal, a fumble, and Lou King's diving interception, which secured Iowa's victory with 39 seconds remaining.
In the first half, the Hawkeyes capitalized on a short punt and an interception to set up a two-yard TD run by Eddie Phillips and a 35-yard field goal by Lon Olejniczak. Meanwhile, the Huskers were held scoreless through three quarters for the first time since 1973 and didn't get out of their own territory until late in the second period, partly because of Iowa punter Reggie Roby's 50-plus yard average.
NU quarterbacks Mark Maurer and Nate Mason completed only 8-of-18 passes for 81 yards and rushed 12 times for minus-2 yards.
Iowa used its upset win as a launching pad to defeat such teams as UCLA, Michigan and Purdue and post its first winning season since 1961.
CEDAR RAPIDS GAZETTE
DES MOINES REGISTER: 1, 2, 3
SEASON STATS | NU ROSTER
Sept. 12, 1981
Iowa City, IA
Nebraska 0 0 0 7 — 7
Iowa 7 3 0 0 — 10
IOW — Eddie Phillips 2 run (Lon Olenjiczak kick) 9:16
IOW — FG Olejniczak 35
NEB — Roger Craig 1 run (Kevin Seibel kick) 11:42
First downs 13 11
Rushes-yards 49-153 52-169
Passing yards 81 28
Return yards 57 58
Passes 8-18-2 7-11-0
Punts 5-39.6 6-53.7
Fumbles-lost 5-3 3-3
Penalties-yards 2-18 7-35
Time of possession 29:51 30:09
Nebraska, Craig 18-79, Mike Rozier 10-41, Phil Bates 6-38.
Iowa, Phillips 19-94, Phil Blatcher 12-33, Pete Gales 16-20.
Nebraska, Mark Mauer 6-12-1-60, Nate Mason 2-6-1-21.
Iowa, Gales 6-10-0-34.
Nebraska, Jamie Williams 3-31, Craig 3-17.
Iowa, Olejniczak 4-34, Phillips 1-9.