IOWA CITY, Iowa — Casey Thompson threw for three touchdowns, and Nebraska ruined Iowa’s chance to clinch the Big Ten West Division title outright with a 24-17 win on Friday.
The Huskers (4-8, 3-6 Big Ten) snapped a five-game losing streak, and broke a seven-game losing streak to the Hawkeyes (7-5, 5-4). Iowa had its four-game winning streak snapped.
Thompson threw touchdown passes of 87 and 18 yards to Trey Palmer in the first half and a 14-yarder to Marcus Washington in the third quarter as Nebraska built a 24-0 lead.
Iowa had a chance to tie the game in the closing minutes, getting the ball twice in the last 3:20 after closing to within 24-17 on a 45-yard field goal by Drew Stevens. But backup quarterback Alex Padilla threw incomplete on fourth down on the first possession. Nebraska linebacker Chris Kolarevic’s interception with 42 seconds left completed the Huskers’ win.
The Hawkeyes need losses by Purdue and Illinois on Saturday to have a chance at back-to-back West Division titles.
Thompson completed 20 of 30 passes for 278 yards. Palmer had nine catches for 165 yards.
Iowa lost starting quarterback Spencer Petras to an injury in the first quarter after he was hit and lost a fumble. The turnover led to Timmy Bleekrode’s 21-yard field goal and a 10-0 Huskers lead. Padilla also lost a fumble that led to Nebraska’s second touchdown.
Kaleb Johnson, who rushed for 109 yards, gave the Hawkeyes their first score with a 44-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Padilla threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Luke Lachey in the fourth quarter.
Padilla completed 16 of 33 passes for 141 yards.
The Hawkeyes have struggled all season on offense, and that played a key role again. Padilla had been barely used this season, and being asked to lead a comeback from 24 points down was too much. The turnovers and seven penalties for 65 yards added to the struggles.
With Nebraska’s coaching situation uncertain, the Huskers gave interim coach Mickey Joseph a big win in the final game of the season. Getting a chance to ruin a rival’s chances at a division title just added to the win.
Nebraska: Season completed.
Iowa: To be determined. The Hawkeyes are bowl eligible.