Iowa City, IA, United States (4E Sports) – Rex Burkhead scored a three-yard touchdown run in the third period while Brett Maher buried two field goals as No. 14 Nebraska punched a ticket to the Big Ten championship game with a 13-7 victory over Iowa Friday at Kinnick Stadium.
With the win, the Cornhuskers will play for their third conference title in four years when they take on Wisconsin next Saturday in Indianapolis.
The Cornhuskers earned the right to represent the Legends Division in the Big Ten championship game by finishing the regular season with six straight victories and a 7-1 mark in conference play.
I believe in this team, and honestly I’m proud of those kids in the locker room. We’re not done. We have one left. I told them enjoy it today, but we’re looking for something more than winning our division,” Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini said after the game.
The Cornhuskers scored a come-from-behind 30-27 victory over the Badgers in the Big Ten opener at Memorial Stadium Sept. 29.
Nebraska looks to secure a berth in the Rose Bowl, which would mark the program’s first BCS Bowl Game since playing for the national championship in the 2002 Rose Bowl.
Burkhead, who missed the last four games, rushed for 68 yards on 19 carries as the Cornhuskers’ running game gained 200 total yards to compensate for a poor game by quarterback Taylor Martinez, who completed just eight of 14 passes for 63 yards.
“He’s a huge part of our team and gives an emotional lift. He gives us another weapon. Rex just gives us another element,” Pelini said of Burkhead.
In the first quarter, Nebraska marched 75 yards on 15 plays before Brett Maher’s 26-yard field goal put the Cornhuskers on the board.
Iowa came right back, going 62 yards in 12 plays, capped by a Vandenberg one-yard touchdown run to take the lead, 7-3, at the break.
In the third quarter, Burkhead led Nebraska’s 10-play drive that put Maher in position for a 54-yard field goal to pull within 7-6.
Then, Burkhead took over, capping Nebraska’s four-play, 43-yard drive with a three-yard scoring run to put the Cornhuskers ahead for good, 13-7.