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November 29, 2013

Iowa keys to victory and HOL staff predictions

It will be an emotionally charged day for Nebraska, as 26 players will be taking the field for the final time at Memorial Stadium against Iowa.

As things get closer to kickoff, here are today's keys to victory for the Huskers over the Hawkeyes. NU enters today's match-up as a slight 3 point favorite at home over Iowa.

Gang tackle Weisman

It's no secret what Iowa plans to do on offense. The Hawkeyes are going to run running back Mark Weisman into the ground and force the Husker defense to tackle.

Weisman is a very physical runner and you can't expect to bring him down with just an arm tackle. I expect Iowa to test Nebraska physically to see if their front seven has enough juice left in them to play four quarters of fundamental football.

Use your playmakers

The one decisive edge Nebraska has in this game is in the offensive playmaker department. The Hawkeyes don't have skill players of the caliber of Ameer Abdullah, Kenny Bell and Quincy Enunwa.

Nebraska has to use that to their advantage and get the ball into their hands and take advantage of big play opportunities when they are out there.

The line play on both sides

On the other hand, probably the one big edge Iowa has is in the line department. The Hawkeyes are healthy, where the Huskers are not.

How will Nebraska young defensive line handle Iowa's veteran offensive line, and how will NU's banged up offensive line match-up with the Hawkeyes veteran front seven? This will ultimately be what decides the game on Saturday.

Force Iowa into passing downs

Iowa comes into this game very much "run first" offense. Their entire game plan today starts with establishing Weisman, which will set-up the play action game.

Nebraska needs to force Iowa into some third down passing situations and not let the Hawkeyes keep them off-balanced with their play action passing attack. Iowa has some very good tight ends that could hurt you if you get caught cheating the run.

Channel the emotion level

We've seen this a few times at home this year with Nebraska. The Huskers will start fast and jump out in front early, only to see their high emotion level play against them.

NU needs to keep their emotion level in check. They obviously can't afford to make the costly mistakes they made at home against Michigan State. They need to continue to play with the same fight and toughness they showed down the stretch last Saturday at Penn State.

Callahan's weekly predictions

It won't be pretty, but Nebraska will find a way to get a big senior day win at home to give Bo Pelini his sixth consecutive season of 9 wins or more. Ameer Abdullah will grind it out on the ground for 150 yards and NU's defense will force Iowa into field goals vs. touchdowns in the red zone in some key moments.

Nebraska 17 Iowa 13
Ohio State 34 Michigan 24
Michigan State 27 Minnesota 13
Clemson 38 South Carolina 34
Missouri 41 Texas A&M 34
Alabama 28 Auburn 16

Season Record: 45-21 overall; 36-30 vs. points

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