World-Herald sports columnist Tom Shatel offers his key observations from Nebraska’s 20-7 win over Iowa in the first Heroes Game on Saturday in Lincoln.
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What Alfonzo Dennard did Friday was the stuff of All-Americans. He changed the game by himself. He took star receiver Marvin McNutt away from Iowa, and the Hawkeyes had nothing else. That’s a game-changer. Dennard got off to a slow start this year with the injury, but he had the kind of Senior Day memory you want. Lavonte David and Dennard should both be All-Big Ten. David would be a deserving defensive player of the year. Either way, they’ll both be missed. Except by Iowa and the rest of the Big Ten.
MORE OF REX TO COME
Good for Bo Pelini and Ron Brown that they put Rex Burkhead back in the game. Superman deserved the record 38 carries. He’s been the picture of durability and toughness all season. At times, he’s been the offense. In many ways, that record is a perfect way for Burkhead to be remembered: a guy you count on over and over. Well, there’s one better way to remember him: in next year’s Rose Bowl. NU has a ton back on offense with No. 22 as the centerpiece.
There was a comical moment in the interview room. Someone asked Taylor Martinez which bowl he’d like to attend and he innocently, and honestly, replied “Capital One Bowl.” Everyone laughed, including the Outback Bowl scout in the room who took it well. Those are NU’s two bowl options now. The chances of the Huskers playing in the Capital One are fairly good. NU would need Michigan and Wisconsin to win Saturday and Wisconsin to beat Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game. None of those are stretches. Then you could see the Cap One taking 9-3 Nebraska over 10-3 MSU, which went to Orlando last year and lost to Nebraska earlier this season. At the least, the Huskers will fall into the Outback and, either way, will play an SEC team in a bowl this year.