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IOWA CITY — Scott Frost may have been “embarrassed” by his team’s effort in a 41-23 loss to Illinois last week.
But he almost seemed madder after a 26-20 loss to No. 24 Iowa on Black Friday, the Hawkeyes’ sixth straight win in the rivalry. The heat seemed to radiate off the third-year coach.
Why was he angry?
Frost liked his team’s effort and preparation. NU outgained Iowa by 16 yards and led by a touchdown in the third quarter. Nebraska seemed on the cusp of an upset, plowing into Iowa territory on the game’s final drive.
Until right guard Matt Farniok missed a block, defensive lineman Chauncey Gholston flattened quarterback Adrian Martinez, and all the little things NU didn’t do Friday added up to a loss.
After each game this season, Sam McKewon will hand out his Husker Report Card, assessing Nebraska's performance in several areas. Here are the grades coming out of the Iowa game.
“We had chances to win,” Frost said. “We’ve got to button things up and do the little things right all the time so that the two or three plays that cost us that game don’t happen.”
Frost said Iowa’s offensive line moved on a go-ahead field goal in the fourth quarter. He noted a holding penalty incurred by offensive tackle Bryce Benhart that negated a long Martinez run, and a muffed punt by cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt.
“You can’t do those things against good teams,” Frost said. “The good teams in this league are buttoned up like that. I keep saying we got a lot of talent in this program right now. We went toe-to-toe with those guys, we went toe-to-toe with Northwestern. We’re just doing the little stuff that gets ourselves beat.”
Frost said part of that comes from having young players.
“Sooner or later, woulda, coulda, shouldas need to turn into wins,” Frost said. “But I don’t doubt it for a second.”
Frost called special teams errors “really frustrating.” One of NU’s punts from William Przystup was returned 31 yards, setting up Iowa’s first-half touchdown. Frost said all punts were supposed to be placed on the sideline.
“As an entire coaching staff, and the leaders of this football team, we can’t let anything happen — not one inch — that’s not disciplined, not buttoned up. Those things can’t happen. We need to catch every punt in practice. Every punt. Because it matters.”
Cam Jurgens had several wayward snaps in the first half. Scott Frost offered up an explanation after the game, and pointed the finger at noises coming from Iowa's sideline.