Casey Thompson, Nebraska defeat Iowa to damage Hawkeyes’ title chances

Casey Thompson completed three touchdown passes and Trey Palmer had nine catches for 165 yards as Nebraska held off Iowa 24-17 Saturday at Iowa City, Iowa.

Iowa backup quarterback Alex Padilla tried to rally the Hawkeyes back from a 24-0 deficit in the second half after Spencer Petras suffered an arm injury before halftime.

In Iowa’s second-to-last possession, Padilla completed a 15-yard pass to Luke Lachey for a first down to the Iowa 33, but he threw four consecutive incompletions thereafter for a turnover on downs with 2:06 left.

After Iowa forced Nebraska to punt with 1:05 remaining, Padilla was intercepted by Chris Kolarevic on a fourth-and-8 play at Iowa’s 22.

Padilla was 16 of 33 for 141 yards with a touchdown and interception.

Thompson passed for 278 yards while completing 20 of 30 passes for Nebraska, which snapped a seven-game losing streak against Iowa.

The Hawkeyes (7-5, 5-4 Big Ten) were in position to win the Big Ten West Division with a victory after putting together a four-game winning streak entering the game.

They can still win the division if Purdue loses at Indiana and Illinois loses at Northwestern on Saturday.

Nebraska (4-8, 3-6) took control at the start not having to punt through its first four possessions.

A missed field goal by Timmy Bleekrode of 32 yards in Nebraska’s first drive was followed by an 87-yard touchdown pass from Thompson to Palmer to put the Cornhuskers ahead 7-0 with 8:45 left in the first quarter.

Bleekrode converted on a 21-yard field goal and Thompson connected on an 18-yard touchdown to Palmer in the next two possessions.

The Cornhuskers increased the lead to 24-0 with 12:15 left in the third quarter on Thompson’s 14-yard pass to Marcus Washington.

Iowa’s Kaleb Johnson then capped a seven-play, 75-yard drive with a 44-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 24-7. Johnson had 109 yards on 16 rushes.

Nebraska’s offense was forced to punt on its next two possessions.

Iowa scored on 14-yard touchdown pass from Padilla to Lachey with 6:49 remaining to cut the lead to 24-14.

A fumble by Nebraska’s Rahmir Johnson was then recovered by Iowa’s Logan Klemp at the Nebraska 27.

Drew Stevens made a 45-yard field goal with 5:41 left to cut the lead to 24-17.