Iowa held on to an early lead to beat Nebraska 29-22 Saturday in the opening week of Big Ten Univeristies (BTU) play.
The Hawkeyes led 22-12 in the second half, but struggled with Nebraska’s pack, as a trio of Iowa forwards were down with injury. The Huskers reeled off 10-straight points in the middle third of the game to knot the score up at 22-22 before Taylor Young scored the game-winner.
Young started the game at scrumhalf and was moved to wing in the second half to better utilize his speed, as the Hawkeyes made more of a concerted effort to attack on the perimeter.
“Had to change our game plan midgame with three of our best forwards with injuries,” said Iowa coach Jim Lloyd. “Nebraska’s inside backs were real strong.”
Nebraska adjusted to Iowa’s new attack plan, but Iowa stayed with it nonetheless.
“They knew we were trying to get it outside after we changed our plan, and they matched up appropriately,” said Lloyd, “but we kept swinging it and the backs rucked well, kept the phases going.”
It was a multi-phase possession that saw Young put the game away. He was matched in tries by fullback Stewart Smith, who also tallied two.
The win gets Iowa off to a 1-0 start in BTU play. Though Saturday was Iowa’s BTU and DI-A debut, Lloyd isn't getting carried away with what being 1-0 in the new league, division mean.
“It’s a good league, no matter we call it,” he said, “no matter what label you put on it. It’s a competitive league and we respect all the teams in it, so any win we get in it is a win we’re happy to get.”