Iowa football: Three takeaways from last-second win over Nebraska

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IOWA CITY, IOWA- NOVEMBER 23: Running back Mekhi Sargent #10 of the Iowa Hawkeyes is brought down during the second half by cornerback Lamar Jackson #21, defensive lineman Mick Stoltenberg #44 and safety Aaron Williams #24 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers on November 23, 2018 at Kinnick Stadium, in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)

Mekhi Sargent was a workhorse

The Hawkeyes finally broke the 100-yard rushing dry spell last week against Illinois when Mekhi Sargent carried the ball 17 times for 121 yards. The former Iowa Western Reiver transfer running back used the Nebraska game to build on this production.

Against a soft Nebraska defense, Sargent carried the ball 26 times for 173 yards and a 6.3 yard per carry average to have the second 100-yard rushing game of the season for the Iowa football team.

We wrote earlier in the season about the value of having three good backs in Iowa’s rushing rotation, but over the course off the three-game losing streak, it was clear that the Hawkeyes needed a little more consistency from the ground game to aid quarterback Nate Stanley.

The rushing attack is a staple of Kirk Ferentz’s program and for most of the season the team relied heavily on the passing attack to carry the offense causing fans to question whether or not Iowa could run the ball effectively. This questioning only worsened when Iowa fell to Northwestern and only managed 66 yards on the ground.

It appears with the cold weather hitting, however, Iowa is capable of dominating from the ground as well which makes this team dangerous heading into bowl season.

Moreover, the last two weeks have shown that Mekhi Sargent has earned the right to be the presumptive starter going forward into bowl season and in to the 2019 season. Ivory Kelly-Martin is talented and fast but can’t withstand a heavy workload (as evidenced by the multiple injuries this season) and Toren Young appears to be more of a chance of pace power back in the Iowa coaching staff’s eyes.

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