Bo Pelini’s seat gets warmer as Iowa sinks Nebraska; Black Friday Snap Judgments
With a host of college football games taking place on Friday, SI.com rounds up a special Black Friday edition of Snap Judgments. Check back for updates on the day’s action:
• Iowa 38, Nebraska 17: The curtain might be closing on the Bo Pelini era at Nebraska.
The Cornhuskers took a home loss to Iowa on Friday, marking their fourth loss of the season. Nebraska turned the ball over three times against the Hawkeyes, including an Ameer Abdullah fumble early in the fourth quarter with the Huskers driving to tie the game. The Huskers managed just 89 yards rushing and converted a mere three of their 14 third downs.
Meanwhile, Iowa played turnover-free football to claim its third win in a row. That’s not a bad end to a regular season in which Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz was sitting on his own relatively warm seat.
Pelini’s name has come up as a hot-seat candidate since Nebraska deflated in a 41-21 home loss to UCLA in September. He has won at least nine games in each of his six seasons in Lincoln and has a 57-24 career record, but the knock on him is his inability to surpass that record with a program that has won five national championships and is one of eight with at least 800 all-time victories. Now the Huskers will need to win their bowl game just to reach the nine-win mark.
Earlier this week, Pelini told reporters that he is not coaching to save his job. But the Nebraska program is a sleeping giant. Only time will tell if Pelini sticks around to bring it back. Until that is determined, it appears Pelini isn’t pulling any punches. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 12 Oregon 36, Oregon State 35: The Civil War was everything college football fans could want. Oregon’s Marcus Mariota shook off two uncharacteristic interceptions and found Josh Huff for a 12-yard score with 28 seconds left in the game to lift the Ducks over visiting Oregon State. The Beavers made a game of things after falling behind 14-0 by the end of the first quarter, storming back to take a 20-17 lead in the third period. But Huff (nine catches for 186 yards) caught two of his three touchdown catches in the fourth quarter to help stifle the upset bid by Oregon State. Mariota finished with 285 yards and three scores while the Beavers’ Sean Mannion passed for 320 yards and two touchdowns. Biletnikoff Award finalist Brandon Cooks also caught 11 balls for 124 yards for Oregon State. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 17 UCF 23, USF 20: Blake Bortles hurled a 52-yard touchdown pass to Breshad Perriman with 4:50 left in the game to sink an upset-minded South Florida squad in Orlando. The Bulls, who had won two games coming into Friday night, gave UCF a test for much of the night thanks to five turnovers by the Knights. The Bulls still had a chance to claim a win on the ensuing possession, but Jordan Ozerities picked off a Mike White pass with 90 seconds remaining to seal the game. Bortles finished with 219 yards and two touchdowns while also tossing two interceptions for the Knights, who creep closer to the AAC’s BCS bid. [RECAP | BOX]
• Miami 41, Pittsburgh 31: Hurricanes quarterback Stephen Morris completed 17-of-28 passes for 296 yards and three touchdowns as Miami cruised past Pitt. Receiver Stacy Coley caught two of those scoring strikes — both in the first quarter — as Miami won its second straight coming off a three-game skid. [RECAP | BOX]
• Washington 27. Washington State 17: Mike Leach’s team faced a 20-17 deficit with just more than five minutes to play when the Cougars began a drive to tie or take the lead in the Apple Cup against rival Washington. But Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday, who earlier in the day had set a new Pac-12 single-season record for pass attempts, tossed a pick on the Cougars’ own 27-yard line on second play of the series. The Huskies marched down the field from there and quarterback Keith Price punched in a two-yard run with two minutes left to put a bow on a Washington win. Price accounted for two scores while tailback Bishop Sankey rushed 34 times for 200 yards and a touchdown of his own. [RECAP | BOX]
• Marshall 59, East Carolina 28: Marshall will represent Conference USA’s East Division in the league’s title game thanks to a dominant performance against ECU. The Thundering Herd pressured ECU quarterback Shane Carden into three interceptions and held the Pirates to 149 rushing yards and 7-of-18 on third downs. Meanwhile the Marshall offense ripped through ECU’s defense for 539 total yards, including 272 on the ground, to win its first division title as a member of C-USA. [RECAP | BOX]