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You could feel it. It was so close, oh, so close, to breaking through and taking on a life of its own. But it didn’t happen, at least not yet.
As Iowa continued to hold a lead over Nebraska in Iowa City, and as the Hawkeyes squandered chance after chance to put real pressure on NU, you could feel the Iowa fans wanting to get behind their team. You could feel the Nebraska fans starting to feel a little nervous, contemplating an entire offseason of listening to the Iowa fan in the office lording a Hawkeye win over them.
But it didn’t happen. Nebraska, as it has all year, held firm and answered the bell in the fourth quarter. Iowa fans, already battered and bruised by a 4-7 season, began leaving Kinnick Stadium in droves after Alonzo Whaley’s interception.
Even though there were two minutes left in the game and Nebraska was only ahead by six points, the black-and-gold faithful had seen enough. They knew how this movie ended, and it turned out they were correct.
I still think the Nebraska-Iowa rivalry has a chance to be one of the best in the Big Ten. Though good-natured for the most part, it is a natural rivalry with enough actual venom to make the series interesting.
Nebraska has never truly had a rival, but Iowa has the potential to become one. For that to happen, however, Iowa has to hold up its end of the bargain. That didn’t happen in 2012, so the rivalry will remain gestational for now.
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