COUNCIL BLUFFS — Iowa play-by-play announcer Gary Dolphin got the party started with jabs at Nebraska almost immediately.
“Always good to come to Nebraska,” Dolphin said at the Mid-America Center Tuesday night. “Or I should say the Omaha area, after we’ve kicked their butt a couple times.”
Dolphin was in Council Bluffs with Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz and a few other Hawkeye coaches to speak to a contingent of Hawkeye fans. The group of coaches, including Ferentz and basketball coach Fran McCaffery, are touring the state in March and April.
Dolphin opened the program and within a few minutes was talking about Nebraska’s newly hired coach, Scott Frost.
“I hear everyone is fired up about Scott Frost coming here. Seems like a terrific guy,” Dolphin said. “But there’s a new Nebraska wave. It’s like this. Five fingers, and now turn your thumb in. That’s the new Nebraska wave, because four of the last five years we’ve kicked your butt.”
The Hawkeyes beat Nebraska 56-14 in Mike Riley’s final game as NU coach last year. Iowa has won the past three matchups against Nebraska by an average of 26.7 points. Since Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011, the Huskers are 3-4 against Iowa. Iowa was 8-5 last year with a win over Boston College in the Pinstripe Bowl. Since 2011, Nebraska has won 56 games, while Iowa has won 54.
Ferentz said the two highlights of Iowa’s season last year were the wins over Iowa State and Nebraska. He later mentioned the 55-24 win over a ranked Ohio State at home, but when Ferentz mentioned the Nebraska win again, the crowd of about 200 interrupted him in applause.
Ferentz held off on any digs at Nebraska and didn’t say anything about the Black Friday games. Nebraska and Iowa are in talks about playing on Black Friday again. The teams are scheduled to cease the day-after-Thanksgiving matchup in 2020.
The longest-tenured coach in college football is on the cusp of breaking Iowa’s all-time wins record. Ferentz has 143, the same as predecessor Hayden Fry. Ferentz said staff continuity has played a role.
“Good things don’t happen by accident, typically,” he said.
Entering next year, Iowa looks to replace senior linebacker Josey Jewell and offensive playmakers Akrum Wadley and Matt Vandenberg.
“We’re a little more experienced going into next year, but we lost some seniors,” Ferentz said. “So the challenges are always there. The fun is the work that comes next.”
The night finished with a few more insults thrown across the river, though Iowa’s wrestling coach, Tom Brands, was sure to get in a jab. He mentioned how Cade Brownlee, a redshirt freshman from Omaha Creighton Prep, didn’t end up in Lincoln.
“Remember, he’s in Iowa, not in Nebraska,” he said to applause.