LINCOLN, Neb. – Iowa certainly didn't change the minds of critics who say the Hawkeyes don't look the part of a national championship contender.
They didn't do a whole lot on offense against Nebraska, their defense gave up a lot of yards again and they muffed a punt.
When the clock struck zero Friday, though, they were celebrating a 28-20 victory that finished their first perfect regular season in 93 years.
"We're not trying to be pretty, we're trying to be productive," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "Football's not gymnastics. There are style points in gymnastics. Here it's having one point more than your opponent. We're 12-0. You can't do better than that."
The Hawkeyes (8-0 Big Ten) locked arms and ran to the south end zone to pick up the Heroes Trophy that goes to the winner of this game. Then it was off to the corner to salute their fans before heading to the locker room.
There's still work to be done to make this season even better. Next stop, the Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis where they will play for their first conference title since 2004. Win there, and a spot in the College Football Playoff is a very real possibility. Maybe even a certainty.
"The goal is three more," offensive lineman Austin Blythe said. "Right now we're going to enjoy this one and find out our opponent."
Jordan Canzeri ran for 140 yards on 17 carries and broke long touchdown runs on back-to-back series in the third quarter on a raw afternoon when a gusty north wind made for a 12-degree wind chill.
The Hawkeyes generated only 250 total yards and were limited to only 44 plays from scrimmage because they went 0-for-9 on third downs. But Nebraska's Tommy Armstrong Jr. threw four interceptions, with Parker Hesse returning one 4 yards for a touchdown, and the Cornhuskers (5-7, 3-5) committed eight penalties, including four personal fouls.
"I gave them seven points and put them in great position to, honestly, win the game," Armstrong said. "That's something I've got to fix and something I'm going to fix. Don't put the blame anywhere else. The team played well. I didn't."
All that helped Iowa remain one of two unbeaten teams. Clemson is the other.
"You want to win every game, that's your goal," Ferentz said. "We find ourselves in a good position today. But we've been trying to get there for 17 years."