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No. 17 Nebraska beats Iowa 13-7

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No. 17 Nebraska beats Iowa 13-7

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Winning five straight games mostly without him, didn't mean Nebraska doesn't need Rex Burkhead.

On a cold and blustery afternoon with a spot in the Big Ten title game on the line, Burkhead proved why he's so valuable to the Huskers.

Burkhead scored the go-ahead touchdown in his return from a knee injury and No. 17 Nebraska beat Iowa 13-7 on Friday to claim the Legends Division's berth in the championship game.

The Huskers (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten) will face off against Wisconsin next Saturday in Indianapolis after winning six straight since a loss at Ohio State.

It'll be a rematch of Nebraska's thrilling 30-27 home win over the Badgers in late September.

``I remember after Ohio State, I said what we needed to do, and you all looked at me like I was a crazy man. I probably thought I was a crazy man that night. I believe in this team. Honestly, I'm proud of those kids in that locker room,'' Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said.

Burkhead had to be at the top of Pelini's list.

Burkhead, making his first appearance since aggravating a sprained left knee on Oct. 20 against Northwestern, broke through with a 3-yard TD run to make it 13-7 late in the third quarter. He rushed for 69 yards, all in the second half.

Alonzo Whaley's interception with 2:11 left sealed the victory for Nebraska.

The Huskers defense held the Hawkeyes (4-8, 2-6) scoreless in the final three quarters in windy conditions.

Mark Weisman had 91 yards rushing for Iowa, which finished the season on a six-game losing streak. The Hawkeyes will miss out on a bowl game for just the second time since 2000.

``Nobody's happy about where we're at,'' Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. ``We fully realize we have a lot of work to do right now.''

Nebraska's offense spent much of the day stifled by a stiff wind that gusted up to 40 mph and a surprisingly stout Iowa defense.

Fittingly, quarterback Taylor Martinez and Burkhead teamed up to put the Huskers ahead.

Martinez beat quadruple coverage for an 18-yard completion to Braylon Heard, an impressive hookup considering the conditions. Burkhead was in the end zone a few plays later to give Nebraska a six-point lead with 3:10 left in the third quarter.

Iowa pinned Nebraska at the 1 with 12:03 left, but Burkhead willed the Huskers out of harm's way with runs of 9 and 8 yards into the wind.

Though the Huskers were later forced to punt, Burkhead helped them avoid the worst while burning valuable minutes off the clock.

``I just thought it would be a mental boost for us. I went into the game thinking we're only going to play him if we need him,'' Pelini said of Burkhead, who rushed for 57 yards in the fourth quarter. ``I asked him `How do you feel about it? And Rex said `Let's go.'''

A mild fall in the Midwest came to an abrupt end on Friday.

During the national anthem, the breeze at Kinnick Stadium was so strong it nearly blew over the American flag - and the man holding it. The wind chill hovered in the teens all day.

The conditions made passing a risky venture. Martinez threw for just 63 yards, while Iowa's James Vandenberg had 92 yards passing and two picks.

``It was really difficult. That wind and that cold weather,'' Martinez said. ``My hands were frozen.''

Nebraska threw just once on a 16-play drive that led to a field goal, and Iowa did the same on a 62-yard drive that led to a 1-yard plunge from Vandenberg and a 7-3 lead it held at halftime.

The Huskers muffed a punt and Martinez fumbled and nearly threw a pick in the second quarter. But Iowa's offense, which was lackluster all season, couldn't turn those miscues into points.

The ineptitude of Iowa's offense reached its nadir late in the first half. They were penalized for having too many men on the field - even though they were coming out of a timeout - and Mike Meyer followed with a missed field goal.

``They've really had a great season, but they have turned the ball over and we were hoping to be opportunistic that way,'' Ferentz said. ``Overall, they just did a better job than we did in that second half.''

Nebraska finished with a 7-1 conference mark for the first time since 2001, when it posted the same mark in the Big 12.

With one more Big Ten win next weekend, Burkhead and his teammates are headed to the Rose Bowl.

``I was just glad to be out there with the guys again,'' Burkhead said. ``I missed being out there.''

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Follow Luke Meredith on Twitter:http://www.twitter.com/LukeMeredithAP

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Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Offense

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Various sources

Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Offense

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, June 18, 38 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins 53-man roster projection—offense 

It may still be early to project the roster, but things are coming into focus after the round of practices in helmets and shorts. Here is my look at who I think will make it on offense; defense up tomorrow. 

Quarterbacks (2)
Alex Smith, Colt McCoy

I think that Kevin Hogan is very much on the bubble as the third quarterback. They got along with two QBs last year, and with Alex Smith having demonstrated great durability during his career, Hogan may well get bumped off. 

Running backs (4)
Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson, Samaje Perine, Rob Kelley

I’d say that this is 95 percent locked in. Maybe Kapri Bibbs or Byron Marshall can make a push for Kelley’s roster spot but his history with Jay Gruden will make it very hard for him to get knocked out. 

Wide receivers (6)
Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder, Maurice Harris, Robert Davis, Trey Quinn

The first time I did this back in April I didn’t have Quinn on the roster. That was before he was a man among boys at rookie camp and a player who looks like he belongs when the veterans showed up. I don’t know if he’ll have the impact that many fans think he will, but he’s certainly going to get his chance. Brian Quick could steal a roster spot from Harris or Davis.

Tight ends (3)
Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle

The Redskins did not draft a tight end or sign one in free agency so there seems to be faith that Reed will be healthy. We’ve heard that before and it seems somewhat risky to leave Davis, who has Father Time nipping at his heels, and the inexperienced Davis as the only two backups. They may try to make room for an undrafted rookie like Hudson Garrett.  

Offensive line (9)
Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Ty Nsekhe, Geron Christian, Tyler Catalina, Tony Bergstrom

I think that Gruden is probably happy with the starters here but the depth is shaky, especially in the interior. The key could be whether Christian is ready for prime time as the swing tackle. That could allow Nsekhe to fill in at guard. Bergstrom is fine as the backup center, although I wouldn’t want to have to count on him for more than a few games. 

Offensive players: 24
Rookies (3):
Guice, Christian, Quinn
New to the organization in 2018 (5): Rookies plus Smith, Richardson 
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster (11): Rookies plus new plus Harris (practice squad), R. Davis (practice squad) and Bergstrom (not on the team). 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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An Indiana state police officer tweeted that he pulled a driver over for going too slowly in the left lane. I believe this person is a national hero. 

Timeline  

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 38
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 52
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 75

The Redskins last played a game 167 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 83 days. 

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Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

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USA TODAY Sports/@TerrellePryor

Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

Terrelle Pryor made a number of highlight reel catches last year during training camp, and it appears the Redskins defense didn't like it. 

Washington's marquee free agent signing last season, Pryor came into Richmond with sky-high expectations. Throughout the training sessions last August, Pryor put on one-handed displays at the Jugs machine and often made big catches in team drills. It's also important to remember there was never any live tackling during these drills, leaving defenders at a distinct disadvantage. 

Zach Brown remembers the scene quite well, and thinks it will look very different this summer when Pryor comes to Richmond as a member of the New York Jets. 

"That’s going to be something right there. The boys are gonna have it out for him. We can put hands on him now," Brown said on Inside the Locker Room on the Team 980 (full audio here).

Brown explained that Redskins coach Jay Gruden would not allow the defense to hit Pryor last year, even when the wideout did some showboating. 

"Jay ain't here to protect you anymore," Brown said.

The Redskins linebacker explained that he tried to explain to Pryor that the one-handed catches from training camp would not translate in the NFC East, where players get hit hard. It doesn't seem like Pryor listened, as he finished the season with only 240 receiving yards on 20 catches in nine games. 

"The boys were already hot for what he was doing last year," Brown said. He added, "Try to one-hand something while you’re with the Jets, you’re gonna catch a forearm."

One incident that supports Brown's comments came when Bashaud Breeland got thrown off the practice field last training camp. Breeland got mad that he wasn't allowed to get physical with Pryor at the line of scrimmage, and the scene blew up. Breeland eventually got sent off the field after arguing with coaches. 

The Jets visit the Redskins for three days of practices beginning August 12th. The two teams then square off in the second preseason game on August 16th. 

Brown will get his chance at Pryor, assuming the wideout plays. Pryor finished the 2018 season on the injured reserve, but is expected to be fine once training camp begins in New York. 

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