LINCOLN, Neb. -- For the first time in program history, Iowa is 12-0.
Now the Hawkeyes have their eyes on a bigger prize.
Running back Jordan Canzeri ran 17 times for 140 yards and two third-quarter touchdowns and No. 4 Iowa kept its hopes alive for the College Football Playoffs with a 28-20 victory over Nebraska on Friday at Memorial Stadium.
Big Ten West Division champion Iowa (12-0, 8-0) will play in next weekend's conference championship game in Indianapolis. The opponent will be determined Saturday, but for the Hawkeyes, it could serve as an elimination game to advance to the CFP semifinals.
"I told (the players), I said, 'I don't really know what to say.' I've never been around a team that is 12-0. I'm a little bit speechless on that," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "It is just an unbelievable accomplishment, an unbelievable effort by the players today.
"We said back in August, our goal is to be a championship-level team, a Big Ten championship-level team. So today we moved one step closer and we are very happy about that."
Canzeri ran for touchdowns of 33 and 68 yards on consecutive plays in the third quarter. Both came on zone stretch plays in which the Iowa offensive line opened massive holes.
Canzeri's second run came after Nebraska senior running back Imani Cross scored on a 5-yard run to finish an 11-play, 75-yard drive to cut Iowa's lead to 21-17.
Iowa won despite running a mere 44 plays, the second fewest by a winning team this season. The Hawkeyes also became the fourth team to win this season without converting a third down; they were 0 of 9.
"I was a little emotional coming off the field just because I have never been a part of a team like this," Iowa offensive lineman Austin Blythe said. "Everyone fights for each other, no individuals, just a total team effort, and that's why we are here, 12-0 now."
Nebraska (5-7) must wait to see if there is a need for below-.500 teams to fill 80 bowl slots, or if the first season under coach Mike Riley ended with the program's first losing season since the 2007 team also went 5-7.
Nebraska couldn't overcome four interceptions by junior quarterback Tommy Armstrong, including one that Iowa returned for a touchdown, the Hawkeyes' fourth such score this season. Armstrong has thrown 16 interceptions this season, the most of any FBS player.
"It was penalties and turnovers, and I think that was probably the difference," said Riley, whose team committee eight penalties for 95 yards.
"The other thing was the big runs by them. I think those three parts of it, whether they scored fast or we turned the ball over to them. The production was crazy different. They were 0-for-9 on third down. There was a lot of good stuff in the game; it was just those other parts that we couldn't overcome."
Iowa led 14-10 at halftime after each team converted turnovers into points.
Nebraska forced a 7-7 tie on Cross' 4-yard touchdown run up the middle. That came four plays after Nebraska's Mick Stoltenberg recovered a muffed punt at the Iowa 31-yard line.
Iowa regained the lead when defensive lineman Parker Hesse tipped and caught an Armstrong screen pass at the Nebraska 4-yard line and walked into the end zone for a touchdown with 7:22 remaining in the second quarter.
Nebraska mounted a six-play, 59-yard scoring drive in the final 1:11, highlighted by 27- and 20-yard receptions by tight end Cethan Carter, who set a career high with 72 receiving yards just in the first half.
That set up Drew Brown's 39-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining.
NOTES: An unranked Nebraska team hadn't hosted an undefeated team in November since top-ranked Oklahoma came to Lincoln in 1955, and the Cornhuskers did it twice in November (No. 7 Michigan State, No. 4 Iowa). ... Iowa CB Desmond King, who entered the game with a nation-leading eight interceptions, did not play the first quarter, his punishment for being late for a team meeting. ... Nebraska S Nate Gerry was ejected in the second quarter for targeting, Nebraska's first such ejection this season.