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  • Keep Calm and Carry on, Husker Nation

    So here we are again, Nebraska pulls another win out by the skin of its teeth. Nothing unusual, it happened several times last year. Oh, wait, people are actually upset now? I can't say I understand why, given what happened Saturday night was practically what happened against Northwestern or Michigan State last year, a narrow one-score win. The only difference is, Nebraska was the one who scored last to take the lead in those games.

    Okay, holding off the ninth best team in the Mountain West by three is not going to inspire confidence. It was the worst performance of a Bo Pelini Nebraska team against a non-major conference opponent other than maybe South Dakota State in 2010. Great time for the Jack Rabbits to be back in Lincoln in a couple of weeks. But this morning, I don't see any reason why Nebraska can't win 11 or 10 games.

    Nebraska Cornhuskers defenders David Santos (41) and Harvey Jackson (1) tackle Wyoming Cowboys receiver Robert Herron (6) in the first half at Memorial Stadium. Nebraska won 37-34. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
    Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
    I know it sounds crazy, but Nebraska is still playing the same easy schedule they were set to play before this weekend, which still doesn't include Ohio State, or Indiana and their array offensive weapons. The offense, while not totally clicking, still was able to move the ball and score enough. Yes, the defense was terrible, but how many impact plays from last year can you think of that measure up with the interception, third-and-one tackle, and third-down pass breakup that Stanley Jean-Baptiste made? Kenny Bell made impacts in both the return game (returns of 35 and 37 to set up scoring drives) and as a gunner. And Sam Foltz made two impact punts, one at the most critical juncture of the game. Yes, it felt like a loss, but all is not lost.

    Nebraska's lackluster showing was nothing in comparison to the numerous major conference programs who lost or underperformed against FCS teams or teams from lesser conferences. It doesn't justify the Huskers' problems, but what happened in Lincoln on Saturday happened to a degree in Storrs, Ames, Morgantown, Corvallis, Iowa City, and Manhattan, Kansas, of all places, as lesser programs try to get noticed for bigger invitations down the line.

    And in the case of Wyoming, you had a classic border rival whose coach, Dave Christensen, has a 22-28 record through four years and came into this year with two chances to get a signature win. One was last night, the other is in November at Boise State. Which do you think he prepared harder for, and which one would have meant the most to his boosters who always get Nebraska games on ABC? With an off-season of planning, you knew he was throwing all his energy at a team he humiliated several times as Missouri's offensive coordinator.

    And consider the style of play. In the area of spreads, teams aren't hitting as hard in Week One as they have in the past. The only team I saw yesterday that was blocking and tackling like it was October was Georgia Tech, whose style is built on physicality. At the same time the Yellow Jackets were running circles around Elon, Florida was plodding along with Toledo, saving their actual smash-mouth style for when SEC play starts.

    But beyond all this, the question remains, what are Nebraska's ceiling and floor based on that performance? Urban Meyer will be able to destroy this team if he gets the opportunity to do so. Still, Taylor Martinez and company are likely to average around twenty-eight points a game, which should be enough to overcome the damage that an average Big 10 offense will do to Nebraska's defense. The big question coming out of this game is whether or not Tim Beck will take enough shots down the field. If Beck wants to run the ball over sixty percent of the time, he has to get more than one twenty-yard reception that occurred by chance. Throwing the short receiver screens, even though opponents having been playing Nebraska receivers five yards off the line of scrimmage for two years, is more conducive in a 50-50 run-to-pass ratio.

    As I thought before Saturday night, the effort against UCLA will be one of the best ones of the season, because it's only game worth circling in this half of the season. That in part accounted for the lackluster effort on Saturday, and I'd bet Pelini has a defensive package Nebraska has not used yet for Brett Hundley and his speed demons. But before that, there is a game against Southern Miss, a team with a long losing streak that finally gets to go on the road and play the us-against-the-world card. Not exactly great for Nebraska.

    Comments 5 Comments
    1. rippy's Avatar
      rippy -
      Why did Beck call for a QB sneak by a one armed QB on maybe the biggest moment of the game? Shocking that the ball was stripped. Unforgivable.
    1. Warhorse's Avatar
      Warhorse -
      I agree with most of what you say here except: 1. Your characterization of the defense as "terrible" is a bit hyperbolic don't you think? If the defense had indeed been as terrible as you and many others contend, NU would have lost that game. 2. "Urban Meyer will be able to destroy this team." Oh really? Unless Urban Meyer turns into Godzilla and plays us single-handed, I don't think so. OSU is probably the most overrated team in the county at this point.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Quote Originally Posted by Warhorse View Post
      I agree with most of what you say here except: 1. Your characterization of the defense as "terrible" is a bit hyperbolic don't you think? If the defense had indeed been as terrible as you and many others contend, NU would have lost that game. 2. "Urban Meyer will be able to destroy this team." Oh really? Unless Urban Meyer turns into Godzilla and plays us single-handed, I don't think so. OSU is probably the most overrated team in the county at this point.
      I'm not sure if you actually watched the game the other night. NU's defense WAS terrible and if they'd been playing a decent team they would'be been beaten. You know the guy was talking about OSU beating NU and not Urban Meyer personally. Why is it so hard to accept a little constructive criticism? I love the Huskers but they really stunk it up the other night. It wasn't just the "D" s fault but they do share most of the blame IMO.
    1. terrydarnall's Avatar
      terrydarnall -
      NU is a very poorly coached team. I'm finally admitting it to myself. I don't know what they do in practice, but I'd like to compare it and see what Alabama does in practice. I"m guessing hitting and scrimmaging. Preparing them for actual game feel. The offense and defense, especially Papuchise looked like he didn't know what he was doing and Pelini was trying to help but looked flustered. Pelini does not have a handle on this team and it shows. Undisciplined as we have seen for 5 years! Always a step slow on defense, which tells us the players don't know what they are doing. Poor practices or too complicated a defense, that until you are 3 years in do you get it. Although, Cooper and Jackson didn't seem to understand their assignments. They were always late getting over to cover receivers and they have been around for three years! This is embarrassing and maddening. Pelini needs to take his novice coaches and join his brother at Florida Atlantic.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Where were you last year¿ Everyone was equally upset at those wins. SDSU Jackrabbits are going to embarass Nebraska. This weaker schedule you talk about, began with Wyoming. No more excuses. Bo and Beck don't know how to develop talent. Here is a quote from another article, “Our starting receivers are out and I don’t get very many reps with the other kids back there,” Martinez said. How is that possible¿ Stop the excuses! Bo had his shot. It is time for him to go. Who is next¿ Scott Frost, look at his resume.
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