The .500 Huskers jumped for joy following yesterday's 27-17 win over perennial bottom feeder Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights, if you'll recall, haven't won a B1G conference game since 2015. But the Scarlet Knights led Nebraska 7-0 and had a 17-14 third-quarter lead before caving in to a steady Husker running attack.
And, sadly, Tanner Lee threw yet another pick-six in the third quarter, silencing the nearly 90,000 Husker faithful.
To be sure, Lee has thrown three pick-sixes in his last two games. Let that sink in awhile. Lee, the much heralded QB transfer from Tulane, leads the nation in interceptions-a head-scratching stat that continues to shock Husker fans. And after his pick-six yesterday, Riley stuck with him. And the crowd booed.
Back up QB Patrick O'Brien must be thinking, what in the heck does it take for me to get into a game?
O'Brien must be very frustrated. And I'm not advocating a QB change, at least not now. Riley knows more than I do about his players, but fans are still scratching their heads trying to figure why Lee doesn't get benched.
So the Huskers, after facing four unranked teams, stand at 2-2 for the young season.
Thus far, NU has won games by 10 and 7 points, and lost two by 7 and 4 points.
Let's look at the records of the teams NU has played:
ARKANSAS STATE (1-2)
9/2 Lost to Nebraska 43-36
9/9 Game with Miami Hurricanes (canceled)
9/16 Beat Arkansas Pine Bluff, 48-3
9/23 Lost to SMU 44-21
9/2 Beat Southern Utah 77-21
9/9 Beat Nebraska 42-35
9/16 Beat Wyoming 49-13
9/23 Lost to Arizona State 37-35
NORTHERN ILLINOIS (2-1)
9/2 Lost to Boston College 23-20
9/9 Beat Eastern Illinois 38-10
9/16 Beat Nebraska 21-17
9/23 Did Not Play
Next game: @San Diego State
9/1 Lost to Washington 30-14
9/9 Lost to Eastern Michigan 16-13
9/16 Beat Morgan State 65-0
9/23 Lost to Nebraska 21-17
Next game: Ohio State
So the combined record of the two opponents Nebraska has beaten is 2-5, while the combined record of the Huskers' two losses is 5-2. Maybe it's too early to say, but it seems the Huskers are capable of beating lesser teams, but not good ones. That doesn't bode well for the remainder of the season that includes games with Wisconsin, Ohio State, Penn State, Northwestern, Iowa etc.
The way NU has been playing, it's like trying to cross Death Valley in July with a leaky radiator, a half tank of gas and four bald tires. Sigh...
THE FIRING AND HIRING BUSINESS
The hiring of A.D. Shawn Eichorst five years ago by former UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman proved to be a bad one. Eichorst was a square peg in a round hole. And Eichorst's hiring of Mike Riley, over two years ago, looks as if it might be another bad fit.
I hope Mike Riley can be successful. He's a nice guy who has brought civility to the Husker head coach position.
Ironically, the firing of Eichorst may be a good thing for Riley. Riley's job should be safe at least until the new A.D. is hired and he (or she) has had a chance to evaluate the football program.
I have no inside information, but it seems to me that former Husker great Trev Alberts would be the place to start. Alberts is in his eighth year as the UNO A.D. here in Omaha. Alberts has all the talent you could want. He loves living in Nebraska, is very close to Tom Osborne and has a ton of Husker pedigree. He's a great speaker and would represent the University of Nebraska in the best possible way.
During his tenure at UNO, he has helped transition the University from D-2 to D-1. He helped build the hockey program into a Frozen Four team and helped get Baxter Arena up and running as the home of UNO hockey, volleyball and men's and women's basketball.
FROST ON THE PUMPKIN?
And if Mike Riley needs to be replaced, look no farther than Scott Frost, former Husker great and current head coach at Central Florida.
Would Frost want to leave Florida? I don't know. But his family and his roots are in Nebraska. Wouldn't that be a combination? Frost and Alberts?
You may contact the writer at HuskerDan@cox.net
Shawn's gone; What's next?
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