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Nebraska vs LA Tech Game Thread (9/23/23)

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Today's stats, etc.

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Final Game Thoughts.

Very sloppy football game on all sides as Nebraska improves to 2-2 after a somewhat lackluster performance.

From the very beginning, there just seemed to be something missing. The defense missed more tackles in the first quarter than they had seemingly all year. Offensively, we couldn’t keep our QB clean and our backs struggled to find holes.

But this team ground through it. The defense gave up some huge third downs but generally didn’t look to be in trouble. Near the end of a scoreless first quarter, Nebraska finally got something going on offense. Haarberg raced off left tackle for a 43 yard gain and suddenly the offense came to life.

The drive eventually stalled setting up a fourth and 4 at the LaTech 19 and NU lined up for a FG try. However, NU executed the fake FG to perfection as holder Timmy Bleekrode took off for a ten yard gain that almost netted a touchdown. Two plays later Billy Kemp IV went into motion and took the quick handoff around the end for a 9 yard TD.

But then Louisiana Tech answered with a 10 play 87 yard TD drive that won’t make DC Tony White very happy in film study. It was ugly.

Nebraska appeared to have a great answer as Haarberg took the first play of the next drive around right end for an apparent 75 yard TD. However, downfield holding negated the end of the run and Nebraska’s drive stalled.

Nebraska’s defense finally responded with a three and out and the offense mounted a nice drive to get into field goal range with 6 seconds remaining. However, Tristan Alvano missed badly on a 41 yarder at the half leaving the game at 7-7.

Nebraska has a problem at place kicker. Alvaro’s body language was BAD before and after that kick.

Finally in the second half, NU started to put plays together. Anthony Grant got going on the drive with runs of 34 and 19 yards. His 19 yarder on 4th and one set Nebraska up inside the five and he later punched it in.

On the next possession, LaTech had a very similar fourth down situation at the Nebraska 28. The defense held on 4th and one.

Nebraska then took advantage of special teams play to take control of the game. After their drive stalled, Buschini punted 48 yards and the ball was downed on the four yard line.

The defense held and NU took over around midfield. A few plays later, Haarberg found Fidone for a 29 yard TD and NU was finally in control, 21-7. The sequence of events that led to that TD was great situational and complementary football from all three units. Matt Rhule will be extremely happy with that.

Then, NU got the ball back and Haarberg went off tackle for 72 yards for a TD and there were no flags on the field. By now, Haarberg sprinting downfield was becoming a welcome and familiar site.

From there, it was just a matter of the final score. NU took a sack on the next possession and punted. There was a near hour rain delay with just under 9 minutes to go.

After the delay, NU looked sluggish (understatement) but were able to grab a final interception to seal the deal.

The game was marred by all kinds of handkerchiefs laying on the field. 18 penalties were enforced and several others were declined. Explosive plays for both teams were called back (including a much too easy kickoff return for TD by LaTech).

Nebraska did rush for over 300 yards and had two 100 yard rushers (Haarberg 157 yards and Grant for 135). Emmett Johnson had his first two carries as a Husker. Kwinten Ives incidentally did not play.

All in all, a very vanilla performance from Nebraska. The defense looked a bit off as stated, and the offense did just enough to put some points on the board.

Nebraska never really was in trouble but they never looked dominant either.

If I didn’t know any better, it seemed like the team wanted to get this game over with, get the W, and move on to Michigan.

Some random thoughts.

*FG kicking is concerning. Not sure I agreed with starting a shaky freshman over a shaky senior coming off a good year. To me, it made sense to go with the experience and then fall back on the freshman. Now . . . it almost seems we are all in with Alvaro. As stated, his body language looked bad on his kick. NU fans should be familiar with that situation.

*HATED the play action call right before the delay. I get that we wanted to work on the passing game a bit. But dropping our QB back with the goal line so close behind us seems like begging for trouble. Furthermore, he looked like a deer in headlights when the pressure came. He took a mean sack, fumbled (not sure it was ruled a fumble), and did not return to the game after the delay. Every time we try to get cute, it burns us. Anybody notice that?

*I don’t understand Marcus Washington. No catches, one drop. He’s too talented to disappear for an entire game like that.

*No sacks. LaTech was throwing quick passes. We weren’t bringing much pressure (vanilla), But still, it was disappointing how comfortable their QB was in the pocket.

*In all, we had only 4 TFL’s (compared to their 3 sacks and 9 TFL’s) Of course, it hurts when we run wide with Anthony Grant and he decides to give up yards to try to outrun everyone to the sideline.—a bad habit he just can’t seem to shake.

*Billy Kemp had 5 receptions for 62 yards and really was the focus of our passing game. He also chipped in with the 9 yard TD run. Many of his catches converted first downs.

*I guess all Thomas Fidone does is catch touchdown passes. Three games, three TD’s.

*Did Haarberg’s long runs bring back any memories? Especially the way he outran defenders who appeared to perhaps have an angle. A little bit of Crouch, a little bit of Taylor Martinez, I would say. That part was fun.

*I’ll probably regret saying this, but Grant seems to be running with much better ball security than he did in the Minnesota fiasco fumble. Hopefully, he learned his lesson.

Okay we are 2-2 (should be 3-1). Conference play begins in earnest. The “pre-season” is over. Michigan looms next week. For most fans, this is the one game on our schedule they would describe as “not winnable”. Every game left on our schedule is winnable and losable with only an exception or two (Michigan & Northwestern, imo).

I “guess” Haarberg is our starting QB going forward until he proves otherwise?

Hopefully, some of our injuries heal and we are ready for the battle. The path to 6 wins really begins the week after Michigan. Next week, we need to compete hard but understand this is still a long season.

Let’s see what these guys can do.

Lackluster win . . . but it was a win. Enjoy it. It gets tougher from here on out. And the stakes go up.

Take care all.

They were B1G refs.

Maybe NU was guilty of looking ahead. We are not good enough to overlook anyone

We stop the run pretty well. The key is can we move the ball next week. Gotta play this one like with house money. As much as I hate it we may have to play the hot hand between Sims and Haarberg. We do have a shot if we protect the ball.

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