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The “fake return” guy in no way made a fair catch signal. His arm hand movement was below the shoulder. It looked like he may have clapped. His arm hand movement was to his left (our right).It was a designed play by MSU. They had scouted Czerny and knew he was likely to punt to his left. They put 2 returners deep and told the one one on the right to wave for a fair catch to make Nebraska think it was coming to him. And they told their blockers to form up on the right as well Partly by chance it dovetailed perfectly with our called coverage and the punter's error.
I posted elsewhere here on Saturday I think Frost needs to own that error instead of just blaming the kicker as he did right after the game, because at this point everything that happens is on him. I said if there's a chance his kicker won't properly execute Frost needs to scheme for that.
It turns out MSU's special teams coordinator knew our kicker's tendency is to kick left. Did our special teams coordinator know that too?
Details are important.
Another interesting point is I am pretty sure the ball was fielded on the (from our perspective) just a few yards outside the left hash mark (on a dead run), so it wasn’t that badly shanked. Both return men set up on their hash marks at the MSU 30. Both return and coverage teams are going down the middle of field with slight bias to (our) right (especially our gunner on right). Fake guy looks up like tracking ball and retreating to the right. Reed is all the way back to 28 and starts advancing and actually fields it on the 37 in the meantime. So the kick was only 34 yards and was caught on a near dead run. Basically, our return team completely overran where the kick was even fielded. I think Henrich was the first to notice and react to Reed's movement.
Our players just lazily followed what their opponents did. They really were not paying any attention to Reed despite the clear giveaways that he was advancing rapidly to catch what was a short kick.
Here is twitter link to replay.
You can argue that you can't see either returner in the early part of the kick game, but clearly decoy made no move around the time a player would normally signal for a fair catch. In fact his arm movements may actually be more like preparing to make a catch.