Observations of the Rutgers Game 12/18/2020
The Huskers first drive looks promising but ends with a Martinez fumble. Rutgers takes over and completes a long pass downfield on first down. Husker D stiffens and Rutgers settle for a FG.
The Huskers second drive stalls at midfield and Martinez punts on fourth down, pinning Rutgers on the three. The Huskers force a punt and take over with good field position.
Again early mistakes for the Huskers as they stop themselves. A second Martinez fumble gives Rutgers the ball near midfield. The D holds but the punt pins the Huskers at the three. Penalties on the Huskers again kill any movement and they punt again. We are asking a lot of the defense with our inability to move the ball on offense. 3-0 Rutgers after Q1.
The D makes another stand and force another FG. 6-0 Rutgers.
The O finds a rhythm and Mills breaks a huge run. Robinson punches in for the TD but is injured. Despite a holding penalty on the PAT, Culp converts to give the Huskers a 7-6 lead.
It is mystifying why the Huskers don’t run straight downhill more, especially when the Knights have a hard time stopping it.
The D holds but then the punt return team falls asleep and let the punter run for a first down. Then the D steps up again and Nelson stops Rutgers on fourth down at the 43.
On a third and 20, Martinez launches a pass downfield and Robinson takes it to the 13. Mental mistakes lead to Martinez throwing an INT in the end zone.
It is not hard to see how potent this offense can be without the mental mistakes, penalties, and turnovers. Almost is not enough.
The Husker D finally breaks on a fourth and 1 as Rutgers runs for a TD. Then give up a 2-point conversion. 14-7 Rutgers.
Another promising drive stalls. Rutgers runs out the clock to lead at halftime 14-7.
Another special teams breakdown and Rutgers has the 2nd half kickoff at midfield. The D forces another punt.
The O clicks on a drive and Martinez runs in from 41. 14-14. Mills, Robinson, and Martinez all running hard. The young men on the O line are holding up well. Gaining confidence with every snap.
You cannot help but think that without the mistakes and turnovers, this is a Husker runaway. Humph.
Special teams fails again and gives up a 98 yard kickoff return for a TD. Lawdy.
Martinez overthrows Robinson and gives up an INT. The D forces yet another punt that pins the Huskers deep again.
Some great runs and passes, and a recovered fumble later, the Huskers drive 97 yards for a Martinez to Robinson TD on 3rd and 13!
21-21 end of Q3.
Another D stop and punt. Huskers take over from the 8. BIG runs and clutch passes end 92 yards later as Mills pushes Martinez into the end zone. Huskers 28, Scarlet Knights 21.
Huskers are over 500 yards of offense.
Taylor-Britt gets an INT to end a Rutgers drive. The O now has a chance to put this game away.
That final clock-eating drive is a winner! More than 600 yards offense.
If that was Dedrick Mills last game as a Husker, it was certainly one to remember!
A good, come from behind 28-21 win for the Huskers!
As Always, Go B1G RED!
Observations of the Minnesota Game 12/12/2020
Let’s hope we get the mistakes and penalties out of the system early in the game. A dropped lateral set the Huskers back and they were forced to punt. A personal foul penalty on the Huskers kept the Gophers drive moving. The D is really stuffing the run to open the game. The Gopher punt is downed at the 2.
Martinez runs for a first down and hurts his left hand. McCaffrey comes in and throws an INT. Minnesota converts the INT into points and leads 7-0.
Gophers add a FG. 10-0 after one quarter. The Huskers seem flat. No energy in Q1.
Wind at their back, Robinson runs for 47. Then a GREAT read in a run/pass option Martinez hits a wide open Allen in the end zone. 10-7 Gophers.
Huskers D bends and does not break. Stops the Gophers on 4th down and takes over on the 27. A big stop is followed by a Husker drive and Martinez rushes for a TD. Huskers lead 14-10.
A BS targeting call on Taylor-Britt. Keeps the drive alive and they score a TD. 17-14 Gophers.
It looks like the wind is carrying Martinez’s downfield passes a little long. Minnesota 17, Nebraska 14 at the half.
The D holds Minnesota to open the second half. The O drives down to the 14 then miss a FG.
The D holds again and force a punt. But the offense goes nowhere and punt back to Minnesota. The D steps up again and gets a 4th down stop. First down Huskers at the 36. Two incompletions and then Martinez gets the ball knocked out. Gopher ball at the 39.
Scoreless 3rd quarter. 17-14 Gophers to open Q4.
The Gophers score to lead 24-14.
The Husker drive stalls but a Gopher offside breathes new life in the drive. A questionable holding call on Piper negates a Martinez TD. Culp adds a FG. 24-17 Gophers. 4:42 left in the game.
The Huskers second half scoring woes continue. The Huskers gave away this game.
As Always, Go B1G RED!
Observations of the Purdue Game
To open the game, the Huskers get a big stop, force the Boilermakers into fourth down and block the punt! With the return to the 1 yard line, Mills punches it in on a first down run. Huskers capitalize on the turnover and lead 7-0.
The D gets a third down sack to force a Purdue punt. A great return and a bizarre penalty on the Purdue bench gives the Huskers a red zone first down. Martinez hands off to McCaffrey who loses yardage. On third and long Martinez scrambles for a TD! 14-0.
The D is fired up! Another sack on third down. Huskers take over on the Purdue side of midfield. The drive stalls and the Huskers settle for a FG. 17-0.
Purdue is making the penalties and mistakes that the Huskers have been making. The Huskers force a Boilermaker FG. 17-3.
How was that not targeting on Purdue? Helmet to helmet against Robinson, and the Purdue player lost his helmet. End of 1. 17-3 Huskers.
The Husker drive stalls and Culp kicks a career-long 49 yard FG. 20-3.
The Huskers give up a huge return. Purdue has adjusted their O line to deal with the Husker pressure and drive for a TD. 20-10.
The Huskers drive the field for the TD! 27-10.
Two stupid personal foul penalties give Purdue an extra 30 yards. Seriously? THINK! At least another sack stuffs the Purdue drive.
Taylor-Britt was blocked into the punt returner. Should be a no call. Then the Huskers stuff a 4th and 1 to take over late in the half. The drive goes nowhere and the Huskers punt again, and Purdue blocks it for great field position. A Boilermaker FG makes it 27-13 at halftime.
Mistakes and penalties by both teams have been a major factor. The Huskers have to develop some discipline to avoid the mental mistakes.
High fives! The Huskers take the second half kickoff and drive for a TD using a mixture of runs and passes with tempo mixed in. 34-13 Huskers!
The D bends and doesn’t break again and force a pooch punt, but leave the Huskers in bad field position. After a Husker punt, Purdue drives for a score. 34-20 Huskers.
McCaffrey in for an injured Martinez (right shoulder). Nice pass for a first down to end the quarter. Huskers 34, Boilermakers 20. Drive stalls and Huskers punt.
Disaster. Two Husker defenders run into each other and let Bell score an 89 yard TD reception. 34-27.
For the love of all that is official, holding on the Huskers. A late hit on Purdue bails out the Huskers. A Purdue PI keeps the drive going. The Husker mistakes stall the drive and Culp adds a FG. 37-27 Huskers.
Seven flags in that drive. Officials may suffer rotator cuff damage tossing all that laundry.
The Huskers hold. A HUGE play by Taylor-Britt to knock down the pass and force a punt.
Huskers hold the Boilermakers on 4th down and run out the last 1:41 in the victory formation for a 37-27 victory!
Nebraska limits Purdue to -2 yards rushing! A win!
As always, Go B1G RED!
Observations of the Iowa Game 11/27/2020
Trying something different today. Watching the game on Fox with the sound off and listening to the Husker broadcast via the Husker app. Had to pause the telecast 5 seconds to synchronize the audio and video.
Iowa takes the opening kickoff and runs four straight passes. Another mental mistake with an obvious late hit puts Iowa in the red zone. The Husker D stiffens and forces an Iowa FG.
Martinez gets the start. But the drive stalls after another bad snap. A short punt gives Iowa field position.
The Huskers stiffen again and force a punt. Offense starts at the 2, drives to the 35 then punts. Really poor punt coverage gives Iowa great field position. A blown coverage gives Iowa a TD.
McCaffrey comes in for the third series. The O drive is interrupted by the end of Q1. A promising Husker drive stalls at the 18 and the Huskers settle for a FG. The O had more urgency with McCaffrey.
The D gets an INT (Bootle) on an Iowa 3rd and 11! The O stalls again and kicks a FG. 10-6 Iowa.
The O line has let defenders come in unblocked a couple times. Blown assignment or poor technique? Looks like the former.
The Huskers get called for a PI but Iowa was guilty of an illegal pick on the crossing route. The Huskers force another FG.
Another bad snap and fortunate recovery puts the Huskers off schedule. Martinez leads a drive downfield and another bad snap for a 19 yard loss. Jurgens out at center, Farniok comes in at center. Martinez run’s for first down. Robinson runs for a first and goal. Martinez sneaks for a TD. The PAT ties the game at 13.
Rogers gets a sack to end the half! The Huskers stuffed Iowa’s run game in the first half. Let’s see how the halftime adjustments work out.
The Huskers take the second half kick and drive for a TD! Nice adjustment in the blocking scheme.
Iowa takes the next drive for a TD. Likewise a nice adjustment in scheme.
The Huskers go three and out. Now the D has to step up again. Asking a lot of the D today. End of three, tied at 20.
A hold on Benhart negates a huge Martinez run. The Huskers punt and down the ball on the 13.
The Husker get a HUGE three and out! Then Taylor-Britt muffs a punt and turns the ball over. The Husker D bends again but force another FG. 26-20 Iowa with 8 minutes left.
There have been fewer Husker mistakes. But the mistakes they have had were big and at the wrong time. Iowa won the battle of special teams and field position.
This is the best four quarter, full game performance by the Husker defense.
Iowa misses a 51 yard FG attempt and the Huskers have a chance. Missed block by the O line allows Iowa a shot on Martinez and a lost fumble. Game over. 26-20 Iowa.
Just a couple plays, mistakes, made a difference today. So darn close.
As always, Go B1G RED!
Observations of the Illinois Game 11/21/2020
The Huskers are in their alternate uniforms today. The only thing I like about those uniforms is the skull and crossbones. Between 1966 and 2009, the Huskers are 3-14 when wearing alternate uniforms. Anyone know what the record is the last decade when wearing alternate uni’s?
McCaffrey gets his second start and promptly makes a bad decision. He was clearly beyond the line of scrimmage when he passed the ball, and the ball clearly was a forward pass that landed further downfield from where it was released. But officials ruled it a lateral with the ball recovered by Illinois. Bad call. The replay booth did not signal down that they were reviewing the play. Then Illinois fumbles forward, gains yards and recovers the fumble when the ball carrier’s knee was clearly down before the fumble. Again, bad call and no review. End result Illinois 7 Huskers 0 ninety seconds into the game.
On the Huskers second possession, short passes, and tough running by Scott and McCaffrey lead to 12 play 71 yard scoring drive with McCaffrey knotting the score at 7.
The D gets pushed down the field and gives up a second score. Coaches need to make adjustments to the defensive reads.
The high snaps continue and lead to a busted 4th down play and an INT.
Take back the Blackshirts from the Defense. 21-7 Illinois.
The Huskers look completely out of sorts in both sides of the ball.
A hold on Jurgens at 4th and goal negates a TD and the Huskers settle for a FG.
As Illinois marches down the field and scores in four plays, I am speechless.
McCaffrey throws high. He’s low. He is missing open receivers. The team seems lifeless. No energy. The coaches did not have this team ready to play.
Three first half turnovers. Penalties. Mistakes that this team should not be making. That was an ugly half of football. Illinois 28. Nebraska 10. Ugh.
The D forces a 3 and out to start the second half. Then completely go to sleep and allow the punter to run for a first down. Good grief! Illinois puts up a FG.
Mental mistakes and lack of execution.
Behind four consecutive first downs, and a great run by Robinson, the Huskers score a TD on a QB sneak. They doubled their second half scoring output this season.
Tough injury for defensive leader, Collin Miller. Prayers.
The D holds the Illini to a FG. 41-17 Illinois with 11 minutes left in the game.
Martinez enters the game late and guides the O to a TD, and a penalty kills a two-point conversion.
The Huskers lost the battle in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Very inconsistent play. The woes on third down continue ... cannot make them and cannot stop them. The inability to adjust throughout the game is telling. Five. Five turnovers against Illinois. At home. On our field. It feels like I am writing about a Mike Riley coached team.
The curse of alternate uniforms/solid color uniforms continues.
Next week the Huskers visit Iowa on Black Friday. Let’s hope the team has more energy and better execution.
As Always, Go B1G RED!
Observations on the Penn State Game 11/14/2020
Not since 1895 has a Nebraska home opener happened this late in the year. That’s not all. It has been 50 weeks, nearly a year, since the Huskers last played inside Memorial Stadium!
McCaffrey gets the start. Playing with tempo, a false start nearly derails the drive. Mental mistakes. Captains and teammates have to hold those players accountable. And coaches have to bench them. Send the message.
The first drive looked good. Thank goodness they reviewed Warner’s reception. No fumble. Down at the half yard line and McCaffrey sneaks in for the TD. Did you see the red balloons go up?!
Taylor-Britt makes a great INT and run back. But the Huskers are not able to punch it in and settle for a FG.
The Husker D has to get a stop. Giving up third down conversions has become a habit. Finally! A third down stop in the red zone holds the Nittany Lions to a FG.
Bett turns on the jet sweep for a TD! 17-3. Go B1G RED!
Williams gets great pressure on the QB, punches the ball out, scoops and scores! 24-3!!
So maybe this Husker defense is in a bend but don’t break mode. Another red zone stop forces a second Penn State FG.
Why are the Huskers on the west sideline? Did I miss that last year? Or is it new this year?
Robison is small but runs tough. McCaffrey makes a play under pressure passing left-handed. The Husker drive stalls out and they settle for another FG to lead 27-6 at the half.
Penn State moves the ball on their first second half possession but stall out. The FG attempt is short and the Huskers return it to the 35. Then the Huskers stall out and punt back to the Nittany Lions.
I see Jurgens back at center this week. He has made several high snaps that are throwing off the play timing. Shades of last year.
So far, Penn State’s halftime adjustments are better than the Huskers have been. The chess game continues. Huskers 27, Nittany Lions 13.
Huskers stop another Penn State drive and with another FG they cut the lead to 11.
Another Husker drive stalls in the red zone and another FG puts the Huskers up by 14 in the fourth quarter, 30-16.
A blown coverage on a blitz gives up a long pass and Penn State first and goal. They convert to cut the lead to 7.
The Huskers move the ball a little, but turn it over on an INT. Crap!
The Huskers out-coached Penn State in the first half. Penn State out-coached the Huskers in the second half. The Nittany Lions made better adjustments and the Huskers could not answer.
Facing fourth and goal, 37 seconds left in the game, the Huskers pressure is enough! Victory formation. 30-23 Huskers get their first win of 2020!
I see continued improvement. O line making better blocks and providing pass protection. Getting Robinson in the backfield and giving him the ball makes a difference. McCaffrey was more effective in the first half. The third quarter was forgettable. The D has moments of greatness and other times look average. Overall, fewer penalties. Fewer mistakes. Improvement!
As Always, Go B1G RED!
Observations on Northwestern Game 11/7/2020
The Huskers had a good drive going, but back-to-back penalties derailed it and they were forced to punt. The adjustment to the O line seems OK at first. With Jurgens out at center, players are in different positions.
Northwestern mixed runs and passes well, and scored on their first possession. The Huskers missed some tackles. The TD run really showed how much Williams and Taylor-Britt are missed in the secondary. The Wildcats Drake Anderson is not only short in stature, but slippery as well.
Martinez’s passing is off kilter early in the game. Short passes are not on target.
The Huskers D stiffened and Northwestern missed a FG.
The offense then converted two fourth downs and got on the board with a field goal.
Good coverage by the D leads to a tipped ball INT! The Huskers subsequent drive stalls and results in a second field goal.
The D got some pressure on Ramsey and forced a Wildcat punt and good field position for the O.
The third down woes continue and the Huskers miss a FG.
Late in the half, the good coverage and QB pressure led to another pick and then a short drive for a 13-7 Husker lead at halftime.
Northwestern took the second half kickoff and drove for a TD. Some suspect tackling. We cannot just bump into them and try to knock them down. We must wrap up the tackle.
Martinez is late on a toss and is intercepted in the end zone.
So far mental mistakes and penalties have cost the Huskers. End of third quarter, Huskers 13 Wildcats 14.
The Huskers need to improve their kick return and punt return coverage. No excuse for giving up yardage.
McCaffrey leads a great drive but a bad throw off the head of an O lineman leads to an INT.
The lack of reliable outside receivers is evident. The Huskers just look pedestrian. No spark. Too many penalties and mistakes. They let that one slip away 21-13.
As always, Go B1G RED!
Observations on Nebraska at Ohio State 10/24/2020
Huskers take the opening kick-off down the field and score in under 2 minutes! Martinez used nice progression to find open receivers. McCaffrey came in as a running back and took the Buckeyes by surprise, running for 47 yards. Then Martinez used the zone read really well, and when the hole to the left was closed, pulled it back to the right for the TD!
The Husker secondary looked to be playing loose on the first couple plays. Then had great coverage and sacked QB Fields. They did a good job stuffing the run and disrupting the QB. Had them stopped, but the Buckeyes got a lucky break catching a tipped ball on a fourth down conversion. A few plays later, they tied the game at 7.
The motion penalty on the second series effectively ended that drive. We can’t beat ourselves with mental mistakes.
On the Buckeyes second drive, we had Fields stopped, knee down, but no call and no review. Then Fields throws a TD to a wide open receiver. The Husker coverage has to be more consistent. The D line seems to be doing a good job disrupting plays.
Strange equipment issue for Martinez. McCaffrey under center showed his nerves, but recovered his fumble.
The O line is opening holes. Both QBs and Mills are getting yards. Huskers playing up tempo. Brilliant idea to have both QBs in the backfield, put Martinez in motion and direct snap to McCaffrey. Mills punches in to tie at 14.
The Husker D is beginning to stiffen. Held the Buckeyes to a field goal. Coach Frost is into the game and having fun!
An unnecessary delay of game penalty destroyed that series. The coaching staff should have called time out. The next three plays were a mess. Then a face mask penalty on the punt. It should have been called a hold on Ohio State. The officials seem rusty also. The short field and PI call gave the Buckeyes that TD. Ohio State 24, Huskers 14.
The first few minutes of the second half were ugly for the Huskers. Ohio State took advantage. That’s what good teams do.
Untimely mistakes, errors in execution, and penalties cost the Huskers many opportunities.
When the Huskers are in man coverage, Fields had no option leading to scrambles and sacks. When the Huskers are in zone coverage, there are soft spots and seams that Fields finds too easily.
The targeting calls were insane. Two upheld, one overturned. Football players have to play football. When on offensive player lowers their head, it is too easy to have contact to the upper body.
Considering this is a first game of the season, both teams could have executed better. The Huskers have a few things to clean up. Mental mistakes and untimely penalties cost them.
Third down conversions are still our nemesis on both sides of the ball.
McCaffrey shows moments of brilliance, and also shows his lack of experience. He has to take better care of the ball when running.
Well, no surprise that Ohio State won. The Huskers had some good moments. Now they need to have more good moments consistently strung together.
I am optimistic with the energy I saw on the field. Playing two QBs in the backfield creates unique opportunities. The D has improved. We need more help in the secondary.
Back home next week to face Wisconsin. Let’s see how they improve!
As always, Go B1G RED!