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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 toImage of Walt Hansmann, OCC President 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!

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