I have to admit, I have mixed feelings about this report card. On one hand, it's hard to find much fault with a 55-0 shutout. But truth be told, as I watched the game, I saw plenty of missed opportunities by the Huskers and while the Huskers overcame those problems, they are still worth noting. Perhaps I'm guilty of raising my expectations, but I think this team is capable of playing at a higher level...hence the following grades.
As always, your feedback is encouraged!QB: Zac Lee returned to machine-like precision, completing 15 of 18 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown. But he did show some indecision on scrambling at times. Last week's performance doesn't look quite as bad when you consider how Jacoby Harris performed against the Hokies yesterday. So we'll call it an A-.
IB: Roy Helu didn't get untracked in the rushing game, but did have a nifty pass reception. Would have scored if not for Niles Paul getting in the way. Rex Burkhead showed great speed and balance on his touchdown catch. B-
WR: Curenski Gilleylen is becoming a deep threat that will make defenses pay for putting too much pressure on Lee. Chris Brooks is finally starting to live up to the promise of the recruitniks. But it was another quiet week for Niles Paul and Menelik Holt. B-
OL: Truth be told, I would have expected the line to plow the road for the I-backs yesterday. Jacob Hickman was especially erratic on shotgun snaps early on, aiming several at Lee's face or higher. That can't happen against Big XII competition. C
DL: With the linebackers out of place to cover spread offenses, it falls on the defensive line to put a stop to the running game. The results could be better, but overall, I'd rate it ok. On pass defense, Ndamukong Suh and Jared Crick continue to wreak havoc up front. Barry Turner seems to be turning the corner as well. B+
LB: Phillip Dillard seems to have found a home at weakside linebacker, while Sean Fisher is starting to make some plays. He could have scored on a fumble return if he hadn't been tackled by his teammate. B-
Secondary: Of all the bad luck, Larry Asante and Rickey Thenarse needed assistance to leave the field. Thenarse nearly blocked a punt, and Asante returned an interception for a touchdown P.J. Smith looked a little shaky at first but should grow into the role after he gets comforatable. Eric Hagg led the team in tackles. Only one long (32 yard) pass was allowed, which is a sign of improvement. B+
Special Teams: Normally I don't grade these, but I wanted to give special mention to Alex Henery. Not only was he perfect on field goals, but he uncorked a 55 yard bomb on a punt that would have probably hit Jerry Jones new TV set if the game were played in Dallas. Oh, and that 55 yard punt landed at the 2 yard line and bounced straight left towards the sideline. Dean Jase was unfairly flagged for a monster hit on punt coverage that caused a fumble. Then Tim Marlowe showed great speed in getting downfield to cover another punt at the 1 yard line. Rex Burkhead looked good returning punts too. A+
Coaching: A good defensive game plan, and Shawn Watson took what the Cajuns gave yesterday. Watson needs to get the play calls in faster, though. One play call must have gotten completely lost in translation in the second quarter, forcing Lee to call timeout while in the huddle. B+
Overall: B Lots of good things, but a few too many things went awry. You can get away with that against Louisiana-Lafayette...but not against Missouri and Kansas.
Elsewhere in College Football
ESPN Talking Heads F Last week, we heard all about how "Miami was back" and Penn State was Top 5. Puh-leaze.
Missouri C+ Congratulations: You're the third-best team to beat Nevada this season. Blaine Gabbert is showing great poise, but his line can't handle MAC and WAC defenses. Danario Alexander looks to finally be recovered from his knee injury; he's becoming one of the elite receivers in the league.
Kansas B- Great job handling Southern Miss and the Jayhawk hoopsters last week.