Last Friday I listed three keys for victory - three of the items that the Huskers had to do to guarantee victory over the Owls. Today I'll look back and review just how they did.
I talked about the fact that Nebraska's offensive line needed to establish themselves as a physically dominant force, which they finally did at the beginning of the third quarter. The Huskers scored on a solid 67-yard drive that consumed a little over two minutes and featured some excellent runs by Roy Helu Jr. Helu ended up with some decent stats for the day - look at that 9.5 per carry average!
|vs Fla. Atlantic / 9.5.09||Rushing||Receiving|
|Roy Helu Jr||16||152||9.5||3||1||3||3||0|
Despite the Huskers' apparent success, the play wasn't good enough for Bo Pelini who yesterday stated he felt the Husker defense played "too soft", that they didn't attack blocks and weren't crisp. Giving up 358 yards to Florida Atlantic wasn't good enough.
I stated that we'd see a lot of screens and misdirection from Florida Atlantic on Saturday, and that's exactly what we saw in the first half. While they didn't get in the end zone, the Owls did a decent job on offense, racking up 358 total yards in the process.
There were some discipline breakdowns, in particular a second quarter play in which FAU's fullback Willie Rose was wide open for a 38-yard reception, and another in which Cortez Gent was left uncovered for a 27-yard reception. Rose wasn't fast enough to make it to the end zone, being chased down by the linebacker who missed the coverage, Blake Lawrence. The play lead to Florida Atlantic's three points.
It may be easy to dismiss a single play or two as opening game jitters, but given the performances by Kansas and Missouri last Saturday, the Huskers must improve to play mistake free football if they wish to win the Big 12 North.
Start The Stats Counter Early
The Blackshirts tallied no sacks and only three hurries Saturday, much of that due to the aforementioned screen plays, and FAU quarterback Rusty Smith getting rid of the ball quickly. While that was disappointing, Nebraska did end up at +2 in turnover margin, garnering two interceptions and a fumble while only giving up one interception in Zac Lee's first start.
The game was a butt-kicking, with fans and Florida Atlantic in agreement on that. But it wasn't good enough for Bo Pelini, and it wasn't good enough for the Husker players. That says volumes about the expectations that Pelini has for this team.
A question for Husker fans - do you think Pelini's "too soft" statement was true sentiment, or was it made to be used as a motivational tactic?