Report Card: Huskers 20, Kansas Jayhawks 3

Now that the Kansas/Nebraska series is on hiatus, Husker fans can now openly root for Turner Gill and Kansas football to do well. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)

It wasn't the blowout that the oddsmakers predicted. Lots of reasons why: Taylor Martinez isn't anywhere near 100% (no matter what the coaching staff tries to suggest), Nebraska didn't want to make Turner Gill look bad, and frankly, Nebraska didn't play that well offensively.  But it is what it is: a victory in a game that, frankly, Nebraska never was in danger of losing.

That's because the Blackshirts were in complete domination of Kansas.  The Jayhawks' only were able to generate four first downs on their own, and the three points they scored were more the fault of the offense turning the ball over than anything the defense did wrong.  So this week's report card is going to look a bit manic-depressive, with some very good and some very-no-so-good grades. As always, your feedback is welcome as well.

QB: Martinez may have been healthy enough to play, but he wasn't healthy enough to make the plays that make him special. That being said, I think it was a good idea to play him, because it gave him a chance to play the game in a different way. Shawn Watson tried to have him become more of a "game manager" than a "game changer".  Granted, that came with mixed results.  I saw some really nice passes, and some really ugly ones.  That's to be expected; he's a freshman. What concerns me more is the continuing ball security problems. That's something that should be a priority this offseason.  Grade: C-

RB: The numbers don't look that bad, but put it in perspective.  Kansas ranks 11th in the Big XII in rushing defense, and Nebraska should have been able to run the ball at will against the Jayhawks.  Some of that was poor blocking, some of that was poor decision making. So putting it in that context, the backs earn a D+.

WR: Niles Paul took a lot of abuse last week from some fans for his decision to return a kickoff from deep out of the end zone.  This week, fans should sing his praises, because he had several clutches to keep drives alive, including a leaping reception on third and 25 to get the first down.  Great throw and catch for both.  That third and 25 was set up by a pass interference penalty on Brandon Kinnie that I'd like to get a third look at, because I didn't see anything to warrant a flag on the first replay I saw.  Grade: B+

OL: I just expected the line to line up and blow the Jayhawks off the ball, but that didn't seem to happen. Most of the yards seemed to come on the outside. Grade:  D+

DL: Jared Crick spent so much time in the Kansas backfield, he qualifies for student tuition in Lawrence. The four man line was disruptive enough to keep Kansas in neutral all evening long.  Grade: A

LB: Lavonte David set the tone for the evening when he snuffed out a KU screen pass on third down.  Ho hum, another 10 tackle performance.  Will Compton also had a nice game as well.  Grade: A

Secondary: Alfonzo Dennard's interception was a thing of beauty.  Dejon Gomes was all over the place as well.  The rest of the secondary had a quiet night on the scoresheet because they pretty much blanketed the KU receivers.  Grade: A

Special Teams:  The good was watching Alex Henery pin the Jayhawks deep with his punting.  The bad was watching D.J. Beshears return five kickoffs for 139 yards (almost 28 yards a return).  Grade: C-

Overall:  C+  It's a win, but it was a sloppy win on offense and special teams.  That worked this week against Kansas; it'll take a much better effort next week against Texas A&M.

Elsewhere in College Football


Colorado  B+ Maybe Brian Cabral knows what it takes to win in Boulder.

Texas  F  Wow.  Simply.  wow.

Wisconsin  A+  83 points??? Okay...but was that RUTS or not?

Oregon:  C+  Ok, there's your offweek.

Utah:  F  Didn't you used to be a Top Ten team?

Cam Newton:  D-  I think there's too much smoke here for there not to be a fire.  Auburn tradition isn't exactly helping here either.

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