Saturday night sucked. Royally. There, it's been said.
When I started these report cards in 2007, we had a bunch of report cards like this. Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, it did. We even had one in 2008 after the Missouri game. But I had hoped that we had moved past this. But we haven't. So I went back and reviewed the report cards from the past, just to put things in perspective.
It doesn't make things look any better, but it does make me feel like the program has progressed a little bit. It's regressed from the last year or two, but Nebraska is still better off today with Bo Pelini than without him. But dang, games like that really knock the wind out of you.QB: Yes, the game went south when Taylor Martinez threw three interceptions. But let's not forget that earlier in the game, Martinez was making some big plays and playing as well as Russell Wilson. He had some clutch throws, like that 2nd and 21 toss to Quincy Enunwa at the end of the 1st quarter. And later in the game, he played fairly well...but by then, the damage was done. I'd give Martinez an A for the first 20 minutes, an F for the next 20, and a B- for the end of the game. Overall grade: C-
RB: It wasn't Rex Burkhead's fault that he only carried the ball six times in the first half. On a yards per-carry average, Burkhead's 5.3 yard average bettered Wisconsin's Montee Ball. So I'm not going to blame Burkhead here. Grade: B+
WR: Drops were not a problem tonight...though I always wonder if a blown read by a receiver led to one of the interceptions. That false start penalty on Kyler Reed might have helped lead to the first of the interceptions. What was lost in all of the defensive problems was a fine performance by Jamal Turner. That quasi-option/screen pass that we saw late in the game is a neat little wrinkle...I just wish it wasn't wasted in garbage time. Grade: B
OL: I'm not blaming the line for last night. I think the line had decent protection and certainly cleared out some room for Burkhead on the ground. Grade: B+
DL: Jared Crick came ready to play, especially early on. Cameron Meredith spent a lot of time chasing Russell Wilson as well. But other than Eric Martin, I didn't see anybody else step up against the Badgers. Jason Ankrah with only one assist? A starting defensive end need to contribute more than that. Grade: C+
LB: Lavonte David brought the wood early on...but after a while, the Pelini brothers called off the pressure on Wilson...and David wasn't doing a whole heck of lot after that. Will Compton only seemed to get noticed for being out of position. I've heard a lot of griping about the lack of depth at linebacker. It is a problem, but Nebraska is better off here than they were when Pelini arrived. Remember when Pelini had to move Cody Glenn to linebacker to fill a gaping hole? Grade: D
Secondary: OMG. What can I say here. What was once a team strength with NFL draft picks Prince Amukamara, Dejon Gomes, and Eric Hagg is now a liability. This isn't a talent issue. This is an execution issue, and frankly, I think Nebraska really misses Marvin Sanders on the coaching staff. I hate to throw Corey Raymond under the bus, but something isn't working here. Is this what Bo Pelini means when he said that he sees "guys not taking the coaching." In any event, failure to cover receivers and handle their responsibilities was the biggest problem in the game. How so? Wisconsin's last punt of the game came when Nebraska led 14-13. While the turnovers didn't help, do you really think that the defense would have stopped Wisconsin if the Huskers had punted? Nope. So that's why I put this loss squarely on the defense - and specifically the secondary. Grade: F
Overall: That "F" on the secondary was so low, that it drops the entire grade for the team to an F.
Elsewhere in College Football
Florida: F Memo to Paul Finebaum. The 'Bama/Florida game wasn't any better than Nebraska/Wiscy...in fact, considering it was played in the Swamp, it was worse.
Wisconsin Sports Weekend: A+ Packers blew out the Denver Donkeys, and the Brewers took a 2-0 lead over the Diamondbacks. What more could you ask for?
Texas A&M First Half: A+ How could I have doubted Mike Sherman? Aggies proving me wrong.
Texas A&M Second Half: F Vindicated.