It wasn't pretty folks, but maybe some music will help save the day as we look back in the day that was for the Huskers as the fell to the Golden Gophers of Minnesota in what my be the turning point of the program under Bo Pelini.
First Quarter: Huskers 10, Gophers 7 - "My Boyfriend's Back" - The Angels
Everything was looking good in Husker Nation as the Coach's favorite Taylor Martinez was back calling the shots and they started off with a bang as Martinez completed a 42 yard bomb to Kenny Bell, among 2 other passes and Imani Cross punched it in to put the Minnesota team behind just like that. Then, Minnesota did a 3 and out and boy, was it cooking. Martinez hit Jamal Turner for 14, the Huskers started running out some yards and then suddenly we hit a bit of a bump as we quickly went back to the air attack only to be sacked but luckily Mike Moudy collected the Martinez fumble. Kick is up and good and it is 10-0. That was where the fun would start to end as Minnesota was answer with a 13 play, 75 yard drive to end out the quarter essentially.
2nd Quarter: Huskers 13, Gophers 17 - "Bad Moon Rising" - CCR
I don't know about you but after this first drive, coupled with the previous Minnesota drive, you could see bad things on the horizon already. It was going to be one of those "Bo" games that you were just hoping, praying, some break would go our way. The Huskers, with our defense reeling from a long brutal drive, started the drive off with a first down on two straight Ameer Abdullah runs and then promptly went to the air three times, missing on two and punting. Fortunately, the Huskers got the ball back with a defensive stop. Still, they started with a run and then even with the benefit of a personal foul penalty on Minnesota which managed to move the team to the 50, they responded with 2 straight passes and then a QB scramble. Punt again. This time, Minnesota made us pay by starting to really hit the TE and running game. Abdullah promptly fumbles after a great run and Minnesota answers with a FG. Now, down 17-10, we come out running and pick up 21 yards on 3 carries before we go back to the pass for the rest of the half. We end up kicking a 42 yard FG to close out the half.
Huskers 13, Gophers 17
3rd Quarter - Huskers 20, Gophers 27 - "People are Strange" - The Doors
Offense is struggling against one of the worst defenses we will see all year so surely we will make a change right? We have to adjust to the motion their offense is putting on our defense pre-snap right? We will surely bring a safety up to help on the TE coming across the middle right? QB isn't 100% so we can't run the option game, something that has caused issues with Minnesota before so try out Armstrong for series right? Surely we will run the ball where we have had success and try to keep our reeling defense off the field right?
Well, people our strange, especially our coaching staff because all the previously mentioned things were either not discussed, or, well, would make the coaches look bad if they did them so... It's just Minnesota and we are Nebraska. Let's just let the jerseys make the plays and win this game. We get a 3 & out and you are thinking run this ball down their throat and we will be feeling fine with the lead. We run, then two incomplete passes and then punt. This time, they score on short field. Down 24-13. We get the ball back. Give our defense some time to regroup. Let's get a drive going. Two incomplete passes then on 3 & 10, we throw a 3 yard out. Punt. This time, defense bends but holds for a FG. 27-13. Huskers answer on a drive that included a QB run for the first time of the day and a drive that went 8 plays and just 2 passes.
Huskers 20, Gophers 27.
4th Quarter - Huskers 23, Gophers 34 - "Lonely Day" - System of a Down
Okay, it's not the most lonely of our lives. We will always have 2001 versus Colorado. Or the Callahan days. Or whatever. The Huskers defense get a blessing form above as Minnesota decides to pass themselves and drop the ball and we get the ball back with the chance to tie. After thrashing them on the ground, Beck opens up with another run, this time 22 yards for Abdullah and the Huskers are at the 35. He then dials up 3 straight passes but hey, we hit with Enunwa for 32 so it works. Then a run for 22 with Ameer. Then we run with Cross. Of course, then back to the passing before settling for what would be the critical FG. Still, the much maligned defense holds yet again and gives us one more chance, down 27-23, with the ball and 5:50 to play. Ah, but after a 1st down run, we go to the air twice more, this time resulting in a sack and wound up punting*.
*At this point, we should have been thinking this was our win it or lose it drive. Punt should not have been an option. 2nd should have been treated like 1st down, 3rd like 2nd and so on.
You know the rest of the story. Shanked punt, TD Minnesota. Storming of the field. At least through all of this, we still have the effect of being a big win for other schools. So there is that.
POST GAME SONG - "Walk" - Pantera
Anger. Upset. Frustration. However, no shock and that is the sad part. No longer am I shocked by these performances. I've been as big a Bo Pelini supporter there is, and I still think he can be a great coach if he would get out of his own way. But it won't be at Nebraska. Maybe things will get better when he gets a real QB, I don't know but at this point, I really don't want to wait to find out what he will be. My thoughts on him afterwards. Walk. Win out or Walk. Heck, even if you win out, maybe still walk, but on your own accord, like you've been trying to do anyway. Heck, Walk home from Minnesota for all I care!
What Others Said:
"Nebraska's bell-cow receiving tandem repeatedly put catch-able balls on the turf." -- Derek Johnson, HuskerMax.
Yeah, I get this is the cool narrative going on out there. Fine. Yes, they dropped balls. Still, we shouldn't have been throwing it so much. Our WRs our good BECAUSE of our run game. Besides, too many bad things can happen when you pass all the time and you saw that in effect on Saturday.
"The national sports media has come to expect this from Nebraska" Tad Stryker, HuskerMax.
Couldn't agree more. Every year we have an unexplained game and this year it was Minnesota. Now Bo will hunker down and preach to his team us against the world, us against our own fan base, etc. This is what he is best at and it wouldn't stun me at all if we go out on a run. But I'd rather have a coach that unites a fan base than constantly trying to cause friction within it.
"Something about the offense was just missing. There was no tempo or rhythm." -- Sean Callahan, HuskerOnline.
Are writers or people scared to say it? We had a QB that wasn't healthy. What was missing? How about AT LEAST a 3rd if not more of our offense when you remove every option/zone read play from the playbook. Our QB was essentially a pocket passer QB without the prototypical size, arm strength or accuracy of a prototypical pocket passing QB in an offense built for a mobile QB. Pretty tough to figure out what was missing.
"If you're a Nebraska fan, you're right to expect more from Bo Pelini's program." -- Steve Sipple, Lincoln Journal Star.
Agreed. Hey, I'm being blasted by my friends down here in Mizzou land because when we hired him, I was his #1 fan. I've finally left that ship. My friends won't let me hear the end of it either.
"The gist [of the book on Nebraska} is this: Make the Huskers uncomfortable." -- Brandon Vogel, Hail Varsity
Sadly, that isn't very difficult to do. Pre-snap motion on offense. Wait for our well paid OC to get fancy on offense.
"Other than being unable to block, catch and tackle, Nebraska had a decent game against Minnesota." -- Husker Mike's Blasphemy.
Agreed 100% other than his QB assessment. Our offense doesn't work if our QB can't or won't run.
"To say that the Cornhuskers are at a crossroads would be a massive understatement. The loss... was the nadir of the program under Pelini." -- Tom Dienhart, BTN
Still can't figure out what I think of Dienhart but he's spot on here.
"Shawn Eichorst had better be ready for big decisions." -- Dirk Chateleain, Omaha World-Herald.
"What Minnesota did to the Huskers was Big Ten football at its best." -- Bob Hamar, Grand Island Independent.
Not sure what this means but it wasn't fun, whatever it it was.
"The sound you heard is the clock starting on Pelini's time in Lincoln." -- Tom Shatel, Omaha World-Herald.
What will Eichorst do. To be a fly on the wall in his office. I agree. I've seen enough of Pelini's game.
"These were the new Gophers, the ones that said, 'Let's draw up some wild stuff and actually use it.'" -- Patrick Ruesse, Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Yeah, that was some wild stuff. Motion a guy, power through the hole and drag TE across the field. Wild.