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Report Card: Huskers 24, Minnesota Golden Gophers 28

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Bye bye football...bye bye football game.
Bye bye football...bye bye football game.
David McGee

Frankly, I wasn't sure where to start with this one. Football games are won - and lost - up front, and Nebraska lost the battle for the line of scrimmage to Minnesota. It's not that Minnesota is more talented.

They just played better. A lot better.

There are a lot of big picture discussions that will take place over the next week, but nothing's going to happen until after Friday's game against Iowa. I think it's clear that some sort of changes are in order, but what is a another discussion entirely.  Before you can really look at it, you've got to address where you are at.

And that means examining Nebraska's 28-24 loss to Minnesota.  Tell us what you think of the game in the comments.

QB: A lot of things went wrong for Nebraska in this game, but Tommy Armstrong wasn't one of those things. I wouldn't say he played great, but he didn't make any big mistakes. In fact, he made a handful of plays to keep Nebraska in the game, such as that second quarter quarterback draw on 3rd and 10 that gained 18 yards. And he had to do that with his best receiver sidelined for almost the entire game.  Grade: B

RB: Normally, this is for the I-back, but late in the second quarter, Tim Beck brought a fullback into the game to help with blocking with the ball deep in NU territory...and you know what? It opened up the running game. Seeing the Huskers pounding the ball out of a 22 set with only one receiver in the game was awfully nostalgic.  It's clear that Ameer Abdullah isn't the same back he was in September and October, but he's still a gutty runner if you give him some semblance of a hole. And with some extra blocking in front of him, Imani Cross looked pretty good as well.  Grade: B-

WR: Kenny Bell's long catch was probably NU's highlight of the game. Sadly, his injury on the play ended his day and I worry that we might not see him again until the bowl game, with a short week ahead of him.  Freshman De'Mornay Pierson-El fumbled the ball three times Saturday after making the catch.  Once, it came after he had stretched the ball over the goal line, so nobody really minded.  The second cost Nebraska a chance at at least a field goal and maybe much more just before halftime.  The third ended the game...though since Pierson-El had already stepped out of bounds, if he hadn't fumbled, it wouldn't have counted. We'll be forgiving of the freshman making a mistake, because he's going to be a good one.  Grade: C+

TE: Adding this into the report card this week because the tight ends played a bigger role than they had in this game.  Run blocking, they opened up the game.  But pass blocking?  On that ill-fated 2nd and 1, it was Sam Cotton who whiffed trying to block Thieren Cochran, resulting in that game-changing sack.  I liked the call; it just was horribly executed.  Take a prudent shot deep as the safeties were cheating up to the line.  Unfortunately, the blown block took prudence out of the situation.  Grade: D

OL: No room in the running game, and poor pass protection all day long. On that Kenny Bell catch, Armstrong had to scramble for his life --- and Minnesota only sent four.  Same thing on the Pierson-El touchdown; Armstrong had to scramble (nearly crossing the line of scrimmage completely) to keep the play alive.  Grade: F

DL: I want to give Randy Gregory credit for the blocked field goal, which created an 11 point swing in the game.  I really do.  But I can't get over how Minnesota's line pushed Nebraska four to five yards downfield on every page.  I really can't.  Grade: F

LB: Yes, Zaire Anderson led the team in tackles with 12. But it seemed that when Mitch Leidner would escape from the pocket, the linebackers were almost always somewhere else.  Certainly weren't following the ball as they ate up the fakes.  And when they did get their hands on the ball carrier, they got carried for another 2 or 3 yards.  Grade: F

Secondary: Nate Gerry was man on the spot to run the blocked field goal back for a touchdown. Otherwise, it was a really poor performance as they repeatedly joined the linebackers in being out of position.  Interesting to see Byerson Cockrell take over for Daniel Davie at corner in the second half; Davie's had a rough couple of weeks.  Grade: F

Overall:  F Minnesota is a good team, but Nebraska should have been better.  Much better than they showed on Saturday.

Elsewhere in College Football

Northwestern: A  The manic-depressive Wildcats went manic all over Purdon't.

Purdue Fans: 0  This is pathetic.

Ole Miss: 0  Seriously?  Lost 30-0 to Bert?