It was the most dominant performance we've seen by a Nebraska team in quite some time, assuming that Florida Atlantic isn't really a low-level division 1-AA lurking in disguise. Nebraska scored early, often, and easily enough to make it a memorable day. But it's just that: one game. There are eleven more on the schedule, and Nebraska needs to put together similar efforts in all eleven of them In 2007, Nebraska started the season with a similar, dominant fashion only to never approach that same level of performance again that season.
Nobody wants to go there ever again. Never.
So while we enjoy this one, we know it's just game one. So on with the report card:
QB: Tommy Armstrong had a really strong game, though I must admit that I was surprised to see afterwards that his completion percentage was just above 50%. Ran the ball well, managed the game well. Most important: no turnovers. (Though there was a close call.) Ryker Fyfe was solid running the ball in a relief role. Sadly, we didn't see much of Johnny Stanton, considering the extent of this mismatch. Grade: B+
I-Back: Ameer Abdullah looked like a man among boys out there. At times, he looked like he was playing at a completely different level than anybody else out there. Imani Cross only got three carries, but had an average that matched Abdullah's. Terrell Newby was the star of the second half, rushing for 107 yards on the day. Most importantly, he held onto the ball all day. Last season, it seemed like the coaching staff tried over and over to get him into the game, only to have Newby fumble to send him back to the sideline. Grade: A
Receivers: You say you haven't seen the latest from Jordan Westerkamp? Mkay fine.
His other six catches, while not as difficult, were pretty darn good as well. Kenny Bell had two amazing long catches as well. And hello to true freshman De'Mornay Pierson-El, who showed good speed and hands both receiving as well as returning punts. He's a keeper. Grade: A
Offensive Line: Phil Steele cited offensive line inexperience as a reason why he picked Nebraska fourth in the Big Ten west division. My personal take was that was being excessively cautious, as the reserves picked up a lot of playing time last season due to all of the injuries. And then add in Colorado transfer Alex Lewis, and you've got a pretty solid line. And that line played solid all day. Grade: A
Defensive Line: Randy Gregory only played a handful of snaps...and it wasn't a big deal for this game. (Not that we're looking forward to being Gregory-less any time soon.) Hello, Jack Gangwish, who seemed to play fine in his place. Greg McMullen was solid at the other defensive end spot, and tackles Vincent Valentine and Maliek Collins were disruptive as well. Grade: A
Linebackers: Zaire Anderson had a big day, while David Santos was productive as well. Trevor Roach made some noise when he entered the game, nearly intercepting a pass. Grade: A
Secondary: A few misplays early on, but after that, the pass defense was just fine. With the effectiveness of the defensive line, there wasn't much of an opportunity to chime in on run support. Grade: A
Special Teams: Drew Brown and Mauro Bondi were fine place-kicking. Alonzo Moore made a bad decision to bring a kickoff out of the endzone. Kenny Bell looks kind of rough returning punts, but De'Mornay Pierson-El looks like he could be a keeper. Grade: B
Overall: A- Nebraska did everything they needed to, and then some against an outmatched opponent.
Elsewhere in College Football
Iowa: D Hey, it was a win.
Iowa State: F The Cyclones wish they were as lucky as Iowa. Of course, Iowa's grateful that they didn't draw the defending 1-AA national champions.
Wisconsin: D The concept of the forward pass is escaping the Badgers.
Missouri: D Sleep walking against a 1-AA opponent has become a trend around the area.
Colorado: F Buffs might not be good enough for the Mountain West either.