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The Morning After: Northwestern

What did folks say about the Huskers loss to the Wildcats? We round up the best here.

David McGee

Tom Shatel, Omaha World-Herald:Huskers lack of urgency troubling, and that's just top of the list

Let’s not waste our time talking about bowl scenarios.

Nebraska just lost, 30-28, to a Northwestern team that was beaten 78-10 the previous two games.

Michigan and Iowa ran all over Pat Fitzgerald’s defense, manhandled it.

This just in: When it comes to running the football, Nebraska is not Michigan or Iowa.

I’m starting to think Minnesota isn’t very good.

I was fooled last weekend in Minneapolis. That "new" Nebraska team was a one-week wonder. A lot of things went right, and the Huskers got hot.

Could they sustain that confidence and momentum for a second week? Coach Mike Riley challenged his team during the week to be hungrier.

The Huskers apparently didn’t want seconds.

When you’re hot, you’re hot. When you’re not, what do you fall back on?

Steve Sipple, Lincoln Journal-Star: Huskers must fend off acceptance of mediocrity

Dating to last season, the Huskers have lost eight of their last 12 games, including four at Memorial Stadium. A proud program that used to win with mind-numbing regularity now looks good one week, ordinary the next — a certain sign of mediocrity.

Mediocrity would have been a good goal for Nebraska at times Saturday — especially on offense and special teams. The Huskers' kickoff-return situation has become a bane to the team's existence, and the coverage teams were lackluster against Northwestern. With an assistant coach dedicated to special teams, you expect more.

Meanwhile, Nebraska rushed 38 times for a net of 82 yards, or 2.2 per carry. Pass protection was existent only as a concept much of the time.

Riley will be peppered in coming days with questions regarding why he doesn't substitute on the offensive line. It's difficult for me to call for reinforcements up front when I can't watch practice and therefore can't judge the gap between starters and backups.

That said, what in the name of Ahman Green was going on with the running game? Its inconsistency makes it impossible for the offense, or its coordinator, to find rhythm.

Ben Goren, Inside NU: It wasn't easy, but Northwestern will play in a bowl this Winter

Northwestern was leading a football game 17-12 at halftime when it had 16 yards of passing offense and four rushing yards from Justin Jackson. That’s insane.

But the offense got it together in the second half when the team needed it the most. Clayton Thorson sprung to life. He chalked it up to slowing down and seeing the game more clearly. Whatever the change, he came out more accurate throwing the ball. His numbers will look worse than his performance because of the spreading contagion of drops that has infected the wide receiver corps. Still, his 37-yard TD up the seam to Dan Vitale was awfully pretty.

Of course, there’s always those legs. If your defense forgets about Thorson in the pocket for one second, he can get loose for not just five or 10 yards, but 20 or 40 yards. Having Thorson at quarterback mandates that opposing defenses either play a spy, or at least zone coverage. When Nebraska tried to play straight man, they were burned on the ground.  Fitzgerald said that Thorson’s legs "won us the Stanford game." It isn’t a stretch to say they did the same thing this afternoon in Lincoln.

Brent Wagner, Lincoln Journal-Star: Dropped passes hurt Husker Offense

Brandon Reilly was just one example of the good and bad for the Nebraska wide receivers Saturday.

His 10-yard touchdown reception from Tommy Armstrong late in the first half was Nebraska’s first touchdown of the game.

At the end of game, Reilly had a great 37-yard reception down the sideline on a fourth-and-6 play that set up the Huskers’ final score. Two plays later, Armstrong scored on a 3-yard run to pull the Huskers within two points. The two-point conversion pass failed, and Northwestern won 30-28 to drop the Huskers to 1-3 in Big Ten Conference play.

The bad for Reilly was that he also had a drop on an open route near the end zone in the third quarter. The Huskers, thanks to a sideline-interference penalty on Northwestern, still scored on the drive, but it took seven more plays to do so.

Mitch Sherman, ESPN: Northwestern delivers late Offensive flurry, extends Nebraska's misery

The postseason dream is dying for the Huskers, who needed a victory Saturday to get back to .500 for the first time since Sept. 19. Encouraging signs from a big win at Minnesota were erased as Northwestern handed the Huskers a fifth loss in late-game fashion. The Huskers must now pull an upset over Michigan State or Iowa and win at Purdue and Rutgers to avoid missing a bowl for the third time since 1968.

Lee Barfknecht, Omaha World-Herald: One NU is assured of happy holidays

That NU football team sure knows how to celebrate.

After Saturday’s 30-28 victory at Memorial Stadium, the players pranced to midfield, then turned and sprinted toward the band, which serenaded them with the school song and the chant: "Bowl game! Bowl game! Bowl game!"

Except this NU team wore purple and white, with "Northwestern" written on its chest.

The Wildcats definitely will go to a bowl game, reaching postseason eligibility at 6-2 by beating the NU team dressed in some god-awful disguise of black and silver and red faces.

That’s Nebraska, the NU that likely will stay home for the holidays.

Northwestern knows that feeling.