Tom Shatel, Omaha World Herald: Plenty to fix for Mike Riley’s crew, but also much to build on
One play, one crazy final play. It’s the difference between elation and depression. And both are the wrong reactions, to be honest.
If Nebraska bats that pass down, Riley looks like a guy who inspires toughness and people are making big plans. But that doesn’t cover up a lot of the flaws we saw, such as the 12 penalties and the inability to convert on third and short.
And NU’s misplay on the final pass doesn’t change the fact that we saw coaches adjusting, playmaking happening and lots to bank on for later this season.
What we saw on Saturday is what we already knew: This is a project Riley inherited. It will take more playmakers, more beef up front, more tinkering with schemes to find an identity suitable for Lincoln, not Corvallis.
Steve Sipple, Lincoln Journal Star: After loss on Hail Mary, NU deserves some grace
Nebraska football fans are acutely familiar with this stuff by now — the ebbs and flows and moments of soaring joy and searing pain that are inherent in the game they adore.
They've experienced the gamut over the years, especially recent years.
They fully understand that transitions from one coaching staff to the next can be eventful, and painful.
But this was ridiculous.
The Mike Riley era opened Saturday with a loss on ... don't try to tell me you predicted this ... a Hail Mary.
I hope Husker fans are full of grace.
Jay Drew, Salt Lake City Tribune: Cougs beat Nebraska on Hail Mary, but lose Hill for the season
Mitch Mathews was at the bottom of a huge pile, feeling the weight of about 10 teammates and screaming in the ear of fellow receiver Nick Kurtz. Defensive end Bronson Kaufusi was on the sidelines "praying with all my heart," and slot receiver Terenn Houk was hugging a side judge, whose arms stretched to the sky to signal touchdown as the majority of the 89,959 red-clad, fans at Memorial Stadium fell eerily quiet.
Meanwhile, senior Taysom Hill was on the sidelines, his foot in a boot after suffering a Lisfranc fracture that coach Bronco Mendenhall said has ended a promising season for the quarterback for the third time in four years.
Brian Christopherson, Lincoln Journal Star: Brown Disappointed In Kicking Performance
The sophomore kicker was standing there, prepared for the questions he seemed to want to answer, even after a dismal day in Nebraska's 33-28 defeat.
Brown missed two field goals, from 40 and 41 yards, the second attempt coming with 48 seconds remaining, and one that would’ve given Nebraska a four-point lead.
The other miss came at the end of the first half, after a 10-play drive that began with 1:38 remaining at the Nebraska 32-yard line.
"I just didn’t control the things I can control," Brown said. "It was a tough wind out there, an electric atmosphere. I just let it all get to my head. I didn’t do what I needed to do. I didn’t rely on what I’ve had this whole fall camp."
Brown said a strong south wind didn’t help matters, but said he didn’t make clean ball contact, something he needed to do regardless of the wind.
"I just didn’t do that at all today," he said.
Dirk Chatelain, Omaha World Herald: Mike Riley's debut goes from exhilarating to eerie in one second
There was a time when Nebraska losing on a Hail Mary would’ve demoralized the fan base for weeks. Not in year one, game one of the Riley regime.
There’s no easy path back to national relevance. No shortcut back to the Top 10. Success isn’t as simple as swapping coaching staffs. When you’re at Nebraska’s level, you have to grind possession by possession, play by play for 3 hours and 42 minutes in 93-degree heat and hope for a little good fortune, too.
Rebuilding the program for the long haul will require wisdom and talent, sure. But as much as anything, it’ll take stamina.
Riley told #Huskers pregame you're going to learn a lot about yourselves. When stuff hits the fan, will you point finger or come together?— John Gaskins (@937JohnGaskins) September 6, 2015
Not the ending we hoped 4 but WOW what an amazing day in Lincoln! Forever grateful 4 a dream come true! Memorial Stadium is unreal! #Huskers— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) September 5, 2015
What was Nebraska's offense missing today? Big plays. Had three plays over 20 yards, but not one went for over 30. #Huskers— Matthew Svoboda (@MatthewSvoboda) September 6, 2015
Proud of this team. We will get better. GBR.— Jordan Westerkamp (@JordanWesty1) September 6, 2015
OC Danny Langsdorf on 3rd-and-3 jet sweep: "My fault. Bad call." #huskers— Samuel McKewon (@swmckewonOWH) September 6, 2015
"We didn't capitalize when we needed to. We gotta let it go, it's in the past. We on to South Alabama now." -Tommy Armstrong Jr. #Huskers— Richard White (@NTVRichardW) September 6, 2015
Riley: "One thing we have to build on ... is this a competitive fighting football team." #Huskers— Brian Christopherson (@HuskerExtraBC) September 6, 2015
Alonzo Moore in a boot. Trey Foster in a boot. Some of that can just be precautionary, but the #Huskers limp out of Week 1.— Brian Christopherson (@HuskerExtraBC) September 6, 2015
Banker expressed some concern about Jack Gangwish injury. "I think he hurt his arm pretty good." #Huskers— Brian Christopherson (@HuskerExtraBC) September 6, 2015
All we gotta do is be willing to learn and come back to work. -Coach Riley pic.twitter.com/HCfcN3ZQmp— Nebraska Football (@HuskerFBNation) September 5, 2015