For a lack of a better term, that game sucked.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers gave up 38 points and 521 yards to a underachieving Tennessee Volunteers team that won the 2016 Franklin Mortgage Music City Bowl, defeating the Huskers 38-24 in a game that wasn’t even close.
Nebraska struggled on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, missing their starting QB, slot WR and safety in more ways than one.
While Nebraska couldn’t run the ball against a porous run D in Tennessee, Ryker Fyfe did an admirable job in his final game as a Husker, making the start in place of Tommy Armstrong. However, 409 total yards by his opposite in Tennessee QB Josh Dobbs spelled doom for Nebraska.
It was a tie game after one quarter, but a 21-7 burst in the second quarter gave Tennessee the lead. They never let up throughout the evening, winning the game in Nashville, just a short drive from their Knoxville campus.
What three things do we take from this game?
1: The effort was there in spots, but it wasn't enough to fill the void left by Tommy Armstrong, Jordan Westerkamp, and Nathan Gerry
Left tackle Nick Gates looked like a redshirt sophomore against Derek Barnett, the stud defensive end for Tennessee. Granted, Gates didn’t allow the sack that gave Barnett the record for Tennessee (that was Cole Conrad), but the 6 tackles, 2 pass breakups and 4 QB hurries that Barnett tallied was mostly on Gates. Now, don’t take that as a indictment on Gates and his future, because he’ll be good, but he simply didn’t have a good day.
As far as others, Josh Banderas didn’t have a great game, as well as Dedrick Young. Lamar Jackson looked bad at times, but he did tie Josh Kalu with 8 tackles to lead the team.
2. A 2-4 finish to the 2016 season will linger for a while in the brain of everyone in this program
Do y’all remember that Nebraska was 2 plays from being 8-0 in Camp Randall? Probably not, and to be fair, that feels like it happened so long ago, it was before the BYU Hail Mary. This season started out with so much promise, but in the end, everyone is going to have a bad taste in their mouths to start the offseason.
Will it get better on National Signing Day? The spring game? Maybe it just won’t and we’ll have to deal with it till the season starts next season.
3. The depth chart changes as of now, and that’s a good or bad thing depending on your viewpoint
As of this moment, these depth charts completely change:
- Offensive Line
- Tight End
- Wide Receiver
Now, some folks swear that the “Pelini stank” needs to go and Mike Riley needs to have his players into the program. As of now, that’s really what Nebraska has, including what recruits sign on the dotted line come January/February. Guys like Joseph Lewis, Greg Johnson, Foster Sarell..... all those guys can come in and play come September next year. It’s wide open.
It’s also the time the clock really starts ticking loudly on Mike Riley. Because if you think he’s bringing in better players, it’s time for it to start paying dividends on the field. If you don’t think the man in charge knows that, heed this: