Tom Shatel, Omaha World-Herald: Meet the Huskers new best friend, the running game.
The Nebraska running game was unleashed on the Bulldogs, and perhaps the 2016 season. The Huskers went 51 rushes for 292 yards. Five touchdowns. A 5.7-yards-per-carry average.
Nineteen of the Huskers’ first 20 plays were runs.
The second and third drives of the evenings were touchdown drives, fueled by line push and churning legs. Thirteen plays, 80 yards. Four plays, 38 yards.
Riley brought back more than a trophy with a Golden Gate Bridge on it from the Foster Farms Bowl. He brought back the game plan from that night, the one that inspired hope that maybe the former Oregon State coach could adjust to his personnel, could make it work here.
The 14-0 lead sent a buzz through the opening night crowd as Terrell Newby and Devine Ozigbo took turns hammering away at the Bulldogs, and Armstrong looked efficient on the zone read and designed quarterbacks runs.
It wasn’t pure Tom Osborne and Mike Corgan stuff, but man, it was close enough. The Huskers used receivers Alonzo Moore and Jordan Westerkamp on handoffs coming down the jet sweep ramp, and offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf was on a roll.
In fact, Mr. Receiver, Westerkamp, had as many carries as catches. It was that kind of night.
A night of a new team? A new identity?
Steve Sipple, Lincoln Journal-Star: Riley not pleased, which should please Husker fans
Even though the Huskers outscored the Bulldogs 29-0 in the second half, and won the yardage battle 406 to 274, and didn't commit a turnover while forcing two, well, it wasn't enough.
And in the context of what Nebraska is chasing — that is, Big Ten East Division stalwarts Ohio State and Michigan — it absolutely wasn't enough.
"It just doesn't feel real good," Riley said.
Nebraska fans should feel good about hearing him say that.
They should feel good because the Huskers really weren't all that bad, and Riley still was far from satisfied.
Nebraska's offense had 27 giveaways last season, but none in this game.
Nebraska was a decent running team last season — averaging 180.0 yards per game to rank sixth in the Big Ten — but Riley wants the Huskers to be in the top three. They took a step in the right direction with 292 rushing yards on 51 attempts (5.7 per carry).
Riley, though, is mindful that Fresno State's defense, and program in general, has been on the decline in recent years. The Bulldogs last season ranked 116th nationally in rushing defense, allowing an average of 234.7 yards. And that helps explain the fact Tommy Armstrong threw one pass in his team's first 20 plays from scrimmage, and ended up with only 10 attempts (and five completions).
It looked a bit like the Foster Farms Bowl game plan. But the win against UCLA was much more impressive because the level of competition was much higher.
Marek Warszawski, Fresno Bee: Fresno State missteps pile up as Nebraska pulls away
You kinda knew the outcome beforehand, right? You knew Fresno State wasn’t going to march into Memorial Stadium, in front of 90,013 of the nicest football fans on Earth, and knock off Nebraska.
All you wanted was for the Bulldogs to put up a strong fight. Your expectations were reasonable.
And Fresno State did put up a fight, showing more competitiveness and combativity (at least 75 percent of the way) than we’ve seen the past two seasons against Power Five conference opponents.
So then why does Saturday night’s 43-10 loss to the Cornhuskers leave a slightly acidic taste? Because it would’ve been much closer if the Bulldogs didn’t make a litany of little mistakes before suffering a big letdown. Because the halftime score was 14-10. Because in the third quarter they began two drives on Nebraska’s side of the 50-yard line, down by 11, with a chance to pull within a touchdown, and didn’t do squat.
Because the final score wasn’t truly indicative of how close this game felt most of the way.
Matthew Kenerly, Mountain West Connection: Dogs fight early, fade late in 43-10 loss
The Huskers racked up just 408 yards of total offense, but 183 of those came in the fourth quarter with Nebraska running away with the result. Hell, even the swinging gate worked like a charm, and the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty which succeeded says this team has a lot of growing up to do.
Despite the lopsided score, though, there were some encouraging signs. Peck’s return after missing all of 2015 was a clear shot in the arm despite the glaring drops. The secondary showed flashes of making tough plays to break passes up, and Virgil hung tough in an increasingly unfavorable situation.
The hope is that these Bulldogs (0-1) look much more complete at home next Saturday against FCS Sacramento State. Nebraska (1-0) hosts Wyoming in Lincoln next week.
Dirk Chatelain, Omaha World-Herald: Tribute to native son Sam Foltz provides a memory for life
Mike Riley and his staff had considered all sorts of tributes after Foltz’s death on July 23. Kicker Drew Brown and Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst both suggested the 10-man formation.
“I just thought, maybe there’s something there,” Riley said.
He didn’t know the whole team was going to take a knee. Officials flagged the Huskers for delay of game, but Fresno State declined the penalty and freshman Caleb Lightbourn trotted on to the field for his first collegiate punt.
“There’s no way you could prepare for anything like that,” Lightbourn said. “That’s something you remember for the rest of your life. I almost came to tears when I was going out on the field because it was just such a special moment. I was just glad to get the ball off ...
“This whole game was for Sam and this whole season is gonna be for Sam.”
Absolutely unreal. Playing infront of husker nation was everything I dreamed of and more! I tell ya one thing,27 kept me on my feet to score— Zeus (@DarlingtonZack) September 4, 2016
First 12g under Riley: NU rushed between 29-39 times per game.— John Bishop (@JohnBishop71) September 4, 2016
Last 2g: 62 & 51 carries.#Huskers
Unbelievable support from Husker nation tonight, there is no place I'd rather be than here! We truly have the best fans in college football!— Drew Brown (@Drewdbrown34) September 4, 2016
The general tenor coming from the coaches tonight after a 33-pt win is refreshing. Holding the team to a higher standard #huskers— Mark Kraynak (@MarkSkers) September 4, 2016
Bruce Read on blocked punt: "We'd gone against that look 50 times in camp, which makes it brutally frustrating." #huskers— Samuel McKewon (@swmckewonOWH) September 4, 2016
Banker: "They had (31) yards rushing, but I wish they didn't have the 243 yards passing. They didn't deserve to have that.” #huskers— Samuel McKewon (@swmckewonOWH) September 4, 2016