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Report Card: Northwestern Wildcats 31, Huskers 24

NW pulls away at the end, leaving Husker fans sad once again.

Northwestern v Nebraska
This season is slip, slidin’ away....
Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

Each week, I lead off the report card with my observations of what happened in the game. But frankly, my heart really isn’t in it...and to be honest, I don’t think you want to read it either.

I’m tired of all of this. I’m pretty sure you’re tired of it as well. I conducted a Twitter poll last night, and the results seem pretty overwhelming. And the entire CornNation staff is tired of it as well.

You may have heard about the #CNSlack, and wondered what it’s all about. Slack is a group-chat system for workgroups that SBNation has provided to CornNation for the staff to collaborate about things we’re working on. Saturday night, the staff vented about where we are, and I figured that it was worth sharing. So here it is:

T: I've turned the corner to the point that I'm ready to fire Riley tonight.

Me: I submitted a Twitter poll tonight. 70% say Riley is over. 26% say he stays only if he wins out.

J: well he’s done

S: That fourth quarter was an indictment

Me: After today's game, you can't let Diaco or Langsdorf run this asylum.

J: he was done after the NIU loss and Eichorst firing

S: Like, I get going to the fourth against Northwestern, but the coaching in the fourth was straight up stupid

Me: Well, yes. The impending need to fire Riley led to Eichorst's dismissal

J: remember at the start of the season where I argued PUBLICLY that Diaco shouldn’t have to talk to the media.

there was a reason for that.

T: Do you think Florida has already gotten an agreement with Frost?

J: did no one look at what he did at UCONN

Me: Florida -> Frost? NO.

S: We all did and ignored it because he our buddy now

Frost won't go to Florida unless he can't come to terms with Nebraska

Me: Absolutely no way Frost spends any time worrying about Florida.

S: Straight up

T: I just don't know why he'd want this dumpster fire. I still can't see him ending up here.

S: Now, if Nebraska goes a different direction (Patterson?), Frost is done with Nebraska and goes to Florida

M: Frost is going to a dumpster fire if he leaves UCF

Florida is even worse than NU. Butch Jones is buring redshirts on his way out of Knoxville.

S: Because Mom and Dad live here, and despite our cynicism, coaches are romantic egotistical crazy people who believe they can fix anything they want, and every coach wants to rescue their Alma mater

Frost wants money for assistants, good bones, and fan supporr

Nebraska will offer that, in spades

The only coach since Spurrier to last 4 seasons at Florida was Meyer.

T: Good Bones is that show on HGTV with the hot ginger.

S: See it all comes together

Me: Moos is going to autopsy the Riley hire. I'm sure one thing he's going to dig into is why Riley was allowed to rescue Banker, Langsdorf, Reed and Cavanaugh.

N: Saw tonight that Barrett Rudd coaches at UCF

J: that Butch Jones thing with the redshirt is just shitty

Me: Ruud is an intern

J: maybe Riley fucked up by hiring Diaco most and Moos can’t autopsy that too much - most coaches have to bring a staff they worked with

most CEOs do that

even if they know they’re fucked up humans they know they can work with them and trust what they do

i’m a f***ing consultant

i’ve seen more corporate turnover than you f*****s will in all your collective lives.

take that f*****s



S: I think Moos won't waste time on Riley's staff, but on what he took over

N: I think the offensive staff is the reason he gets fired

S: Are the results justified and are they indicative of strong vision

Me: No, I think Diaco is an upgrade over Banker.

I said this in January and will say it again... the coordinator he most needed to replace was Langsdorf.

S: The answer is no. So the next coach will actually know what they're stepping into rather than trying to bumble along to outlast the roster's discontent or whatever Riley was doing in 2015

J: Diaco is going get horribly roasted

S: Quite frankly the whole staff should be roasted.

Me: Trent Bray and Keith Williams are the only quality assistants on this staff.

Donte Williams should be a recruiting coordinator only with no coaching responsibilities.

H: Riley fixed when he was asked to fix. What he was hired to do, he did. One of the problems with his tenure is that he didn't grasp the problems that existed outside of his mandate from Eichorst. Of course, the "win games" part of the job was understood, but he inherited a 9 win roster and a 10-win schedule (at least in year 1).

J: what about John Parella

Me: Parella is kind of OK; he was an upgrade over Hank.

R: Riley should’ve never fired Banker

The hire of Diaco was foisted upon him

H: Parella is a big upgrade over Hank

R: By Billy Devaney

Billy Devaney can go f*** himself

He’s a bullshit hatchet man who is not in tune with the collective of this program

GM’s are the NFL

Personnel directors who are paper pushers and full of shit don’t work in college

Me: The Banker/Riley relationship crashed after 2015. Too many weird things happened there... starting with the departure of Greg McMullen.

H: Riley really had no idea what he was getting himself into, did he? He took Eichorst at face value and that appears to be his biggest mistake.

R: Greg McMullen was a bitch who didn’t want to play football anymore

Me: But Banker was the last person in the program to know he quit.

I'm not disagreeing about McMullen's capabilities. Just saying that Banker was completely in the dark about it.

J: yeah billy Devaney has to go with the rest

Me: Well, there's probably going to be a massive purge in One Memorial next month.

R: 0h yeah.

J: massive

R: Purge is a comin’ on November 25th

J: dude

R: And I don’t give a f***

Burn. It. Down.

N: Agree with Jill on Parella

R: Bo Pelini needed to be fired. No f***g doubt about it. Eichorst deeked it on the hire of Mike Riley

Me: Kenny Wilhite and some of the video guys might survive.

J: i don’t disagree with R burn it all down


H: Moos is not even being coy. He has largely signaled such.

Me: I get why Pelini was let go.

But Riley was just a huge mistake. He and his staff are a huge step backwards.

R: 2015 was hard luck and typical transition year

2016- we punched above our weight for 8 games

2017-epic cluster fuck that reminds me of the time I wasted too much time on one girl who f’d my life over

Langsdorf’s offense- beautiful in 2015; constrained by personnel in 2016; epic goddamn clusterf**k in 2017. WITH AN NFL F******G QB.

H: To this day I wonder if firing Solich was a mistake. It may have been the right move, but he really had not failed. Pelini however, was going to cut off Nebraska's nose to spite it's face. No mistake there.

R: Solich needed to go

But we’ve biffed it on every hire thereafter

I’ve been drinking tonight and rather introspective. But damnit, show the testicular fortitude that our ancestors showed in settling such an unforgiving place.

H: Probably, but he had made changes that indicated he was willing to grow and change.

R: I’m tired of it all. Walk tall. BE NEBRASKA.

H: We often forget that part of 'being Nebraska' was giving Osborne enough time to iterate and learn and grow. Osborne does not become a legendary coach if he is in Scott Frost's position today. TO deserved the time. Solich probably did not deserve much more and Pelini should have been shown the door earlier

Me: The problem with firing Solich and Pelini is that Pedey and Shawn had no clue how to move from "good but not good enough" to "great"

Here's a question for you R: Would Langs offense be any better with Keyshawn Jr, McQuitty and Keyan Williams?

R: no, it wouldn’t. And you know I’ve been a Langsdorf Guy, but the only thing that cures this offense is a nasty, physical, dominant offensive line

Me: Big ugly offensive lines solve a lot of problems

Make QBs better. Make running backs better.

R: Damn right. A nasty OL is like bringing a shotgun to a knife fight.

We need a dynamic tailback though

I took for granted the transcendent ability of Ameer fucking Abdullah. He was like make up on an ugly girl.

Me: I'm not sure we don't have that guy. Bradley or Wilbon look shifty enough to make some plays if they could just escape the LOS

R: Agreed. We need ballers.

Me: I'd love to see Wilbon in Beck's offense

R: I agree with H about giving time

H: Ameer was running behind NFL linemen that we did not entirely appreciate (outside of S Long)

R: Whoever is next, whether it’s my guy Gary Fucking Patterson or Scott Frost, Chris Klieman, or Craig plz no Bohl, they need time.

We need a foundation


H: We need a Bobfather. Not a TO

Me: Mike Cavanaugh makes Barney look like a genius



R: I’d take Barnstache over Cav the Marlboro Man

Me: What Cav did to Nick Gates over the last 3 years should be criminal.

R: Damn right. That regression is CRIMINAL

Mike Riley is a good dude

But you gotta be a Machiavellian son of a bitch in coaching college football

We need a George S. Patton

Not a blow out, ineptitude asshole like Bo, but a commanding son of a gun

H: You mean...a Bob Devaney???

J: hahaha


J: god i wish we could have bob devaney, but he can’t exist anymore


We’re all tired of being beat.

With that, we’re off to this week’s report card. As always, your comments are welcome below.

QB: Tanner Lee played better in October than in September, but for those of you who were starting to slip back into “NFL quarterback” mode, just stop. He’s not that guy. He’s not going to be that guy. At best, he’s a game manager; don’t ask him to carry the team. Unfortunately, that’s what Mike Riley and his scheme needs in a quarterback. For those of you who keep wanting to absolve Lee of his interceptions, Northwestern dropped a interception on the Huskers final drive of the fourth quarter that would have been an easy Pick-6. That would have avoided overtime. Grade: C-

I-Back: I’m still struggling to understand how Nebraska chooses to use their backs...and frankly, I don’t think it’s worth the effort to. Like asking Devine Ozigbo to run wide...or giving the receivers five carries compared to just one for Mikale Wilbon. Ozigbo cranked out the yards he could behind this awful offensive line, and I think the coaching staff found it’s “identity” run, running behind Luke McNitt and a tight end off tackle. They ran it a lot on Saturday, but it won’t be an identity much longer. (And for good’s kind of an ugly play IMHO.) Grade: C

Wide Receiver: How about that one-handed catch by Stanley Morgan? It wasn’t the greatest throw, but it was a pretty catch. J.D. Spielman continues to impress, as he finally broke one of those jet sweeps for an impressive gain. (I’d argue that Tyjon Lindsey’s six yard loss on another sweep is going to be my long-standing Mike Riley identity run.) His decision to return the kickoff out of the end zone after Northwestern tied the game was a freshman mistake. Grade: B-

Offensive Line: The freshman right side of the line never got off the struggle bus; it’s only fitting that right tackle Brendan Jaimes never got a hand on Northwestern’s Samdup Miller in overtime. That sack essentially nailed down the Wildcats victory. Grade: F

Defensive Line: Other than Mick Stoltenberg, I’m not sure the line played well at all. I noticed that Ben Stille moved down on the line frequently to give a four man look. Grade: C-

Linebackers: After a really rough start, the linebacking corps settled down and actually didn’t play too badly in the second half. Marcus Newby had the best game of his career, capped by his interception. Grade: C

Secondary: Jason Peter took a lot of heat for his comments regarding cornerbacks coach Donte Williams this week. While some of his comments were out of line, the fundamental basis of poor play by the secondary were not. Maybe some of the issues go back to struggles adapting to Bob Diaco’s new 3-4 defense, but the evidence is starting to show that William’s positive impact on the program may be exclusively recruiting related. (Other than a holding penalty, Chris Jones didn’t even make the stat sheet this week for his play.) Grade: D

Overall: D+ Nebraska appeared to be poised to seal a victory in this game before collapsing on both sides of the ball at the end. The end result is that a winning season appears to be nearly impossible to accomplish, and bowl game not likely. That simply is not acceptable at Nebraska.


What’s your grade for the Huskers performance against Northwestern?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    B - Missed it by "that much"
    (16 votes)
  • 5%
    C - Coulda won.
    (75 votes)
  • 38%
    D - Didn’t do what they needed to do to seal the victory.
    (502 votes)
  • 54%
    F - Another f’ing loss
    (723 votes)
1316 votes total Vote Now

HuskerVision: F Technical snafus hit early and often Saturday afternoon, beginning with a silent Tunnel Walk. Then, the east stadium ribbon board malfunctioned, with the entire screen scrambled like a Rubiks’ Cube.

So then they rebooted the boards, sending them dark until halftime. But then late in the second quarter, one of the new screens in the north stadium joined the fun by freezing.

Elsewhere in College Football

Iowa A+ I didn’t think the Hawkeyes stood much of a chance against Ohio State...let alone be able to RUTS on them.

Central Florida: B- Scott Frost remains undefeated, while he awaits the birth of his first child.

TCU: A Gary Patterson remains the best head coach in the state of Texas

Utah: A- Kyle Whittingham breaks a four game losing streak.