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Nebraska Football: Five Reasons The Huskers Will Beat Northern Illinois

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WE GONNA WIN THIS GAME, AND HERE’S HOW. READY?!?

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Oregon Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

I got what I deserved.

Last week I compared Tanner Lee to a kitchen appliance. And then said he was the first consistent and dependable quarterback Nebraska has had in almost a decade.

So of course, the following is the stat line for his game against Oregon.

Tanner Lee: 19/41 (46%), 252 yards, 3 touchdowns, 4 interceptions. Quarterback Rating: 12.2.

Not good, and everybody including Lee knows it. He missed so many throws. It was frustrating to watch.

It is not as easy to be on “Team Tanner Lee” as it was a week ago. With that said, I will still proudly renew my membership this week and I expect our membership numbers to increase over the next weeks leading up to Wisconsin.


Think back to halftime of the Oregon game last week.

42-14. How did you feel?

Then compare how you felt then to how you felt after the game.

42-35.

I could be alone, but in the span of two quarters I went from confidence in the offense, to no confidence. While at the same time going from no confidence in the defense at halftime to thinking that it there is a lot of promise in that unit.

I don’t think I’m alone.

Football is a funny thing.

Alright, on to the five reasons Nebraska will beat the Northern Illinois Huskies.

MIKE RILEY WAS “DISAPPOINTED” AFTER WATCHING FILM OF THE OREGON GAME

Remember Mike Riley is the guy who is known as the “nicest coach in football.” He was quite upset at the Monday press conference.

Nebraska was down 42-14 at half and fought back (holding Oregon scoreless in the second half) to lose by 7.

Coach Riley is not the type of coach who will yell and scream. But he can make his point when it is needed.

Mike Riley’s initial thought after watching the game film was “disappointing.” That stings and it should.

“Disappointing” is a strong word, and I don’t believe he uses it lightly. It is my opinion not only was that a message sent to the players, but also more importantly a message sent to the rest of the coaching staff. Things need to be cleaned up.

The statement made by Coach Riley in the first two minutes of his Monday Press Conference (below, from Husker Online) is enough to put both players and coaches on alert. Close is not good enough.

Riley is not usually this blunt with his criticism. I expect both the coaches and the players to respond against Northern Illinois this week.

THIRD TIME IS A CHARM: DEFENSE HAS SEEN THIS BEFORE

Is your glass half full? Or is your glass half empty? Well in this weekly column, the glass is not half full, it is completely full.

Northern Illinois will run almost the same offense the Nebraska defense saw in both week one and week two against Arkansas State and Oregon.

Bubble Screens. Slants. Fly Sweep. Quarterback run.

It is true that I, like many of you, was sitting on a couch enjoying delicious jalapeno poppers when one of the first things said during the halftime show on television was, “Nebraska’s defense has given up a combined 78 points and 906 total yards in the past six quarters.”

Brutal.

But we saw what happened in the second half as we held Oregon to zero points and 157 yards. Something changed. It could have been Oregon taking their foot off the gas (has Oregon ever done that?). Or it could have been adjustments by the defense. Maybe a combination of both.

What is true however is the Nebraska defenders while trying to improve in this new scheme will see the same offense again. They are going to be ready because they have already seen this before.

They should be able to play faster as their confidence grows in this system.

NORTHERN ILLINOIS IS MISTAKE-PRONE AND CAN BE SLOPPY

In order for Northern Illinois to win the game, Nebraska is going to have to give up the ball several times and the Huskies will have to play mistake-free football.

Unfortunately for the Huskies, they have 23 penalties for 264 yards over the past two games.

Also against Eastern Illinois they had two field goals blocked and missed a 39 yard attempt against Boston College. Special teams is the most underrated unit on a football team.

Nebraska is going to have a talent advantage throughout each position and especially when it comes to depth throughout the roster. If Northern Illinois were to win the game they would have to be mistake free football and based off of the past two games that likely will not be the case.

OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A STATEMENT: NORTHERN ILLINOIS IS GOOD

The players and coaches should be “sick” after watching game film. They should be motivated to prove to themselves and the coaches that they are better than what they have shown the past two weeks.

What could be a better opportunity to make a statement than a good team coming into Memorial Stadium on a Saturday in September?

Whether it was intentional, the 2017 schedule does not have a cupcake on it. This is different than in the past. The entire Nebraska non-conference schedule is comprised of good teams. I hope we take this opportunity to put it to Northern Illinois as we get ready for the conference season. I believe our team is setting up to potentially be very successful against the Big Ten this season.

NORTHERN ILLINOIS DID NOT EXPECTED THE QUARTERBACK POSITION TO BE SO JOLLY

Ryan Graham won the starting quarterback job for Northern Illinois after fall camp. Graham brought great athleticism to the position for the Huskies. In their season opening loss against Boston College, he threw for 190 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 99 rushing yards. He was an explosive athlete at the quarterback position.

However, with two minutes left against Boston College he sprained his right elbow and will be out 2-4 weeks.

Insert Daniel Santacaterina, the back-up quarterback, with a very intimidating nickname.

Santa.

Kansas City Royals v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Before dismissing this “Santa,” it should be noted that he completed 23 of 34 passes for 252 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. However, that was against Eastern Illinois.

While Santa did put up good numbers against Eastern Illinois, it is my opinion that the Nebraska defense won’t be scared. They won’t be...

Claustrophobic.

I’ll see myself out...

www.twitter.com/nmchugh85

Poll

Will Nebraska cover the spread against Northern Illinois? (-14)

This poll is closed

  • 70%
    Yes, they will win and cover the spread
    (477 votes)
  • 20%
    No, they will win but not cover the spread
    (137 votes)
  • 9%
    No, they will lose
    (64 votes)
678 votes total Vote Now