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Nebraska Loses 21-17 To Northern Illinois

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It was a terrible loss. Where does Nebraska go from here?

Northern Illinois v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee was 25-for-49 for 299 yards with three interceptions, two of which turned into the first 14 points for Northern Illinois as the Huskies lead 14-0 at the half.

Nebraska’s offense had a good thing going on their first drive, as they easily drove down the field against the Huskies’ defense, with seven plays going 65 yards. Then Tanner Lee took forever to throw an out pass which was read by NIU’s Shawun Lurry, who easily took it 87 yards for a Husky touchdown.

The Nebraska offense scored 17 unanswered points in the second half, and the Huskers looked like they might pull the game out as the defense was playing well throughout the game. Unfortunately, Northern Illinois hit a big pass play on their next possession, and Jordan Huff scored from the two a couple players later to give the Huskies the lead and the win.

Nebraska’s offense was anemic and inconsistent throughout the game. The offensive line had difficulty blocking in the run game and in protecting the quarterback Lee in the passing game. Nebraska had 36 rushing attempts for 85 yards, resulting in a 2.4 yards per carry average. Lee lost 18 yards, mostly by being sacked three times. Mikale Wilbon played hard enough that it was indicative of his wish to be a starter,

The defense played a pretty decent game, not giving up any points until the fourth quarter. Unfortunately it was in the fourth quarter after Nebraska had taken a 17 - 14 lead that they needed to not give up any points. They held Northern Illinois to 253 total yards, which is usually a good outing.

I’m not sure what is expected here.

We are going to spend this week doing nothing but scream about firing the athletic director and the coaching staff. That’s not going to happen, at least not right now. Right now Nebraska needs to keep its recruiting intact, and they need to figure out how they are going to win as many games as possible the season.

We will have fans who will recommend that nobody goes to the games so that empty seats show our displeasure. We will have fans who get angry about the booing that accompanied the team as they left at half and again at the end of the game. And we will have fans who argue against both of these points. Other teams will enjoy the holy hell out of making fun of our fickle, entitled fan base. It’s not like this is a good loss, but it’s a loss and you get a move on from it and try to make things better.

Tearing the program and each other apart is not a way of making things better.

I’m sure everyone will have solutions as to what next coach should be hired and who will be the best fit for the program.

We still have a whole season in front of us. In fact, we can still win the Big Ten West. Nebraska has talent on its football team, talent that shouldn’t lose to Northern Illinois even though Northern Illinois has won a fair amount of games against Big Ten teams. It should have enough talent on the offensive line unit that they can handle a defensive line that they outweigh fine average 40 pounds.

Do I believe we can win the Big Ten West?

I didn’t believe at the beginning of the season that we would win the Big Ten West, mostly because there are too many question marks on this team, and they would’ve all had to come together in order for us to beat out a Wisconsin team with an incredibly soft schedule.

The problem I have with calling for screaming about the coaching staff needing to be fired is that it places little accountability on the Huskers players and it can possibly screw up recruiting for the rest the year. Nebraska’s players need to step up and take for their play on the field. If they want to get to a bowl game this season, they’re going to have to earn it.

Still, this is the type of loss, that along with giving up 42 points to Oregon in the first half of last week’s game, can lead to the ruin of a coaching staff. There is absolutely no room for anymore error on behalf of the season. I don’t believe Nebraska has to win out for Mike Riley to keep his job and continue to coach at Nebraska next season, but there better be no bad losses nor blowouts for the rest of this year.

No excuses, just get it done.