“Talent gap” is probably the best way to summarize this game. Nebraska raced out to a 28-3 first quarter lead, and then coasted from there. Arguably, this was a game that shouldn’t have even been played.
It wasn’t about the money; Nebraska could have simply pocketed the Akron ticket sales. It wasn’t really about bowl eligibility, unless something miraculous happens in November. And by proxy, it wasn’t about saving the first Saturday of December for a trip to Indianapolis.
In fact, scheduling Akron to return on December 1 will actually be the better thing to do from a football standpoint. It keeps the season going another eight days, with more practices. It gives banged up players a chance to recover in October, and also lets the coaches spend the weekend on the road, checking out prospects.
But that’s all water under the bridge. You play the cards that are dealt, and there were advantages to this game. Many people had other commitments on the day and couldn’t reschedule them once the game was announced. (I was able to reschedule one Cub Scout leader duty to a pre-dawn hour to allow me to get to the game. Other plans ended up being cancelled.) That, in turn, opened up tickets to a lot of people who don’t normally get to go to the games. Our family’s tickets opened up to some nieces and nephews, who don’t normally get a shot to go. I saw lots of other kids heading to the stadium, many for their first Husker game.
And because it was such a mismatch of talent, it gave the reserves a chance to play. For fifth-year defensive end Matt Jarzynka from St. Paul, Nebraska, it was the opportunity of a lifetime.
It’s been my dream all my life... Dream Accomplished. pic.twitter.com/EsQLerCH6l— Matt Jarzynka (@MJarzynka) October 27, 2018
Senior walk-on Matt Jarzynka stepped away from the Nebraska football team for an internship this summer. After four years in the program, he had a tough decision on whether to stick it out through his final season.— Matt Reynoldson (@Matt_Reynoldson) October 27, 2018
Today made it all worth it. pic.twitter.com/fIx0BO0NrR
For some of the players who hit the field in the fourth quarter, it was the first time to play in their official game jersey. Many had already hit the field during a spring game, but that’s just a glorified practice. (Not even sure it’s even a scrimmage anymore.)
It is what it was. A nearly perfect October day weather-wise for football, and lots of people got a new experience, either as a player or as a fan.
And nobody appears to have gotten hurt.
With that, here’s the report card. Keep in mind that this week, I’m taking the talent gap into consideration, which should be a clue as to what these grades are going to look like. As always, your comments are welcome below.
QB: Adrian Martinez had a rather pedestrian day. Scott Frost and Troy Walters didn’t want him to take a hit, but the offensive line had other plans for that. Still, he threw an ill-advised pass that was intercepted; I can’t imagine Mario Verduzco liked that all that much. UCF transfer Noah Vedral played the entire second half, getting valuable playing time. While he looked OK running the ball, his erratic passing suggests that if something happens to Martinez, Andrew Bunch would still be the first quarterback in the game if the game is on the line. Grade: C-
I-Back: Devine Ozigbo had a big second quarter as the game got out of hand. Walk-on Wyatt Mazour played well late. I’m somewhat surprised that NU didn’t run the ball more, but I suspect that NU was trying not to beat Bethune-Cookman up any more than was necessary. True freshman Miles Jones had a series dedicated to just him; caught a nice pass, but could have cut back for an even longer gain rather than go out of bounds. Grade: B
Receivers: You get the idea that Frost REALLY wants to get Stanley Morgan to the 1,000 yard mark this season; I suspect he’ll be a major target the rest of the season. Beautiful punt return by J.D. Spielman as well; nice to NOT have a special teams blunder in a game. But aside from Bryan Reimers circus catch, the backups were quiet. Could be erratic throws, but it could also be receivers not running the correct routes. Someone’s got to step up for next season, because Stanley’s not going to be coming back next season. Grade: B
Offensive Line: Three of Nebraska’s five penalties were on the offensive line. And there was no excuse for giving up back-to-back sacks at the start of the second quarter. The good sign was getting some backups some snaps. Grade: D+
Defensive Line: Ben Stille should accept that Blackshirt this week; two deflected passes with one becoming an interception. Nice to see Mick Stoltenberg get back on the field for a few snaps; we might want him next weekend. Grade: B
Linebacker: Mohammed Barry put up a full game’s worth of stats (11 tackles, three for a loss) in under two-thirds of a game actually played. Luke Gifford’s 21 yard sack forced BCU to punt on fourth and goal; that’s a play. Grade: B
Secondary: Somebody want to cover or tackle BCU’s Steffon Francois? As the game went on, the pass defense got a bit better, perhaps because of BCU clearing the bench as well. Grade: C-
Overall: C+ You’d like to see a little more consistency as the reserves came in, but for the most part, the objectives were met: lots of players got in the game, nobody got hurt, and most importantly. The Huskers won comfortably.
How would you grade the Huskers for their victory over Bethune-Cookman?
This poll is closed
A - Absolutely dominated them
B - Big win.
C - Some good, some sloppy.
D - Doesn’t really matter, it was a 1-AA opponent.
Elsewhere in College Football
Iowa: D It was a stereotypical Iowa day for the Hawkeyes; here’s the scoring chart for Iowa on the day: two safeties, two field goals, a touchdown pass from the punter to a defensive end, a Pick-Six and two backup defensive backs arrested at a party after the game.
Florida State: F If Nebraska might be the best two win team in the country, Florida State might be the worst four win team in the country.
SEC Referees: 0 If you think #B1Grefs was a thing, #SECrefs should be as well. Just explain this:
The call that made it possible. pic.twitter.com/iyHrfo8RDp— Brandon Kiley (@BKSportsTalk) October 27, 2018
That flag came as time expired at the end of the fourth quarter; Kentucky scored on the untimed down to defeat Missouri. But wait! That’s not all!