This wasn’t how things were supposed to go.
Sure, we expected some bumps in the road, but we expected Scott Frost was at least going to be able to keep the Huskers out of the ditch. Turns out that was wishful thinking on our parts.
This week, on what we thought was going to be a fairly safe test drive, the transmission blew. And instead of heading to the Big House at 3-0 with dreams of pulling of the Devaney-esque upset, the Huskers find themselves at 0-2. A six game losing streak is the longest for the Huskers since 1957.
A few people are going to panic. A bunch of people from outside of Husker Nation are going to guffaw.
A few idiots are even ready to pull the plug on Scott Frost. Here’s their logic: last season’s loss to Northern Illinois was the beginning of the end for Mike Riley. A loss to Troy should be the beginning of the end for Frost. Or at least that’s their story.
Of course, Frost wasn’t starting an NFL prospect at quarterback like last year. Thanks to transfers and injuries, Nebraska had to turn to a walk-on who, frankly, played like a walk-on. It’s game two for the Frost era, not year three. Frost is having to play a lot of the cards that Riley left him from a 4-8 team.
Frankly, it looks like this is an even bigger rebuilding project than we originally thought. It’s sobering, to be sure, but this isn’t going to be fixed as soon as we like. Frost hasn’t proven that he’s “the guy” yet.
But it’s silly to try to argue that he’s not “the guy” either.
With that, here’s this week’s report card. As always, your feedback welcome in the comments!
QB: As much as Husker fans wanted the walk-on story to work out, it just wasn’t meant to be. Andrew Bunch was relatively efficient when asked to throw short screen passes, but wasn’t able to do much more. While he didn’t lose any of his three fumbles, his two interceptions were a key factor in this game. Grade: D
I-Backs: Freshman Maurice Washington had the best game of the backs, with three 20+ yard runs on the day. Perhaps more impressive was his recovery of a Bunch fumble that he turned into a two yard gain. Washington is a feast-or-famine back, though; three of his 14 carries were for losses. He needs a LOT of help to get into the open, and he didn’t have any at times. Greg Bell was OK, with 64 yards on the ground, and Devine Ozigbo had a relatively quiet day with 25 yards. Grade: C+
Receivers: JD Spielman and Stanley Morgan had OK days, but after that, it was concerning. Jack Stoll fumbled away his only catch and also missed some key blocks. Mike Williams’ holding penalty wiped a game-tying touchdown off the board as well. And more than once, Washington was hung out to dry by poor perimeter blocking. Grade: D+
Offensive Line: Last week, some commenters felt the offensive line grade was a little inflated after the rushing game slowed in the second half. This week, the ground game really struggled, and the interior line bears a lot of responsibility. So many missed blocks. So little push. Against Troy. Grade: F
Defensive Line: I continue to be impressed by what I see up front from the NU defensive line. Carlos Davis and Freedom Akinmoladun each had a sack, and Ben Stille had a quarterback hurry. Grade: B
Linebackers: Mohammed Barry’s day ended prematurely with a targeting penalty. While it wasn’t malicious, it was technically correct and frankly an unnecessary play anyway; Troy’s Sawyer Smith was already on the ground when Barry hit him. Wil Honas came on in relief and ended up being Nebraska’s leading tackler on the day. The Blackshirts played well enough to win this game, though there were plenty of things that can be done better. Grade: B+
Secondary: Much better play this week, including Nebraska’s first interception by a cornerback since 2016 by Lamar Jackson. Tre Neal was Nebraska’s second leading tackler with seven, while Aaron Williams and Antonio Reed had five each. I’ve watched that pass interference call on Aaron Williams multiple times, and every time, it looks like a blown call by the refs. But man, you can’t keep giving up third-and-nine conversions in the fourth quarter. Grade: B-
Special Teams: Not sure this is Bruce Read bad, but it’s close. Three penalties, a missed field goal attempt and allowing a punt return touchdown. In live action, I initally thought that Troy’s Cedarius Rookard actually signaled for a fair catch when he tried to shield his eyes in the sun. I think that’s a call that could have been made, but I don’t think Nebraska slowed up their pursuit because of it. It was just a comedy of missed tackles and angles. Grade: F
Overall: F They always say it’s darkest before the dawn. Saturday was pretty dark. Could it get even darker in the Big House next weekend?
How would you grade the Huskers for their loss to Troy?
This poll is closed
A -- HAHAHAHA. I can’t stop laughing.
B — Brrrrrrrap. If that fart noise means what I think it does, you’re going to need clean underwear.
C — Defense OK. Offense not so much, but with an excuse. Let’s move on.
D — Defense was the one positive on a really bad day.
F — Another ‘effin loss.
Elsewhere in College Football
B1G: F It wasn’t just Nebraska soiling themselves on the football field. Maryland got blown out by Temple. Northwestern gave up three second-half defensive touchdowns in losing to Akron. (Maybe Akron wasn’t going to be an auto-win punching bag for game one after all.)
Rutgers: ZERO Rutgers, though, needs special mention. RUTGERS! Yeah, we know that Rutgers isn’t very good, but my goodness. How the hell do you allow KANSAS to hang 55 on you? Especially when Kansas is doing things like this:
Ce Kansas vs Rutgers, entre les deux plus mauvaises équipes de la FBS, a tout du match #WTF !!! Après un TD des Jayhawks, les Scarlet Knights reviennent au score sur un FG bloqué et retourné sur 71 yards pour un TD !— TBP College Football (@thebluepennant) September 15, 2018
Kansas 10, Rutgers 7 pic.twitter.com/KnVB1dmO0z
Rutgers-Kansas in one GIF pic.twitter.com/fGZcfdJs2X— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) September 15, 2018
This will bring a tear to your eye pic.twitter.com/iS5kcLqcrQ— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) September 15, 2018
LSU: A Big road win at Auburn yesterday. It’s interesting to note that people have had Ed Orgeron on their hot seat list ever since losing to (guess who) Troy last season. Well, guess what.
Coach O 9-1 in regular season since Troy loss.— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) September 15, 2018
This weekend’s Husker game sucked, but Troy isn’t a bad program. They nearly knocked off Clemson during the Tigers’ national championship season in 2016. So don’t stop believin’...