That was a performance Minnesota hadn’t shown all season. The team that couldn’t run the ball against teams like Georgia Southern, South Dakota State and Fresno State gashed Nebraska for 322 yards.
That was a performance Nebraska has shown far too often in recent years, being pushed around by a team that Nebraska fans have the right to expect to at least compete with. You could shrug and try to explain the Ohio State game away by saying “talent gap”.
You can’t do that this week. Blame the weather? Well, Minnesota apparently embraced it. You might have thought last week the ice buckets were a Flake - y stunt, but the bottom line says it worked. Minnesota kicked Nebraska’s ass all the way to Mankato and back Saturday night.
On both sides of the ball.
I observed last week that Minnesota’s defensive line was surprisingly inept at their pass rush in their first four games, with just 11 sacks in those five games against somewhat non-descript competiton. They added four against the Huskers, and it’s not like they had to blitz to do that. Their four defensive linemen controlled the line of scrimmage all by themselves.
Are their holes in Nebraska’s roster? Yes, and they were glaringly obvious in this game. Nebraska doesn’t have any seniors listed on the offensive line’s depth chart. The inexperience is real. But guess what? Minnesota’s depth chart didn’t have any either.
I’ve written before about the lack of experienced depth at receiver. Just look at the receiver roster Frost’s staff inherited from 2017. The only guys on that roster still eligible are JD Spielman, Jaeveon McQuitty and Tyjon Lindsay (now at Oregon State). Oh, and a bunch of local kids. But it’s a year and a half later, and the statute of limitations for blaming Mike Riley is running out. Somebody not named Wan’Dale Robinson needs to emerge...especially now, since we don’t know how serious Robinson’s ankle injury is.
Should we start questioning Frost? In terms of some of his decisions, yes. I have to believe Frost is already doing that himself. In terms of whether Frost is the right guy, no and HELL NO. We are just a year and a half into this thing, and we already know the situation he inherited. Bill Moos gave Scott Frost a seven year contract for a reason. He spent six weeks closely evaluating the program Mike Riley was leaving behind, so he knows better than most of us the depth of the hole Frost was going to be inserted into. Even thinking about that is silly. The progress is much slower than we hoped, but we’re seeing progress.
And that brings up the quote that most of us brushed aside this summer, in all the braggadocio of “winning the west” that people wanted to believe.
“We really need to get to six (wins). We need to get into the postseason and get all those extra practices and get that recognition in college football. I know at Oregon when we started to build, we went six (wins), seven, eight, nine, 10 -- it just kind of worked out that way and the momentum just carried it.”
Well, with Nebraska sitting at 4-3 after a game like THAT, getting to 6 wins seems a touch daunting. It won’t happen with performances like this one, to be sure. But that’s where the program is right now. Last year, 4-8 slowed the bleeding. 6-6 shows progress.
Slow progress. But still progress.
So on with the report card...and it’s one that the grades are pretty much evident right up front. Some positions will grade better than others, so don’t expect across the board F’s in a knee jerk fashion. As always, your opinions are welcome in the comments.
QB: I don’t think Noah Vedral was the issue in this game. In fact, Vedral was Nebraska’s best offensive weapon for most of the game. It’s simply a sad reality of this one. Could he have played better? Yes...but Tommie Frazier, Eric Crouch or his head coach probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference in this one. Grade: C-
I-Back: With no blocking, this was a big steaming pile of (bleep). If there’s a criticism of the game plan, I would have liked to have seen Nebraska try to run wide a little more, because the middle was completely ineffective. Grade: F
Wide Receiver: There’s JD. There’s Wan’Dale. And this week, we saw Kade Warner finally get on the field. Why is a no-offer walk-on outplaying all of the other scholarship recruits in this program? That’s not a knock on Warner; he deserves to play. I’m questioning why nobody else is contributing. With the injuries on the field, they’ve had their opportunities to get open and make blocks. They aren’t doing it, and I worry that until this staff develops someone else to contribute, this offense is going to struggle. Robinson’s emergence makes it clear that the offense isn’t Callahan-esque in complexity. Grade: F
Wan’Dale: Hope that injury is something that can heal during the bye week. Grade: A
Offensive Line: No high snaps was a huge sign of progress. Getting dominated by a three or four man rush by a previously sluggish defensive line was a bigger sign of regression. Grade: 0
Defensive Line: They were pushed around by a Minnesota offensive line that had underperformed this season despite their size. Grade: F
Linebackers: Overpursued, out of position and frankly overpowered. Grade: F
Secondary: They weren’t tested much through the air, but there were poor coverage and some even more awful attempts to tackle. At times, it looked like it was a high school team trying to play a college team. Grade: F
What is Nebraska’s biggest concern?
This poll is closed
Strength & Conditioning
Elsewhere in College Football
Iowa: D Iowa decided to copy Oregon’s ugly uniforms instead of their dynamic offense. /ferentzClap
Wisconsin: A+ The Badgers defense is operating on a break-even basis. Allowed four touchdowns this season, and scored four touchdowns. That Wisconsin/Ohio State game in Indy is shaping up to be Must See TV.
Illinois: C After an awful start, the Illini clawed their way back into the game against Michigan.
Purdue: A The Boilermakers got some players healthy and won surprisingly big.