Or maybe your reaction is “sigh” or “ughh” or some other four-letter word. Or a combinations of all of those emotions, because they all apply.
I expected better out of Nebraska’s offense, and to a lesser extent, the defense as well. I thought this would be the week that the offense would play better. On one very critical measure, they did: NO TURNOVERS! But only 319 total yards? Not very impressive, though it’s important to note that Northwestern is averaging under 300 yards per game in total defense in conference play.
And perhaps most imporantly, three of Nebraska’s best offensive skill players didn’t finish the game.
Defensively, I thought the Huskers started well, but didn’t adjust quickly as Northwestern seemed to finally work out the kinks with their backup quarterback...who, to be honest, probably is going to be their starter moving forward, stars be damned. And throughout the fourth quarter, I kept thinking that the Blackshirts NEEDED to force a turnover, and Lamar Jackson did exactly that with one minute left in the game.
It’s a win, and if there’s one thing we should have learned from the last two seasons, wins are precious. It was late October before NU got to 4 wins in 2017; it was November last season. Every game moving forward is really winnable - or lose-able.
So on with the report card; as always, your feedback is always available in the comments.
Quarterback: I’m still on the “something is off with Adrian Martinez” wagon, though I understand why. He needs help from his offensive line and his receivers; he showed in the first half against Colorado what he can do with a clean pocket. This week, what I noticed was that, at least twice, Martinez threw the ball away rather than scrambling and taking the yards available. Now we have to hold our breath and see whether his knee will be ready for the Minnesota game. If not, we’re going to need to see more from Noah Vedral than quarterback dive. Upon further review, though, this throw to Wan’Dale was nearly perfect. Grade: C
From my view in North Stadium, I thought this was a bit of a bad throw. On TV it’s an absolute dime. No defense for a back shoulder throw. And the fact that it’s a wheel off of Post-Wheel Switch only adds to the beauty of the play https://t.co/gMWJpFQzPx— Ryan Reuter (@HossReuter) October 6, 2019
I-Back: Nobody outside the coaching staff knows why Maurice Washington didn’t play in the first half, but considering how ineffective he was in limited snaps in the 2nd, it’s no surprise he wasn’t on the field more. Dedrick Mills wasn’t effective after the first quarter as NW really tightened down their defense. Grade: D
Wide Receivers: Nebraska can ill afford to be without JD Spielman for long because there’s a steep dropoff after him on the depth chart. At some point, Frost and Troy Walters are going to have make a call and put inexperienced players who might be able to make a play instead of experienced guys who can’t make a play. Grade: D
Wan’Dale: Is he an I-back or receiver? Well, he’s in his own category by himself, and he’s the reason why Nebraska won this week. Grade: A
Offensive Line: Between inept blocking and repeated high snaps, this is where things break down for Nebraska on offense. It’s a young line, so I don’t want to hit the panic button yet, but Greg Austin has a lot of work to do here. Grade: D
Defensive Line: The defensive line had their moments out there, with Darrion Daniels and Ben Stille putting up some big numbers. Grade: B-
Linebackers: There were some leaky yards out there on defense as the Blackshirts struggled to adapt to NW’s zone read. Grade: C+
Secondary: Up until a minute to play, this grade was going to be a lot lower because they struggled to bring down Northwestern receivers. But when you force a turnover to turn the game, the grade has to go up. Grade: B
Special Teams: Converted safety Lane McCallum from Norfolk may have doinked the goalpost in the third quarter, but somehow found a way to get that ugly kick through the uprights under the pressure. Beautiful result, and for that, he gets an “A” and a memory he and his family can always treasure. (I can only wonder how many bars in Norfolk ran dry last night.)
Overall: C- It was ugly, but it’s a win. Take it every chance you get. And what a treat for the people of Wahoo and Norfolk.
How do you grade the Huskers for their 13-10 victory over Northwestern?
This poll is closed
A - A Huge Victory!
B - Can’t beat that.
C - Could have played better, but a win is a win.
D - Don’t believe Nebraska played up to their potential, but rather played down to their opponent.
Elsewhere in College Football
Ohio State: A There’s no excuse for the Buckeyes to be ranked anywhere below #2.
Husker Mike’s Prediction about Illinois: LOL When I was wrong, I admit I was wrong.