An old friend has returned.
A comfortable win against a team in which a comfortable win is expected.
It feels like it has been far too long since this friend has visited. There are numerous reasons why, but Nebraska football fans are glad the friend is back. At least for now.
The score indicates that it was a dominant game by Nebraska over Northern Illinois. However, I believe the biggest moment in the game, perhaps the season, was the drive to end the first half. It appeared to my untrained eye that Scott Frost finally took the training wheels off of the offense for the first time this season.
It might have been a lesson learned from the week before in the loss against Colorado. After the game Frost might have said as much. “We preach to the guys and maybe I needed to get the lesson from outside and from my assistant coaches last week, we preach a desire to excel and a fear of no failure all the time and if we want the players to be that way, we need to be that way as coaches. That means calling what we need to call, rolling the dice, letting them play, being aggressive. That’s the way I want our team to think and if we get the ball back with 40 seconds we want them to think score. For them to do that, we need to do that.”
Exactly. What we saw so far this season on offense was not a group who was thinking “Score,” it appeared they were thinking more about “not making mistakes.” That starts with the play caller.
Adrian Martinez has looked slow and indecisive all season until that final drive of the first half. I would even say that for the first half of the Colorado game. Even though Nebraska jumped up to a 17-0 lead against Colorado, the offense didn’t look aggressive. It was like somebody told him to not worry about getting hurt.
The offense since the last drive of the half looked different and not a moment too soon.
The non-conference season is over and now it is time for nine straight games against Big Ten opponents. The offensive mentality which was illustrated against South Alabama and Colorado will not be enough to win the Big Ten West. Hopefully the new “play to score” mentality is here too stay.
It probably is not just the fans who have been waiting to see this from the offense in a game. I have a feeling the defensive side of the ball has been waiting for somebody else to shoulder some of the load.
Both sides of the ball have not been what we expected going into this season. We expected a dominant offense and a defense we hope will improve throughout the season. We got the opposite.
The defensive side of the ball looks like it could be here to stay. Hopefully, a single drive in the second half of a comfortable win against Northern Illinois will be the impetus for the offense we have expected all off-season long.
Now, about those special teams...
The Morning After...
Frost gets back to his own motto with aggressive play-calling
A little bit of fear would have been reasonable.
The last time the Huskers had the ball, the play had blown up in their own end zone, and two points for the opponent was the result.
Three players stand out in Northern Illinois beatdown
Nebraska picked up a much needed win and the Huskers took care of a plucky, but outgunned Northern Illinois team on Saturday.
The usual stars came through as JD Spielman had a big catch on the opening drive, Maurice Washington turned in a couple big plays and Adrian Martinez shook off some issues to finish with a strong overall stat line.
Notable quotes from Nebraska and Northern Illinois
Nebraska got back to its winning ways on Saturday night, running past Northern Illinois for a 44-8 victory.
The game had its share of odd moments -- a bingo card of special teams successes and failures -- but more importantly, Nebraska cruised to a comfortable win after dropping a heartbreaking game to Colorado in overtime last week.
Huskers hoping for good news on injured starters
Nebraska head coach Scott Frost wasn’t willing to talk about injuries after the game — he doesn’t do it, after all — but they had to be in the back of Frost’s mind after two of his starters were helped off with injuries in Saturday’s win over Northern Illinois.
Frost thinks Huskers 'rounded a little bit of a corner' as a program in win over NIU | Football | journalstar.com
The first half Saturday night at Memorial Stadium could easily have turned into a special-teams sideshow.
Nebraska’s other two units ensured it instead turned into a lopsided victory.
3 Thoughts as Nebraska Rolls to 44-8 Win Over Northern Illinois | Hail Varsity
Nebraska closes out non-conference play with a 2-1 record. It’ll go to Illinois next week to begin Big Ten play. First, here are some thoughts from Saturday’s win.
Steven M. Sipple: Even during a strange night, Nebraska takes needed step forward | Football | journalstar.com
Yes, it was a rather strange game. Those NIU pooch punts were things of beauty. But as odd as the night was, Nebraska took a step forward with its 44-8 triumph in front of 89,593 fans at Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska Football: What we learned in week three vs Northern Illinois
It was a dominant effort on the scoreboard, but we definitely learned a lot about Big Red in this victory.
Let’s check out those things that we learned.
Nebraska puts away Northern Illinois early in a 44-8 win
Adrian Martinez threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, Dedrick Mills rushed for 116 yards and Nebraska beat Northern Illinois 44-8 on Saturday night.
The Cornhuskers (2-1) bounced back from blowing a 17-point lead in an overtime loss at Colorado last week. NIU (1-2) won 21-17 in Lincoln two years ago but was no match this time.
A stat Scott Frost liked tonight: Just one penalty for 15 yards for the #Huskers.— Parker Gabriel (@HuskerExtraPG) September 15, 2019
Final stats for some guys:— Christopher Heady (@heady_chris) September 15, 2019
Martinez: 16-27, 257 yards, 2 TDs, 11 rushes, 44 yards, 1 TD
Washington: 4 carries, 63 yards, 1 TD, 3 catches, 18 yards, 1 TD
Mills: 11 carries, 116 yards, 1 TD
Spielman: 4 catches, 76 yards
Noa: 3 catches, 51 yards, 1 TD
Martinez said tonight was a great stepping-stone into Big Ten play. Says the mindset won’t change, goal will always be to win. #Huskers— Jake Bartecki (@bartecki_jake) September 15, 2019
Martinez: “The offense turned a corner tonight. We played harder, we played faster, our tempo was solid. It’s a mindset to get better.” #Huskers— Jake Bartecki (@bartecki_jake) September 15, 2019
Love this from Scott Frost talking about the "Desire to excel and no fear of failure" motto and how he listened to others remind him of it after the loss at Colorado: #Huskers pic.twitter.com/N1ESHtq6T8— Dan Corey (@DanCorey1011) September 15, 2019
Talked about this a ton. He's human, not an excuse. Like I said on Mon, I get 5 mil a year thing but there's still a human element to the learning curve. https://t.co/ymg9vsIf86— Damon Benning (@damonbenning) September 15, 2019
Nebraska coach Scott Frost says maybe he needed to “learn a lesson” from his assistant coaches and the outside about playing with no fear of failure. It was especially evident during the final drive of the first half, when the Huskers rushed down the field to go up 25 points. pic.twitter.com/rGLme4kTG9— Mitch Sherman (@mitchsherman) September 15, 2019
Frost said he expects Isaiah Stalbird to be "one of the poster boys" for the #Huskers walk-on program, and added that maybe the Kearney native won't be a walk-on for long if he stays on this track.— Brian Christopherson (@Husker247BC) September 15, 2019
Lamar Jackson said Braxton Clark was almost in tears on the sideline after his interception. Jackson knows how it feels as a young player scrapping to play, then having that first big moment. "It changes everything. You become addicted to it. You want to repeat that feeling."— Brian Christopherson (@Husker247BC) September 15, 2019
STRAIGHT BALLER!!! @Elijah_23_ https://t.co/aHgu3hKZUA— Collin Miller (@C_millz31) September 15, 2019
Mo Barry said Dedrick Mills looked like Devine Ozigbo tonight.— Mike Schaefer (@mikejschaefer) September 15, 2019
As you may recall, Ozigbo didn't get going until Nebraska's fourth game last season.
Curious if there's any real similarities with that timing too.
I have ZERO relation to Nebraska football, but that kid Maurice Washington will be in the heisman race come 2020. I’m an accountant out of Park City, Utah. I have zero connection. Just my thought.— Bruce Claussen (@BruceAClaussen) September 15, 2019
We all know you haven’t played QB https://t.co/gneXGATiww— Doc Sadler (@coachdocsadler) September 15, 2019
True freshman defensive back Noa Pola-Gates getting in postgame work in the weight room at 11 p.m.— Matt Reynoldson (@MattReynKLKN) September 15, 2019
Had the #Huskers’ lone penalty tonight. pic.twitter.com/1UaPZCxO5g
Think the #Huskers coaches have anything to talk with the six defensive official visitors about the rest of the weekend? ☠️— Greg Smith (@GregSmithHV) September 15, 2019
Frost said he's not going to talk about injuries. "I hope those two are fine," he said of Brenden Jaimes and Cam Taylor-Britt. "We hope these aren't serious, but if we're going to have them miss any time, we need the next guy to be ready."— Brian Christopherson (@Husker247BC) September 15, 2019
By The Way...We Might Have a Great Punter on Our Hands
This week's Matt's Stat is all about @isaacarmstrong2 and how opponents shouldn't expect to run a punt back on him.#Huskers pic.twitter.com/iq40UOO64m— Husker Sports (@HuskerSports) September 14, 2019