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Nebraska Football: What Did You Expect? and the Morning After

Nebraska v Ohio State Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Earlier this week I said that Nebraska losing to Ohio State was such a sure thing that if I was wrong that I would literally eat crow. I had people tweet at me that they were going to hold me to it. Friends contacted me and said they’ll provide the crow.

No crow for me, thankfully.

Seeing the reaction of some Nebraska fans after the game I do have one question.

What did you think was going to happen?

The intention of that question is an attempt for Nebraska fans to refocus for a minute.

This Ohio State team is considered by many to be the most talented Ohio State football team in school history with a quarterback who is probably the front runner to win the Heisman. Nebraska is a program that has won 13 games over the past three seasons. Ohio State won 13 games last year alone.

So again, what did you think was going to happen?

With that said, I think you can also walk away from the game and be extremely excited about the Nebraska football team in 2020. After watching Big Ten football this weekend, I think it’s safe to say that Ohio State is far and away the best team in the conference. It isn’t close.

Take that in addition to how the offensive and defensive lines played today. They did more than hold their own against Ohio State. Obviously, it was not enough.

The lines weren’t great but they were better than I expected. I think we saw what Zach Duval, Nebraska’s strength and conditioning coach, has done for the program. Think back to two years ago after losing to Iowa and Scott Frost made that comment about being blown away how Iowa was bigger and stronger than Nebraska. He said that would change and I think it is clear that they have done the work to make that change.

While the score yesterday was relatively comparable to the game last year in Lincoln it was Nebraska who was playing with Ohio State for a half yesterday. Last year it was Nebraska getting steamrolled by Ohio State for the entire game. We shall see but the assumption is that this Ohio State team is better than last years team. If that’s true, then the performance from Nebraska, while disappointing, should give Nebraska fans reason to be excited.

What was obvious to Nebraska fans and also to Wisconsin is Nebraska’s inability to throw the ball down the field. It was not even an option against Ohio State. Coach Frost needs to figure out how to get Omar Manning, Marcus Fleming, Zavier Betts or somebody who can run a nine route onto the field.

While the state of the wide receivers room is a major concern at least, as of now, it appears we can feel good about the offensive and defense lines. That is a great start.

Now about the officials and those fumbles...

The Morning After

Fast Takes: Huskers can be better, even if score didn't show it
Gus said it.

I am in the crowd that enjoys FOX announcer Gus Johnson, but that has nothing to do with me nodding my head when he said this late in the third quarter of Saturday's game: "You have a feeling regardless of this outcome today that this is going to be a better season for Nebraska."

Husker Report Card: Grading Nebraska's performance vs. Ohio State | Football |
After each game this season, The World-Herald's Sam McKewon will hand out his Husker Report Card, assessing Nebraska's performance in several areas. Here are the grades coming out of the Ohio State game.

After Loss to Ohio State, Nebraska Has a Question to Answer: Who's It Going to Be? | Hail Varsity - Nebraska Football, Recruiting, News
At the outset of its season, Nebraska football has an identity crisis.

At one point Saturday, Husker head coach Scott Frost had a smile stretch over his face almost immediately before dropping to his knees and pounding the turf inside Ohio Stadium. Two teams took the field against the fifth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, and they took turns at the controls.

Offense Impresses, Details Disappoint for Huskers in Season Opener | Hail Varsity - Nebraska Football, Recruiting, News
If you’re looking to bottom-line Nebraska’s season-opening 52-17 loss at Ohio State, you could start here: Over the Huskers’ first 10 drives in the game, which takes you into the fourth quarter, the three that didn’t include a penalty or a fumble, ended in scores.

The seven drives that did, did not.

They Said It: Nebraska Players Talk Huskers' 52-17 Loss to Ohio State | Hail Varsity - Nebraska Football, Recruiting, News
Nebraska players met with the media Saturday after following the Huskers’ 52-17 loss to Ohio State. Quarterback Adrian Martinez, linebackers JoJo Domann and Collin Miller and offensive lineman Matt Farniok all met with the media.

Martinez, McCaffrey show useful template, but lament fumbles
For much of the first half, it was going similar to plan as far as Adrian Martinez was concerned.

Nebraska was moving it, finishing some drives, and the good times were being shared. Martinez held it down as the lead quarterback while the Huskers still found ways to use Luke McCaffrey every which way.

Game Balls: Who stood out against Ohio State?
Nebraska football dropped its opener to Ohio State, but several players put together individually strong performances on Saturday, which should give the Husker faithful some hope moving forward.

Report Card: Huskers start year showing progress, but not enough
Nebraska dropped its opener to Ohio State 52-17 on Saturday, a game in which it was hanging in close in the second quarter, and then watched as the Buckeyes pushed it further and further away.

The scene was bizarre for Nebraska-Ohio State. But the result was familiar | Football |
The cathedral was awfully empty, the city seemed abandoned, the band was on a video screen, and the Big Ten started a season in late October without the smoke of a grill, the laughter of tailgates or an ounce of pomp. The circumstances surrounding Nebraska’s trip to Ohio State were unique in a way only the coronavirus pandemic could make them.

'Self-inflicted' problems, powerful Buckeyes far too much for Huskers to overcome in 2020 opener | Football |
When Nebraska’s 2020 football season ends at some point in December or January — and please, let’s not rush to such an end date after so much time and effort and delay and frustration and fight went into just getting to kickoff on Saturday at Ohio Stadium — the outcome forged in front of pretty much nobody except the ghosts of the Horseshoe and a national television audience will likely feel different in one way or another than it did on Oct. 24.

Near perfect day is just the start for Justin Fields
Most football players will tell you there’s no such thing as a perfect game. Ohio State junior Justin Fields came pretty close on Saturday in a 52-17 season-opening win against Nebraska.

What we learned in Ohio State’s 52-17 beatdown of Nebraska - Land-Grant Holy Land
The Ohio State Buckeyes played their first game of the year on Saturday, facing off against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. There was an unfamiliar sense of unity between these two teams fighting it out in The Shoe, as there is mutual respect among the pair of Big Ten foes as the most vocal entities trying to resurrect this season. The sense of camaraderie was quickly put aside upon kickoff, as there was now a game to be won.

Ohio State Buckeyes coach Ryan Day apologizes for not taking knee late against Nebraska Cornhuskers
Ohio State coach Ryan Day apologized to Nebraska for the Buckeyes offense not taking a knee in the final seconds of Saturday's 52-17 win at Ohio Stadium.

Anybody have any thoughts on the targeting calls?