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Too Many Questions on Offense to Beat Northwestern and The Morning After

A ton of questions and not a lot of answers

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Nebraska v Northwestern Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

There is simply too much talent on Nebraska’s offense to have a showing like what we saw against Northwestern. It doesn’t take that much talent to look like a competent offense. If it wasn’t for a near pick-six by Myles Farmer then Nebraska likely doesn’t score a touchdown in yesterday’s 21-13 loss.

That is unacceptable. There are a variant of issues but number one appears to be decision making by both the coaching staff and the players.

Frost agrees.

“It’s my fault, I told them it’s on me.” Frost said after the game when he was asked what he said to his team. “To come away with 13 points is inexcusable and that is my fault.”

It wasn’t like Nebraska had trouble moving the ball against a good Northwestern defense. The Huskers tallied up 442 total yards. They didn’t lose the turnover battle and were in the redzone six times.

Capitalizing on those opportunities is going to be the difference going forward for this offense. You cannot get to that point on the field and score only 13 points.

Northwestern knows who they are and where they are going. Nebraska on the other hand has too many questions on the offensive side of the ball. Why do they continue to have issues getting Wan’Dale Robinson the ball? Who is the starting quarterback going forward? Why does the play calling appear to be different and more aggressive with Luke McCaffrey in the game? Is it advantageous to to play so many different sets of wide receivers? Why can’t Omar Manning get more than one target? Why does it feel like Nebraska can only try to stretch the field with it’s tight ends? What is going on with punt and kickoff coverage?

The defense played well and almost single handedly kept Nebraska in the game. There were mistakes on defense but that unit appears to be greatly improved over the past two seasons. You see why the coaches have loved Luke Reimer. The fact Nebraska got him to walk-on at Nebraska appears to be a steal at this point.

Hopefully going forward the Nebraska defense can continue hold down the fort while Scott Frost’s offense is searching for some answers.

When asked about keeping the players together and motivated Coach Frost was straight to the point. “The players need to experience something good.”

Ain’t that the truth.

The Morning After

Three thoughts on ugly, head-scratching Husker offense in loss
Nebraska’s offense did what it’s done best during the Scott Frost era — it rolled up yards and moved the ball. Unfortunately that hasn’t always meant points and Saturday was no exception.

The Huskers were stymied by Northwestern’s defense when it got close to the Red Zone and that’s when it wasn’t hamstrung by its own unique play calling and lack of execution.

Here are a few more thoughts on what we saw from Nebraska’s offense on Saturday:

Reimer excels, but loss sours the mood
He has moved from walk-on who immediately had everyone last year asking, "Who the heck is that guy?" To a scholarship player. To a starting role. To leading the team in tackles.

Luke Reimer moves fast.

Bootle: Husker loss was unacceptable; team must push on together
There was no sugar to be poured on top from the senior captain, not on this version of Groundhog's Day, not when you have a halftime lead and your team has the football eight times inside the other team's 30-yard-line by the end.

You just can't lose that game.

Husker Report Card: Grading Nebraska's performance against Northwestern | 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 Northwestern game.

Frost says Saturday's Husker defeat starts with him
The yards were there, the points were not, and the latter is where joy is found.

Instead, you got this: Bummed out Huskers appeared in the postgame Zoom call after Nebraska's 21-13 loss to Northwestern. None more so than the head coach Scott Frost.

A 21-13 Loss to Northwestern Prompts Quarterback Questions for Nebraska | Hail Varsity - Nebraska Football, Recruiting, News
Nebraska now finds itself at a crossroads, and a rather significant one.

A 21-13 rock fight loss to Northwestern—a game in which Nebraska had 13 points from six red zone trips—in just the second game of the season might not normally make for such a pivotal moment but this isn’t a normal season and this wasn’t just like any other loss, even if it looked the same.

Nebraska ILB Luke Reimer Lives Up to Hype in First Career Start | Hail Varsity - Nebraska Football, Recruiting, News
Will Honas was unavailable to Nebraska Saturday against Northwestern. Though inside linebacker coach Barrett Ruud would like to have a rotation for his two spots, Nebraska again played with only two guys for the vast majority of the game.

Two weeks ago against Ohio State, Honas paired with Collin Miller because sophomore Luke Reimer was home nursing an injury. This week, Reimer was the guy in place of Honas.

Honas might not get his job back.

Nebraska needs QB Luke McCaffrey after loss at Northwestern – The Athletic ($)
If a talented quarterback stands on the sideline inside an empty stadium for three hours with nothing to do, does anyone actually know he’s there?

Steven M. Sipple: Same old issues crop up in Husker loss as fan apathy becomes concern | Column |
During a gorgeous November day on a picturesque campus, Nebraska football fans wanted to see their team finally do something special.

By the way, when was the last time the Huskers did something you would deem special?

Chatelain: It's hard to believe Scott Frost's offense is holding him back | Football |
Just for a moment, put aside the quarterback quandary and step back in time to November 2017. I know, it’s a lifetime.

But three years ago this week, I flew to Florida to write about the hottest young coach in the sport. The guy who’d turned UCF football into the best show in Orlando. Eat your heart out, Mickey Mouse.

Rapid Reaction: Northwestern edges out Nebraska 21-13 to remain undefeated - Inside NU
For the second week in a row, Northwestern (3-0) pulled out a gritty victory, as it overcame a 13-7 halftime deficit to defeat Nebraska (0-2) 21-13, starting 3-0 in conference play for the first time since 2000.

The Wildcats took a lead they wouldn’t relinquish on the opening drive of the second half, with John Raine catching a touchdown to cap a 10-play, 61-yard drive. As the defense held Nebraska scoreless in the second half, NU added another score with just under 10 minutes.