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View from the Press Box: Boilermaker Edition

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Will Nebraska ever be on the right side of Trick or Treat?

Skydivers enter Memorial Stadium in a memorable way. Each diver carried with them a flag honoring our armed services
Tyler Wieseler

Great Scott! That was a hell of a long bye week, huh? Throw into the mix a lack of “juice” from players against the Minnesota Gophers two weeks ago and you have a fan base that’s foaming at the mouth for redemption to prove their football team has really turned the corner, and reeling from another one score game that did not go the Huskers way.

Coach Frost, his players, and assistant coaches got a much needed break. After a brutal eight game stretch, that has had them competing well over two months straight, between fall camp and the season thus far. I’m hoping to see a reenergized and focused product on the field today against a very beatable Purdue Boilermaker Team.

PRE GAME OBSERVATIONS

Apart from the obvious absence of sixth year senior safety, Deontai Williams, the Huskers come in relatively healthy. The bye week certainly had to allow for the general wear and tear on the team to correct itself. Optimism from Coach Frost on Williams that he’ll be back to finish the season. Can’t wait to see you back #8!

The other big injury questions were the health of our senior signal caller and starting running back. I am happy to report both Adrian Martinez and Rahmir Johnson looked good in warm ups.

Thomas Fidone was taking snaps with the 2nd team offense. Good chance we might see the true freshman get his first snaps of the season today.

Skydivers carrying various flags of the armed services brought lots of cheers and applause from the crowd prior to kickoff. But none more so for than Old Glory herself. God Bless America!

Nebraska wins the toss and differs to the second half.

FIRST QUARTER

Brendan Franke kicks the ball out of the back of the end zone. Touchback.

On their first drive the Boilermakers produce a 9 play, 36 yard drive that stalls at the Huskers 43 yard line and is forced to punt. Oliver Martin makes the fair catch at the 18 yard line. 10:52 remaining.

TOUCHDOWN OMAR MANNING! After a methodical drive, Martinez finds Omar on the left sideline and some fancy footwork takes him in from 16 yards out. Chase Contreraz on for the XP. Apparently missed Connor Culp being out in pregame. Kick is good. 6:16 remaining in the 1st.

HUSKERS: 7 / BOILERMAKERS: 0

Franke touchback.

Purdue holds the ball until the end of the quarter with the Boilermakers on the Huskers 19 yard line with a 3rd and 12 to start the 2nd.

SECOND QUARTER

A 14 play, 56 yard drive stalls at the 19 yard line. Purdue elects to kick the 36 yard field goal. Kicker Mitchell Fineran MISSES! Huskers take over on their 20 yard line! 14:52 remaining.

After a holding penalty by RG, Matt Sichterman, calls back a nice option play by Martinez and Johnson. Adrian Martinez throws a pick six brought back to the house for 45 yards by Purdue LB Jalen Graham. XP is good. 12:37 remaining in the half.

HUSKERS: 7 / BOILERMAKERS: 7

Freehill kicks it into the end zone for a touchback.

1st play of the drive RB Jaquez Yant goes 33 yards up the left sideline to the 42 yard line. A eight yard catch by TE, Austin Allen was also aided by a 15 yard hands to the face penalty by Purdue DT, Damarjhe Lewis, ball to the 19 yard line. ANOTHER 18 yards for Yant up the left sideline to the 1.

Almost disaster! A poor exchange was fallen on by Martinez for a loss of 3. But no worries.

TOUCHDOWN 2AM! Martinez takes it in from 4 yards out up the left sideline...again. Keep running left guys, its working. Contreraz XP good. 5 plays, 75 yards, 1:32 off the clock. 10:45 remaining.

HUSKERS: 14 / BOILERMAKERS: 7

Franke touchback.

RB Zander Horvath takes it in from 1 yard out on 3rd and goal. XP good. 14 plays, 75 yards, 6:57 off the clock. 3:48 remaining in the half.

HUSKERS: 14 / BOILERMAKERS: 14

Alante Brown calls for the fair catch, Huskers start on their 25 yard line.

A 43 yard pass to WR, Levi Falck, on the first place sets up the Huskers on the Boilermaker 32 yard line. 3 straight runs by Rahmir Johnson for a total of 16 yards and two from Martinez bring up a 4th down and a test for the Huskers replacement kicker, Chase Contreraz.

33 yards out, not an easy distance for your first try.

Kick is good. 7 plays, 61 yards, 2:28 off the clock. 1:20 remaining in the half.

HUSKERS: 17 / BOILERMAKERS: 14

Franke touchback.

Purdue makes it as far as midfield before...BLACKSHIRTS STOP EM ON 4TH AND 1!

JOJO DOMANN AND CALEB TANNOR MAKE THE PLAY! HUSKERS TAKE OVER ON THEIR 48. 20 SECONDS LEFT.

3 attempts at the end zone by 2AM. 3 incomplete passes. One off the fingertips of WR Samori Toure. End of the half.

HALFTIME:

HUSKERS: 17 / BOILERMAKERS: 14

HALFTIME MUSINGS

  • The Blackshirts have allowed 195 yards total to this point. David Bell is doing David Bell things, with 7 catches for 51 yards right now. But the more frightening stat is the 78 yards they’ve yielded to Doerue, Anthrop, and Horvath. Maybe the defensive staff is conseding the run a little bit to not get too caught up in Bell. I expect a better run stop effort from them the 2nd half.
  • While the pick six stings, Adrian is distributing the ball well. 4 receivers have caught his 122 yard output up to this point. The completion percentage sits at 50%, but keep in mind the 3 straight incompletions to end the half trying to find the end zone.
  • Culp was warming up prior to kickoff, so the Chase Contreraz situation is still puzzling to me. He was a highly decorated kicker coming out of Iowa Western Community College. Getting that 33 yarder out of the way will hopefully help build his confidence should he be forced into duty later in the game.
  • 1 penalty for 10 yards thus far. Good, but not great. The Matt Sichterman hold did call back a Husker drive that seemed promising. The very next play was the pick six. Football truly is a momentum game, Husker Nation.

THIRD QUARTER

Squib kick taken by back up RB, Zach Weinmaster, up to the 25 yard line.

3 and out Huskers. William Pryzstup punt goes 62 yards and is downed at the Boilermaker 4 yard line. 13:10 remaining.

A big sack by Ben Stille and Garrett Nelson bring up a 3rd and 16. Next play a 4 yard loss by RB King Doerue, on the screen catch. 4th and 20.

Purdue punts. WR Oliver Martin returns it for 11 yards to the Boilermaker 41 yard line. 11:02 remains in the 3rd.

2nd interception by Martinez on the 2nd play of the drive. Trying to make a play while avoiding a sack, he tried to flip it to a receiver. Purdue takes over at the 41 yard line. 10:21 remaining.

3 and out by Purdue, which was aided by a holding play on the Boilermakers. 4th and 7. Punt for Purdue is fair caught by Martin at the Nebraska 21. 7:50 remaining in the 3rd.

Holding penalty on Cam Jurgens aided to what was a poor drive by the Huskers. Pryzstup punts for 38 yards and Purdue has it on Nebraska 48 yard line. 5:46 left in the 3rd.

3 yard TD pass from Purdue QB Aidan O’Connell to WR Milton Wright. XP Good. 8 plays, 48 yards, 2:59 off the clock. 2:47 remaining in the 3rd.

HUSKERS: 17 / BOILERMAKERS: 21

Freehill touchback.

Another promising drive ends for the Huskers in a punt. Boilermakers start on their 25. 52 seconds remaining.

Purdue advances to their 36 yard line as time runs out of the 3rd Quarter.

HUSKERS: 17 / BOILERMAKERS: 21

FOURTH QUARTER

O’Connell finds WR Jackson Anthrop from 9 yards out on a 3rd and 9. XP is good. 10:05 remaining in the game.

14 plays. 75 yards. 5:47 off the clock between the 3rd and 4th quarter.

HUSKERS: 17 / BOILERMAKERS: 28

18 yard return by Alante Brown on the kickoff by Freehill. 9:59 remaining. Huskers on their 18.

3 and out again by the Husker offense. This one feels like it’s slipping away quickly. Blackshirts need a take away. Purdue takes over on their 43 yard line. 9:02 remaining in the 4th.

3 and out for Purdue, but the clock ran a bit. Jack Ansell punt, Martin lets it bounce. Huskers begin on their 24 yard line. 7:24 remaining.

3rd INT of the day by Adrian Martinez. Boilermakers start at Huskers 24 yard line. 7:14 remaining.

4th and 8 and Purdue tries another field goal for 39 yards. Fineran misses short. Huskers take over at their 22 yard line 5:45 remaining in the game.

Nevermind. Martinez throws his 4th INT of the day, with a pass bouncing off of Austin Allen, and into the arms of Purdue CB Chris Jefferson. Ball on the Purdue 37 yard line. 5:05 remaining in the game.

Nebraska uses up all 3 timeouts to salvage some hope at a one score loss again and begins their drive at their 6 yard line after a 36 yard punt by Ansell. 3:14 remains.

Like I said one score loss. Nebraska caps a 8 play, 94 yard drive that took a 1:30 off the clock with a 12 yard pass to Rahmir Johnson. Nebraska elects to go for 2 point conversion. Martinez pass incomplete. 1:44 remaining in the game.

HUSKERS: 23 / BOILERMAKERS: 28

Nebraska lines up for the onside kick attempt. Culp is in the game, so I knew I wasn’t crazy seeing him warm up pre game.

We recover!

No wait we don’t!

Damn it! Back up Nickel CB Issac Gifford really looked like he gained possesion of the ball.

3 kneel downs. Game Over.

FINAL- CORNHUSKERS:23 / BOILERMAKERS: 28

WALK ON WHO STOOD OUT

Has to be kicker, Chase Contreraz. He came in and nailed his XP attempts, as well as his lone FG attempt. My guess is kicker job was up for grabs over the Bye Week. The sophomore delivered. Well done.

PLAYERS ON FIRE

  • OFFENSE- Toss up for me. Omar had his most complete game of his Husker career, 4 catches for 75 yards and a TD. But Rahmir Johnson continued to be the stabilizing force at RB. 12 carries for 52 yards. Plus, the lone 12 TD catch which help put Nebraska in position to win a game that look like was over.
  • DEFENSE- Jojo Domann for me. He was 3rd in overall tackles for the team today with 13 total. But it is his accountability and resiliency that I’m highlighting here. His post game demeanor, still dress in uniform and smeared eye black, you could not deny he was hurting. Hurting for himself, his teammates and coaches, and this state. I believe good things eventually do happen to go people, Jojo. Your time, and this teams time, will come. But I hope that the rest of Husker Nation shares my optimism.

POST GAME PRESSER/FINAL THOUGHTS

I may release more thoughts on the post game interviews after I have had some time to let this loss sink in. There are too many raw emotions and disappointments to make an accurate assessment on another possession loss to beatable Purdue squad.

Credit to Coach Brohm, the players, and staff who did just enough to hold on for the victory.

For Nebraska, it's another case of almost, but not quite.

I hurt for this team.

The coaches hurt for the players. Players hurt for the coaches. The entire team hurts for themselves and this state.

Anyone who questions commitment in this team from top to bottom needs to take a step back and look what we were 5 years ago. Not this competitive in B1G games.

4 INT's with a Reilly led program. This could have easily been 59-23 Purdue.

I’ll take this team over any of those 7 days a week, and twice on Saturdays.

This team didn't quit. They were resilient. They fought, until they just ran out of time and opportunities.

Yes, we are currently 3-6 overall and 1-5 in the B1G.

Yes, we once again lose to a team we should have beaten by less than a SCORE. Finding a new and interesting way to lose this one, as INT's have not really been a huge problem for 2AM all season.

The fans heading for the exits with 10 plus minutes was discouraging.

Sitting up in the press box several hours after this one is over, I don’t know that I have ever seen, or will ever see anything like this ever again in my lifetime.

It’s historic, Husker Nation, it really is.

We play to the level of our competition, good or bad, and still manage to; more often than not lately lose by a possession.

To point a reference at the Halloween holiday weekend, we are currently stuck in...

Hopefully the Cornhuskers can find that missing link and give the people who support them, as well as themselves, a reason to feel that their hard work is paying off and wonderful things are so very close.

Onto O-H-I-O. See you next Saturday!

#GBR