Sometimes life has a way of laughing at your plans. In this case, my plans on watching the Huskers take on Indiana crashed just before kickoff when a family member had a medical issue. Fortunately, it was at Memorial Stadium where help was readily available; we were quickly whisked away by Red Cross personnel to the First Aid room, where I briefly saw the Huskers score on one of the TVs mounted on the walls. From there, it was off to the hospital, where I spotted Chubba Purdy and the ball bouncing around in the end zone on another television while finding the right room in the emergency room. (I believe I said “that doesn’t look good” as we walked past.)
As we got towards halftime, I was able to watch a little bit of the game in between nurses and doctors coming in. Fortunately, everything came back OK and we were able to head home about an hour after the game ended, just in time to experience post-game traffic. I originally wasn’t going to do a report card, but was able to watch much of what I missed this morning, so I’m going to provide a few thoughts on the game.
One of my concerns about Bill Busch sliding into the interim defensive coordinator role was that Busch would try to change too much defensively. That did not happen; Busch’s plan to simplify the defense paid off in this game and led to a very good defensive performance. Granted, Indiana has struggled a bit this season, but their high tempo offense was a bad matchup with a confused Nebraska defense. Instead, we got a solid defensive performance - except during the final five minutes of the second quarter. Nebraska responded negatively to the head coaching change against Oklahoma, but against Indiana, we saw Nebraska’s best performance of the year. Not great, mind you. Too many penalties and turnovers in this one. But considering it’s Nebraska’s first conference win in a year, it’s something to celebrate.
Especially this week, if you saw something different than I saw, let me know in the comments.
QB: When Casey Thompson has time, he’s extremely accurate. But at times, he’s slow to complete his progressions. While Nebraska’s offensive line isn’t very good, it’s unreasonable to expect protection to hold for ten seconds. Throw the ball away if nobody is open. I’m not sure what the point of benching Thompson for Purdy in the shadow of the goal line. That’s a high pressure situation that blew up spectacularly in Mickey Joseph’s face. Grade: C
I-Back: Anthony Grant rebounded from an off performance against the Sooners with a decent performance against Indiana. 136 yards is a great performance, but averaging 4.3 yards per carry on 32 carries puts it in perspective. Gabe Ervin looked OK in his backup role. Grade: B-
WR: What a game by Trey Palmer! That being said, Nebraska needed someone other than Oliver Martin to contribute and get open. Grade: B
OL: There were quite a few times where offensive line play was actually good. Unfortunately, also a bunch of times it wasn’t good. Turner Corcoran’s penalties and ejection were a huge problem. And for all of the criticism Bryce Benhart faces, his PFF grade was second highest on the line this week. Hunter Anthony, who actually played more than Benhart in this game, was Nebraska’s worst offensive lineman this week. I’m all in favor of rotating guys and trying different options out when a team is struggling, but some of these changes seem to be counterproductive. Grade: C
DL: Garrett Nelson is emerging as a team leader on this defense and Ty Robinson was playing well as well. I thought the defensive line played OK in this game. Grade: C+
LB: Issac Gifford and Luke Reimer were two of the players that caught my eye the most. Grade: B
Secondary: Quentin Newsome was one of the players who stepped up in this game. Grade: B-
Special Teams: Punt returns! A blocked punt! This game was likely Nebraska’s best special teams performance since 2014. Grade: A
Overall: B- Great performance? Nope. Solid performance? Yes. Emotionally uplifting? Absolutely! It was great to see... and I hope that I don’t have to go to the ER to get a Husker victory ever again. :-)
How would you grade the Huskers performance against Indiana
This poll is closed
A - A win! A win! A win! Amazing!
B - Could have been better, but a win is a win.
C - It’s a win, but Rich Kaczenski was right: Nebraska couldn’t let that clown walk off the field with a win.
D - Doesn’t matter because Indiana isn’t very good.
F - FFFFFF*****. I put my money on Indiana.