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Report Card: Huskers 14, Rutgers Scarlet Knights 13

Board the “Mickey Train” at your own peril, and if so, buckle your crash harness for the second half of the season.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

In the preseason, most projects had the Huskers game against Rutgers being one of the better opportunities for Nebraska to win if they were going to show progress in 2022. Well, we all recognize how THAT is going...and so Nebraska struggling for most of the night is a clear sign that major changes are forthcoming in the Husker football program come December.

It didn’t start well at all, as Rutgers marched down the field on their opening possession to take the early lead. The defense did stiffen up in the second half and arguably played some Blackshirt-caliber defense at that point, but let’s not forget that Rutgers is probably weaker than everybody remaining on the schedule.

The offense was simply awful as the offensive line might have had their worst game of the season. Casey Thompson got knocked out of the game with just over a minute to go before halftime, and with the memories of last week’s goal line sack and fumble, Mickey Joseph and Mark Whipple inexplicably asked Chubba Purdy to once again throw the ball in that situation. The incomplete pass left time on the clock for Rutgers to try a long field goal just before halftime. If not for Garrett Nelson’s sack making the field goal unmanageable, the halftime deficit might have been 16 and the Huskers would have had to score again to win this game.

It’s a win, and as we’ve learned over the last year, never underestimate the importance of that. But it was an ugly win, so don’t read much signs of progress into this game overall. The defense looks better, but the offense might be getting worse, if that was possible. And the schedule gets a whole lot tougher from here moving forward. With that, it’s onto the report card, and as always, your feedback welcome in the comments.

QB: I had to chew on Casey Thompson’s performance a bit, because in reviewing his stats, Thompson actually played fairly well after the first quarter; he just didn’t have any support from his offensive line. Both of those interceptions? Came while under pressure despite Rutgers not blitzing. Great performance? Hardly...but Nebraska doesn’t beat Rutgers without Thompson. Grade: B-

I-Back: Of Anthony Grant’s 47 yards rushing, 45 came after contact. Again, Grant didn’t have the support up front to do much. He worked out a bit of frustrations by going all-Eric Crouch on Rutgers DB Desmond Igbinosun. That effort alone bumps Grant up to a B-.

WR: Trey Palmer continues to make plays, as does Travis Vokolek and Marcus Washington. But Alante Brown had a bad holding penalty which didn’t help one bit. Grade: B-

OL: Those of you screaming for Hunter Anthony got your wish...and it was brutal. And to be honest, Turner Corcoran needs to be moved back to guard as soon as possible. The next head and offensive line coaches are going to have to go all-N on the transfer portal for offensive tackles. Grade: A very low F.

DL: Aside from that opening drive, the defensive line played pretty well, especially Colton Feist and, of course, Garrett Nelson. Grade: B

LB: Luke Heinrich still is a bit hit-or-miss with his play...frustrating you with a miss then making a great play shortly thereafter. Grade: B

Secondary: There were a few misplays early on, but three interceptions has to warrant an A.

Special Teams: Another bleepin’ blocked punt. Yes, I know Bill Busch isn’t handling special teams anymore, but it’s his schemes. And while Busch has improved the defense the last two weeks, Nebraska’s special teams are only marginally less awful than last season, other than recruiting a great punter in Brian Buschini. Grade: F

Overall: C- Things get real the rest of the season: two games against the co-leaders of the Big Ten west to finish up October, then the Quadrangle of Hate plus Michigan in November. Some people are seeing much more improvement in this team than I am; check back with me if the Huskers somehow find a way to head to Ann Arbor with a 5-4 record.

Poll

How would grade the Huskers 14-13 comeback win over Rutgers?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    A - A win is all that matters!
    (58 votes)
  • 16%
    B - Big second half comeback!
    (99 votes)
  • 59%
    C - Craptastic much of the night, the Big Red found a way to win.
    (360 votes)
  • 10%
    D - Don’t think a one point win over Rutgers is any sign of progress.
    (66 votes)
  • 3%
    F - One point over frickin’ Rutgers?
    (23 votes)
606 votes total Vote Now