Well this is an interesting game to recap. It’s been around seven years since I had been to Lincoln, Nebraska and about ten years since I graduated from the UNL school of journalism so returning to Memorial Stadium on Saturday and sitting in the press box was a bit bittersweet.
Let’s take a look back at the Michigan game and look ahead for what’s to come for the Huskers this season.
Most Nebraska fans in the stadium knew what was going to happen before the game started. The fanbase is deflated right now so seeing how the game started didn’t sting as much. Michigan opened the game with a touchdown and followed that up with an interception off a deflected pass on defense and just like that, the Huskers had a 14-0 deficit halfway through the 1st quarter.
As I tweeted during the game, I was ok with going for it on 4th and 1 in Michigan territory but was disappointed with the play call of a quarterback in shotgun formation running up the gut when a quarterback run or fullback trap would have done the job. Michigan didn’t look back from that moment in the game.
In the first half, the Wolverines scored a touchdown on four of their five drives. The last drive for a Michigan touchdown near the end of the first half cleared a lot of fans out of the stadium. Obviously part of it was due to the score but the 95-degree heat also played a factor. There were quite a few incidents of fans inside the stadium fainting from the heat.
Michigan scored again on their opening drive of the second half and began to rotate through each of their quarterbacks on each drive following that. Meanwhile, Haarberg was kept in the whole game, which could have backfired but ended up paying off in the end. Joshua Fleeks had a nice 74-yard touchdown run to close out the game and prevent the Huskers from being shut out at home for the first time since 1968.
The whole stadium and most of those sitting in the press box breathed a sigh of relief.
The Huskers had no answer for the Wolverine rushing attack. Is this a blueprint for other teams when facing the Husker defense later this season? I guess we will find out soon. However, for Michigan, I noticed that their defense was vulnerable to getting exposed on the deep slant routes. Unfortunately, Haarberg didn’t connect and take advantage of these slight miscues but it could be something that other teams look at in the future when playing Michigan.
Since Nebraska is really limited at receiver and running back, the offense really needs to adopt a habit of FFF (Feed Fidone the Football). The experienced Husker tight end could really cause a lot of matchup problems for other teams in future games and it is something that Haarberg and the Husker offense need to exploit in order to give them a slight edge.
Despite Nebraska getting dominated on the ball, I still feel better about the Husker defense than the Husker offense after this game. A lot of issues I saw on defense with the pass rush and stopping the rush can be fixed a lot faster than the snapping, blocking and turnover issues on the offensive side of the ball.
I like what I’m seeing with Tony White’s 3-3-5 defense but I think there should have been more blitzing in the game earlier on the first half. That would have kept McCarthy on his toes instead of giving him ample time to throw the ball downfield.
On the other side of the ball, I think Haarberg needs to be the starting quarterback for the Illinois game. Haarberg and Sims can both run the ball really well but I feel more comfortable with Haarberg throwing the ball. If Nebraska wins the Illinois game, Rhule should ride it out with Haarberg as quarterback for the rest of the year.
Wrapping It Up
After watching the Michigan game, do you feel better about the Husker offense or defense going into the next game?
- What’s the hottest football game you have ever attended?
- What’s the worst Nebraska loss you have ever experienced in person?
- If Nebraska wins the next game against Illinois, do they have a shot at getting to a bowl game?
- Should Michigan be ranked ahead of Georgia?
- What is one question you would like to ask Jim Harbaugh?
Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments section below.