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Nebraska Football: Worst Case Scenario is that Matt Rhule and Huskers Wasted a Potential Historic Season

Iowa v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

It really should not surprise anyone that the team that was leading the country in turnovers lost a close game to Iowa by turning the ball over in a stellar situation.

I am not even placing the blame at the feet of Chubba Purdy. The Iowa defense gave a look he has probably not seen all game long when they dropped the defensive lineman in coverage. Purdy obviously did not see Ethan Hurkett as Chubba threw it right to him.

Iowa has done this all season long. They have one of the best defenses in the country and they simply wait until you make a mistake and then they slide the knife into your chest. In this case they did it just in time as Nebraska looked poised to do the same to them after the interception by Tommi Hill.

At this point, it is my assumption Nebraska will not get a bowl invite at 5-7. Rhule made the comment in the post game press conference that he will help the seniors move on to the next phase of their life.

What bothers me as I type this is I am afraid that the Huskers may have wasted a potential historic season at Nebraska. This was one of the best defenses Nebraska has fielded since the Pelini era. The offensive line really improved and was trending to be one of the top units on the teams. Plus, this was one of the worst (or most helpful) schedules Nebraska has seen in a long time.

Nebraska truly could have won every game they played except for Michigan in 2023. Yet in those 11 games they went 5-6. It was a wasted opportunity.

This is what I am worried about.

It is no guarantee that Tony White comes back next season. Even if he does, it is no guarantee that he can replicate what he did in 2023. Having Ty Robinson and Nash Hutmacher come back sure helps but they will be losing Nick Heinrich, Luke Reimer, Isaac Gifford, Quinton Newsome, Omar Brown, Phalen Sanford and Blaise Gunnerson as those guys all walked on Senior Day.

Luke Reimer ended his career in third place as all-time tackler at Nebraska. He passed Lavonte David, Dedrick Young and Mike Brown today in the loss to Iowa.

To the credit of the coaching staff, and contrary to some comments I see on Twitter, this team played hard and physically brought it for the entire season.

Unfortunately, they did not get the quarterback right and that is on them as well. Hopefully the failure to get that position right didn’t waste on heck of an opportunity.

Game Notes...Of Note

  • Freshman receiver Jaylen Lloyd had a 66-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter. It marked Lloyd’s third TD catch of at least 58 yards this season. He joins Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. as the only Big Ten players with three catches of at least 50 yards this season.
  • Defensive end Ty Robinson and nose tackle Nash Hutmacher each blocked a field goal in the first half, marking the first block FG of their careers for both players. It marks the first time Nebraska has blocked two field goals in a game since a 7-6 win over Pitt on Sept. 17, 2005 (Zach Potter, Adam Ickes).
  • Linebacker Luke Reimer had a season-high 10 tackles to increase his career tackle total to 293, moving him into third on the Nebraska career tackles list. Reimer passed Dedrick Young (284), Lavonte David (285) and Mike Brown (287) in today’s game. Today marked Reimer’s 10th career double-figure tackle game.
  • Offensive tackle Bryce Benhart started at right tackle, marking his 41st career start. He is now tied with Jeremiah Sirles for the most starts by a Nebraska offensive lineman in a season. Benhart was the only Husker offensive lineman to start all 12 games this season.
  • Players participating in today’s senior day introductions included, WR Billy Kemp, S Isaac Gifford, LB Nick Henrich, LB Luke Reimer, LB Luke Reimer, CB Quinton Newsome, RB Josh Fleeks, S Omar Brown, WR Ty Hahn, S Ashton Hausmann, RB Anthony Grant, LB Garrett Snodgrass, RB Trevin Luben, S Phalen Sanford, PK Timmy Bleekrode, FB Braden Klover, LS Marco Ortiz, TE John Goodwin, LB Grant Tagge, OG Ethan Piper, OG Nouri (Ragaller) Nouilli, OL Keegan Menning, DL Jacob Herbek, LS Camden Witucki, DE Blaise Gunnerson.