I’ve worked at the same place for the last 16 years, and I’ve built a solid reputation of having a diet that puts my almost 3-year-old to shame. I’m known as a chicken connoisseur, and by that, I mean a chicken nugget connoisseur. Many newer people who want to get a semblance of what I am like as a person, get told to ask me about how many chicken nuggets I’ve consumed since I’ve been working there. The reaction to my answer is always the same, an impressive disgust and wonderment on how I’m alive. My legit estimate is between 35,000-40,000. So, I know a thing or two about egg laying.
Nebraska’s trip to East Lansing was unfortunately an egg laying that it could ill afford. Not because of the loftiest goal of winning the B1G West is now all but out of reach, but because bowl eligibility still hasn’t happened. The momentum of October has come to a screeching halt, particularly against a team that has struggled worse than Nebraska has. This should have been a win, but a lack of focus and discipline with taking care of the football plagued Nebraska...again.
Good teams limit the egg laying, whether overall or within games. Nebraska is still on a really steep learning curve with a ton of make-shift pieces, so the growing pains will still be there. There were plenty of egg-layers out there, including the referees, but the golden goose in this instance was Heinrich Haarberg. His three turnovers were the reasons why Nebraska didn’t put more points up on the board.
Luckily for Nebraska, the chickens didn’t come home to roost as the defense gave up zero points despite his three turnovers. The only opportunity was a missed field goal attempt on Sparty’s last drive. This game could have been a blowout, as multiple teams have cashed in off of turnovers.
Nebraska has three games left, and they seem to be as equally winnable as they are losable. (Duh, right?) All three opponents have the capability to lay eggs, as well as show the college football world we aren’t all that and a bag of chips either. Maryland hasn’t won in a month, Wisconsin just lost to Indiana as its primary egg laying, and Iowa is well...capable of paying Brian Ferentz about $100,000 per point scored.
The focus is now turned to a team that has been laying eggs since October, including two big ones against Illinois and Northwestern. Testudo (yes that is the Terrapins name) has never been known to be a “2nd half of the season” team, so Nebraska can hopefully get over the bowl line Saturday. Oh, and by the way, turtles do lay eggs, so it only seems fitting that 2 teams that have laid ones recently get to see each other to decide who goes bowling first.
I believe that if Nebraska has a shot to win Saturday it must do a couple of things. Continue to play solid defense, get better special teams play, specifically from the punt/punt return game, and finish no worse than -1 in the turnover battle. Anytime that Nebraska has not followed this particular recipe, it has laid an egg. Minnesota, Colorado, Michigan and now Michigan State, with the turnovers being the biggest of all eggs laid.
Saturday is probably the best shot to win game number 6, to become bowl eligible. This is the original goal for the season, anything else will be seen as a failure and another egg laid by the football team. It will only feel worse by being so close so early, only to fail in the final month. Previous teams haven’t even had a shot, so it’s imperative to finish the job, and soon. Go Big Red!