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Report Card: Colorado Golden Buffaloes 36, Huskers 14

The Huskers gift-wrapped this game for the Buffs, who capitalized. Merry Christmas.

Nebraska v Colorado Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

I really thought Nebraska could open the season 4-0. I really did. And in my pollyanna world, I see glimpses of why I felt that way. I see Nebraska averaging 5.4 yards per carry. I see a defense that forced eight sacks, eleven total tackles for loss and four quarterback hurries.

And then reality hits when I see seven turnovers in two games by quarterback Jeff Sims, and eight total on the season. That’s the difference between 2-0 and 0-2. That’s not winning football. It’s the worst turnover situation in the nation. It doesn’t matter how talented you are; when you cough up the ball, it’s tough to beat anybody.

I’m sure some Colorado fans are going to take offense that I’m not giving them credit for their win. To be fair, Colorado dominated the fourth quarter to seal the game. But Nebraska gift-wrapped this game for the Buffs; the three fumbles by Nebraska were completely unforced errors. Even the Buffs interception was a gift wrapped throw, though Cam’ron Silmon-Craig made the play.

If Nebraska wants to have something to look forward to after Thanksgiving weekend, something has to change. We love to make fun of Iowa’s offense, but guess what... the Hawkeyes have scored 44 points this season; that’s 20 more than the Huskers. And Iowa is six points behind the “Drive for 325” rate that Brian Ferentz needs to keep his job.

It’s almost enough to make a Husker fan storm the field and yell “There’s No Hope! Eff everything!” Or just start focusing only on volleyball.

With that, it’s onto the report card, and as always, your feedback is welcome in the comments.

QB: I understand what Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield see in Jeff Sims; he generally throws a nice ball and is pretty elusive running the ball. But they also know that it doesn’t matter when he’s repeatedly coughing up the ball. That 57 yard touchdown run was nice, but it’s not worth the minus seven turnovers he has. If this continues, Rhule has to make the tough decision and put someone else in at quarterback. Is it Heinrich Haarberg or Chubba Purdy? That’s for the coaches to decide which one will protect the ball best and deliver the ball to someone else to make a play. I mean, if Spencer Petras can get Iowa to a bowl game, Nebraska should be able to find someone who won’t blow the game. Grade: F

I-Back: Officially, the last fumble of the game was credited to Gabe Ervin, but I go back to what Fox’s Joel Klatt pointed out. That’s still on the quarterback. Ervin was fine for the most part, as was Rahmir Johnson, if only they had a little bit of support up front. Grade: C-

Receivers: Billy Kemp got into the mix this week as did Thomas Fidone finally. But Nebraska is going to need to get the freshmen involved in this offense, with Isaiah Garcia-Castenada out for the season with an ACL injury. Grade: C-

Offensive Line: The left side of the line struggled mightily against the Buffs, and I do have to wonder if Ben Scott had any issues with the snaps getting fumbled. Grade: D-

Defensive Line: OK, now let’s have some good news, where Cam Lenhardt had a nice coming-out party in the first half of the game. They controlled the line of scrimmage most of the game before the game got out of hand, and that wasn’t their fault at all. Grade: B+

Linebackers: If you had to look up Mikai Gbayor when you saw the back of his jersey after one of his plays, join the crowd. (Wait, did Nick Heinrich switch his number back to 42? Nope!) Fortunately, I don’t think Gus Johnson noticed him during the game because he would have butchered the pronounciation. There was a lot of good stuff early in the game from the defense. Grade: B+

Secondary: There was a no-fly zone for most of the game in Boulder, which meant that Sherdur Sanders had to run for his life quite a bit in the first half. Yeah, they ran out of gas and eventually Travis Hunter happened...but it was a good performance. Grade: B+

Special Teams: It was not a good kicking day with a doinked field goal attempt by freshman Tand several short punts by the normally reliable Brian Buschini. Still believe that Buschini got roughed up on that punt. Grade: D

Overall: D Complicating the quarterback situation is the status of Jeff Sims’ ankle. Or maybe that actually simplifies it, because if Sims can’t go next week, it eliminates the need to decide whether Sims should go next week. Former Husker Clester Johnson had a thought that perhaps Sims should follow the Luke McCaffrey career path, once his ankle heals sufficiently.

He’s got good size, he’s fast and elusive as a runner. There’s probably better ways to use Sims on the field than as a quarterback, considering his turnover issues at the position. Receiver would seem to be one option, considering the need for someone to step up there. Matt Rhule needs to figure out a quarterback who isn’t going make nearly as many costly mistakes, because there’s a strong case to be made from the first seven quarters of the season that Nebraska could easily be 2-0 without the turnovers.


How would you grade the Huskers performance against Colorado?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    A - Everything a Colorado fan could hope for.
    (66 votes)
  • 0%
    B - Probably need to have this option, only for consistency purposes.
    (4 votes)
  • 7%
    C - Great defense, offense needs work
    (44 votes)
  • 53%
    D - Disappointing to waste that defensive effort in this game.
    (329 votes)
  • 28%
    ‘F Everything. Go Big Red.
    (175 votes)
618 votes total Vote Now