Texas Tech 31, Huskers 10. It almost seems comical now that numerous commentators in the national sports media were talking up Nebraska for a BCS game, and Ndamukong Suh to be in the hunt for the Heisman. Lots of thoughts and ramblings…
One play summed up the game. First quarter and it’s the second time Nebraska has the ball. Because of a nice punt return by Niles Paul, Nebraska has it in Texas Tech territory. Fifth play of the drive, Zac Lee passes the ball to Paul behind the line of scrimmage. Paul drops the ball. (And how many drops does he have the past two games now?) Unfortunately, Lee’s pass was a backwards pass, which means Paul’s drop is a fumble. My friend and I watching it live saw it right away and were yelling for some Nebraska player to jump on the ball. Nope. They all stood there while a couple of Texas Tech defensive players went after the ball. One of them picked it up and returned over 80 yards for a touchdown.
Nebraska’s offense had no clue or plan. On the replay of Paul’s drop you can see it is obviously a backwards pass. Why doesn’t he understand this? He must know a dropped backwards pass is a fumble. When he drops the ball he keeps running, showing to everyone around him how frustrated he is to have dropped the ball. Other Huskers are standing there just doing…nothing. Meanwhile, Texas Tech is running down the field scoring a touchdown and basically ending the game. In the first quarter. On the road.
What happened to Zac Lee? Where is the guy who looked great the first two games? My friend and I were calling for Cody Green in the second quarter. Granted, I think Shawn Watson hasn’t done Lee any favors with an unimaginative offensive plan and play calling. It’s like a redux of the Callahan years.
And really, if all Lee is going to do is throw passes within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage and run the ball, don’t you think Cody Green can do the same thing but better? He’s a much better runner than Lee. It doesn’t seem the offense is going beyond page two of the playbook. Throw the ball to a WR at the line of scrimmage, hand the ball off to a RB, run the ball on a designed QB keep, repeat.
I tweeted this during the game, “Lots of penalties, lots of clock wasted, lots of cluelessness…your 2009 Huskers offense!” Seriously, how slow can the Huskers operate on offense? Are they trying to be that slow in the play calling?
Yes, Rex Burkhead is out and Roy Helu Jr didn’t seem at 100%, but can’t Nebraska still be better than what it has shown with the run?
Offensive line isn’t that stout.
It’s the Cody Green era now at Nebraska. Cody may make mistakes, but his upside is much better than Lee’s. Especially if the offense is what it is the past two games. He’d also do better if his receivers wouldn’t drop the ball. Green also seemed to operate the offense at a faster pace than Lee.
I don’t think the defense played that badly. The first drive of the game Texas Tech marched down the field and scored. Tech converted some crucial third downs on the drive, including the catch the Tech receiver made in double coverage that had been deflected by the defensive back. Tech scores on the drive and gets some confidence and momentum.
The defensive line was really getting a lot of pressure on the Tech QB in the first quarter. They had three sacks alone in the quarter, but I think momentum just took most of the Huskers out of the game after the fumble return for a touchdown. At one point, it seemed the defensive line players were the only ones who showed up to play. Unfortunately, Ndamukong Suh and Jared Crick can’t play ever position on the field. If your offense is giving you nothing, it’s hard to keep going out there and doing everything you can to keep the game close. At some point, a good opponent is going to make a breakthrough on offense. (Remember the Virginia Tech game?) Unlike every other team Nebraska has played, Texas Tech can put up points. At halftime the game seemed over because there were no signs the Huskers had the offensive wherewithal to overcome a 24-3 deficit. The Blackshirts did their part in the second half for a comeback, but the offense did not.
Blackshirts are probably gone for the season. Bo didn’t seem too happy when asked about the blackshirts after the game.
Shawn Watson has said the offense is about reacting to the defense and taking what they give you. Really? The offense is about letting the other team dictate your strategy and identity? So, let the defense dictate you play into your own weaknesses? And, what about other factors, like the weather? (Never mind, we know the answer to that.) The offense has no identity, just like the Callahan years. We have no reliable play.
People talked about the Huskers offense not needing fixing when Callahan was fired. We put up points on a bad Kansas State team and a bad Colorado team to end the season. That was the barometer, apparently. (Oh, we were also 1-1 in those games to mediocre teams.)
Ultimately, a top team will be able to overcome mistakes. It was the first quarter when the fumble return for a touchdown put Texas Tech up 14-0. Plenty of time for the Huskers to comeback, but it did take most of the Huskers out of their game.
Since 2004, the Huskers are 4-12 against Big 12 South teams. Take away Baylor, Nebraska is 1-12. Well, now they are 1-13.
2 turnovers. 12 penalties. If you are trying to blame the refs for this debacle, check yourself.
At least the Huskers gained more yards on offense than Texas Tech, right?
Offense looks inept, the team doesn’t look like a Top 25 team all of a sudden, and now you wonder if they are a legitimate contender for the Big 12 North. Some team has to be the sacrificial lamb to Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game.
Guess the Missouri win wasn’t the signature win.