“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
An ugly 42 points if I ever saw it. Nebraska is still ranked 10th in the AP poll. I’m surprised by this because at one point during last night’s game I thought Nebraska didn’t deserve to be ranked. It’s still only been two games, but I think Nebraska should be closer to 20.
First Down: A Tale of Two Taylors – One of the most deceptive stat lines will be Taylor Martinez’s from last night. 385 total yards, two rushing touchdowns and one passing touchdown. If you didn’t watch the game, you’d think he was the Player of the Game. He is still trying to grasp a new offense, a new offensive coordinator and is operating behind a young and inexperienced offensive line. Nevertheless, he had two interceptions and two fumbles that Nebraska managed to recover. His passes are heaves downfield that end up being jump balls. Nebraska’s WR’s had to routinely adjust their routes, and make plays, to account for Taylor’s bad passes. In the first half, I was wondering how much worse it could be if Brion Carnes was at QB. I’m glad Nebraska still has two more games before conference play begins. It will give Taylor, and the offensive line, more reps with the new offense which will hopefully make them better. Every time he winds up to pass now, I expect bad things.
Second Down: Still The Best Defensive Line? – A lot of people who cover college football were calling Nebraska’s defensive line the best, or one of the best, in the game. Would you say that after last night? No way. They were getting owned by Fresno State’s inexperienced offensive line for most of the game. No sacks and no tackles for losses. If Fresno State’s offensive line does that to Nebraska’s defensive line, what about Wisconsin, Ohio State, or Michigan State? It will be ugly for Nebraska. In recent years, the defense has been able to compensate for the offensive inefficiency. If it can’t do that, it will be a bad season.
Third Down: Thank You, Lavonte David – How bad could the game have been if not for the defensive play of Lavonte David? He played well, like usual. If Lavonte David were to get hurt, that would cost the Huskers some wins. I don’t like to think about that, but there isn’t much depth at linebacker. Plus, the Huskers have had some injury issues at the position. The Huskers need Lavonte David playing well if they want to have a winning season.
Fourth Down: Ameer Abdullah, Difference Maker – Fresno State was poised to recapture the game after scoring a touchdown. And then, Ameer Abdullah returned the kickoff for a touchdown. His ability to return kicks gives Nebraska a much needed weapon in that facet of the game. It’s a huge advantage with field position. He was also Rex Burkhead’s backup for the game. The true freshman is emerging.
Looking Ahead: Does this team have the ability to win nine games? Outside of the Wisconsin game, you’d say that the Huskers have a good chance to win every one of their remaining games. Of course, they could also lose any number of those games. I’m still holding steady at 9-3, confident in the coaching ability of Bo Pelini and his staff. At some point, Alfonzo Dennard will return from injury and help the Blackshirts. It was nice to see the Huskers face adversity and comeback to win. You’d hope that would help the team out down the road.