4-0. For the inconsistency and uncertainty with the Huskers, the team is undefeated heading into conference play. Lots of players saw playing time as the Huskers cycled many in to keep them fresh in the altitude of Laramie, Wyoming.
First Down: Steady Diet of Rex…Again – I don’t know if Rex Burkhead is the best player on the team, but he has been after the first four games. 170 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the night for Rex. It just seems the offense performs its best when Rex is the focal point. Some of the play calls early in the game were peculiar. It’s hard to knock Taylor Martinez when he’s being asked to make plays that don’t suit him. The one series where he made three incomplete passes, that weren’t even close, probably had a number of Husker fans shaking their heads in disgust. The following series, Taylor made good plays and the Huskers had a great drive for the touchdown. The offense should not be centered around Taylor. It does not need to be. Yes, he is an explosive threat, but this offense is at its best when Rex is playing as prominent a role as Taylor.
Second Down: Play Four Quarters – The Huskers make great halftime adjustments, and have dominated the third quarter this season, but consistency is not there throughout the game. There are factors that play into that like a new offense, and injuries and newcomers on defense. However, I think Husker fans would be feeling better heading into conference play if there was consistency on both sides of the ball. Fumbles continue to be a problem. Nebraska has fumbled it 13 times so far this season. By comparison, Wisconsin has fumbled it 0 times.
Third Down: Blackshirts Won’t Be Issued Yet – There were some breakdowns in the secondary, and Wyoming’s receivers helped matters by dropping a number of passes, but I thought it was a solid performance by the defense. When you’re missing an All-American in every game, it is going to hurt. Glad Alfonzo Dennard saw some playing time to get him ready for the Wisconsin game. Jared Crick should be fine for next week as well, and just in time. The youngsters in the secondary are going to make some mistakes, but hopefully the reps and experience they have received will help them out the rest of the season. Next week will be the best defense the Huskers will field so far this season.
Fourth Down: Beyond the Stats – Like I said, Nebraska is 4-0. Not only that, the team is healthy and seems to be establishing an identity on offense. Mission accomplished coming out of the non-conference portion of the schedule. The newcomers are getting into games now which will help the team in conference play. It may add to some inconsistency now, but it could swing a game in Nebraska’s favor down the road. A healthy Blackshirts unit, an above-average special teams, players getting reps early in the season, and a great running game…Nebraska will have a chance to win every game this season. Every game, except…
Looking Ahead: I think nearly every college football writer/commentator will be picking Wisconsin to beat Nebraska. I think most people I’ve talked to about the game have picked Wisconsin to win. And me? Nebraska will have to play four quarters of good football to have a chance to win. Can that happen? I don’t know. I know they can in spurts. I think Nebraska has played the tougher schedule, will be prepared, and will play its best game yet this season. Still, I think Nebraska loses. I will be overjoyed if I’m wrong.