How are you feeling, Husker Nation? Afraid to feel excited about the upcoming game this weekend? I understand the feeling. Just as it seems Nebraska is about to turn a corner, in a game, in the season, the team finds away to crush your hope for a bowl game. Yes, Husker fans, a bowl game is about all the team can play for at this point. We saw the chance at a division title dashed against Wisconsin. We saw the chance of not wearing a paper bag over our collective heads dashed against Ohio State. We probably saw the chance of Mike Riley returning in 2018 dashed in overtime against Northwestern. But don’t worry, Husker Nation, because I’m here for you.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers will row, row, row their boat up to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers in a game that will likely go down in history as having happened. Both teams are 4-5, both teams are probably more talented than their records and both teams have to hear about PJ Fleck all week. What was once the game for the greatest trophy in college football is now a game that both teams need to win in order to play beyond November. How can the Huskers be sure to …ugh… *escape* Minnesota with a win? Follow me, won’t you?
Return of Run the Ball Guy
Minnesota is giving up over 159 yards per game on the ground. Nebraska is running for like 30 yards per game or something dumb in Big Ten play. Although the coaches have a lot of belief in quarterback Tanner Lee, the Husker staff needs to keep the ball on the ground. It looked like Devine Ozigbo was going to get something going in the first half against Northwestern a week ago, but the coaches went away from the run game quickly in the second half in favor of Lee’s arm. Overtime, for example, was 4 straight passing plays. We all know how that went. I could go on a rant at this point about the coaches having no idea how to manage their personnel, knowing their own strengths, etc. But why? Just run the ball, man.
Manage Your Personnel, Know Your Own Strengths, Etc.
We finally saw Devine Ozigbo get a start at running back but there’s a caveat. Tre Bryant, Mikale Wilbon and Jaylin Bradley were all hurt to varying degrees so it actually wasn’t possible for the coaches to keep Ozigbo on the sideline. Tanner Lee was back to struggling and throwing interceptions (three more this week) but we didn’t see even a glimpse of Patrick O’Brien. The starting cornerbacks continue to struggle but we still haven’t seen any back-ups even come in for a few snaps. We’re still seeing the offensive line struggle, receivers drop passes, defenders out of place…it’s frustrating. If the coaches want to be able to point to next season as a turning point, let’s see one competent outing this season. Minnesota gives you a good opportunity to do that.
Score Points on Offense
The offense stalls out in the red zone a lot. Not being able to run the ball will do that to you. The Huskers have gotten the tight ends more involved over the last few weeks which can definitely help you inside the 20 but Nebraska still can’t put anything together near the end zone. Find a way to turn that around (run the ball) this week and score 30 points for the first time in conference play. Run the ball.
- 13 – interceptions by Tanner Lee this season
- 3.8 – yards per carry for Minnesota’s run game
- 7 – touchdown catches for Minnesota’s leading receiver Tyler Johnson
Three Guarantees – Commentator Phrases Edition
- “Mike Riley is a great coach.”
- “PJ Fleck, players just respond to this guy.”
- “Both teams are fighting for bowl eligibility.”
Nebraska 17 – Minnesota 9