College Football

Path to Victory: Nebraska at Purdue

The Nebraska Cornhuskers are a 5-point underdog to Purdue this weekend. Let that sink in for a little bit. It makes sense, it’s probably right, but it still hurts to think about how far Nebraska has fallen in the last decade and a half. Why is Nebraska a 5-point underdog to Purdue? Purdue’s offense hasn’t scored a touchdown in 8 quarters. Nebraska’s defense has played extremely well against “lesser” offensive talent. Illinois, Rutgers and Northern Illinois struggled to move the ball against a salty Husker defense. Since then, Nebraska’s defense hasn’t forced a punt in a million drives or so. After Nebraska tied the game at 17, on a defensive play no less, Wisconsin put 21 unanswered on the Huskers. Ohio State scored on 8 of 9 drives two weeks ago in Lincoln. The only defensive stop came late in the 4th quarter when both teams were using back-up players.

Is Nebraska a less talented team than Purdue? No, not by any measurable standard that we have all decided is correct (recruiting rankings). Plus, all the bad players are the previous staff’s fault anyway, he writes in a comedic tone. So, why the ‘dog status? Coaching, y’all. The perception, locally and nationally, is that Purdue coach Jeff Brohm will have his team ready to fight hard against a reeling Nebraska football team. Also, Nebraska losing in 2015 in West Lafayette probably doesn’t help.

There is hope, at least in this humble opinion. The Huskers are coming off of a much-needed bye week. It gives the chance for Nebraska to become physically and, more importantly, emotionally healthy for the first time since the season started. How can Nebraska hope to win this game against the upstart Purdue Boilermakers? Well, Purdue lost to Rutgers last week so let’s just say there’s a way.

Stay Focused

Nebraska fans have largely turned the page to next season. Let’s hope the players don’t have the same attitude. It’s hard to say why Nebraska had so little fight against Ohio State two weeks ago. Was Nebraska listening to all of the outside noise about the talent, coaching and team cohesion gap? It certainly looked like it. Nebraska’s dumb media/fan fishbowl has to be a daunting thing to ignore but the coaches and team have to find a way. You’ve got five games left in the season so play and coach like you want to win them all.

Husker message boards.

Wrap It Up

Defense, I’m talking to you. Stop trying to Hit Stick the opponent: they’re just as big as you. Use the fundamentals that, I hope, the coaches are teaching you and prevent a 3-yard run from becoming a 15-yard run.

Step One – Fewer Turnovers, Step Two – ???, Step Three – Touchdowns

Quarterback Tanner Lee has had a turnaround since the beginning of the season. His favorite player has completely switched from Opponent DB to JD Spielman and it has started to get the offense on the right track. Now, the missing link is getting the ball into the end zone. Lee completed 60.5% of his passes against Ohio State to the tune of only 14 Husker points. However, the Huskers were only able to get 44 yards on the ground. Wait…maybe run the ball guy was right…? Oh no.

Three Stats

  • 11 – Yards rushing for back-up QB Patrick O’Brien. It was also Nebraska’s longest run of the day.
  • 24 – Number of points scored by Nebraska’s offense in the last two games combined.
  • 12 – Points Purdue scored against Rutgers last week.

Three Guarantees

  • References to Nebraska/Purdue 2015. A lot of them.
  • Devine Ozigbo will. start. this. game.
  • Husker fans adding a UCF hat to go with the Youngstown State sweater which goes over the Ohio University t-shirt. Also there’s probably a Big Eight Champions poster nearby.

Prediction

Nebraska 24 – Purdue 10

 

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