Well, that was stupid. Nebraska football suffered one of its worst losses in program history last week by spotting the Northern Illinois Huskies 14 points courtesy of a pair of pick-sixes from QB Tanner Lee. Lee, with seven interceptions on the season, leads the FBS in that category. “Leads” in this case is sort of the same as seeing “positive” on a medical test. It’s bad, kids, it’s real bad. I won’t bother putting this in the keys to this game because it should be pretty obvious that Nebraska is not good enough to overcome so many turnovers.
Nebraska’s offensive line was terrible, beat up and terrible again. Lee threw into double coverage, behind receivers and even to the other team. I-back Mikale Wilbon couldn’t find any room for most of the day. Husker receivers struggled to get off the line of scrimmage and struggled to catch the ball. Which, as we all know, is the chief responsibility of a receiver during a pass play. Nebraska’s defense was pretty damn good. The only touchdown they gave up was certainly at a bad time but Nebraska’s offense got the ball back more than once after Northern Illinois took a 4th quarter lead. It’s been a week of consternation in Husker Nation (rhyming ‘nation’ with ‘nation’, I’m a genius) both inside and outside of Memorial Stadium. Can Nebraska turn it around against Rutgers? Mike Riley better hope so because his lifeline was just let go by Nebraska today. Anyway, let’s do this.
This is for you, offensive line. They’ve showed fire this season and they’ve showed whatever the opposite of fire is in sports. The o-line needs to come out every single game ready to play and give QB Tanner Lee the help that he needs.
Run the Ball, Guy
Nebraska’s offensive line, not to mention Tre Bryant’s lingering knee injury, has made this easier said than done. However, Nebraska absolutely has to get something going on the ground to be successful. Danny Langsdorf needs to be more creative with the run game. Nebraska has a lot of runs out of a lot of formations but they stick to just a few way too often. They’re a predictable offense and getting a creative run game moving is the first step toward getting the season going the right direction.
People in the football program need to start being held more accountable for bad performances. I fully understand letting someone get through a misstep or two but entire games? Entire seasons? No, there need to be real consequences when people struggle for long periods of time. The offensive line was missing assignments all game long, allowing sacks, hits on the QB, tackles for loss and still the same five guys step out onto the field every drive. If they’re not doing their job, they need to be pulled. That goes for players and coaches.
Three Stats –
13 – losses under head coach Mike Riley through 2.25 seasons at Nebraska
213 – Total yards given up by Nebraska’s defense against NIU
2.4 – Nebraska running backs’ yards-per-carry against NIU
Three Guarantees –
- A close game due to Rutgers elite rush defense.
- The elderly couple in front of me forgetting how much a Runza costs again.
- A Patrick O’Brien appearance.
Rutgers 24 – Nebraska 31
NOTE : Just as I was about to hit “publish” on this week’s edition of PtV, the big news came out of Nebraska’s athletic office that Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst had been fired by the university. Surprising but not shocking news to this writer’s ears. Most people will peg Eichorst’s firing on Nebraska’s 1-2 start on the football field and especially the loss to Northern Illinois last week. Those are certainly factors but the move strikes me as bigger than one, or even three, games. Eichorst’s leadership style is…interesting…and if his bosses don’t like it, that’s all you need. Agree or disagree with the style, Eichorst leaves coaches out to dry during the season when questions about jobs come up. Eichorst gave the green light to Friday night games much to the chagrin of Nebraska’s academic staff. There was also Black Friday Gate which surely factored in to the decision. We’ll find out more soon. No matter what happens next, Mike Riley better start winning some football games.