Wow, what a defensive performance on Saturday against Michigan State! The blackshirts held Sparty to just three points and left their fans calling for their offensive coordinator to come up with a better game plan after the 24-3 Nebraska win on Saturday.

The defense spent extra time in film during the week and you can see that it really paid off as they knew the routes and exactly where Spartan quarterback Kirk Cousins wanted to go with the ball. Cousins was throwing the ball up just hoping for some pass intereference calls he said after the game and that gives major props to the entire defense. The line got some pressure in the second half and the db’s especially Alfonzo Dennard played lights out. Having Dennard back at full strength is a big boost for the defense.

One thing I really didn’t care to much for on defense was the standing up on third down. It seemed that they either got no push, or when the Spartan line got knocked back, the guys would push so far past Cousins they would have to come back around to make a tackle on him. I see the point why Carl decided to go with it and that would be to confuse the MSU line and have stunts work with guys coming around the blocks. I’m not sure it would have worked so good had the db’s not locked down on the wide outs all day long though.

On offense, what more can you say about Rex Burkhead? The Junior running back had a career high 35 carries while racking up 130 rushing yards, 157 all-purpose yard and three touchdowns. Rex continues to be the workhouse of the running backs as offensive coordinator Tim Beck has figured out that is how the Huskers are going to win games this season. Burkhead always seems to get the big first downs by getting those extra yards and rarely does he fumble. Rex is showing why he could be one of the all time greats at Nebraska.

The offense wasn’t pretty as the Huskers led just 10-3 at half time but two long drives in the third quarter separated the two teams. Nebraska’s two third-quarter possessions covered 169 yards on 26 plays and 11:06 of the clock with both resulting in touchdowns. The offensive line asked to just run the ball when the team came in at half time and they got the job done as they wore out the Spartan defensive line. Four yards a carry is always good when the chains keep moving down the field.

So now the Huskers find themselves controlling their own destiny in the Big 10. Win out and you are in the Big 10 championship game. It won’t come easy as they still have to face Michigan and Penn State but with the defense coming along and the offense doing enough to win I like their chances.

@NebSports


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I won’t talk much about the Minnesota game on Saturday as it was basically one half of play and then a glorified scrimmage in the second half. It was kind of hard to see how the team improved as the Gophers are one of the worse D1 teams right now. Things that I did like was getting Rex going early on in the game. Pound the rock to Burkhead and good things are going to happen. The quick bubble / jail break screens on offense were nice to see as well. Hopefully we see a couple of those attempts to Jamal Turner against Michigan State. The one play that stood out for most was the double reverse to Kenny Bell however. Bell took the ball and raced 80+ yards down the sidelines making the last two defenders miss and he scored the longest touchdown run my a Freshman in school history.

The defense played well all the way around I thought. A few missed tackles but that will happen in game. Again it was the same case of the Minnesota offense just not being very good so it was hard to see how well the guys improved on the defensive side of the ball.

The 41-14 win was nice to see and it could have easily been 60 something to 14 but you could tell things slowed way down in the 4th quarter. Good win coming off a bye week and kept the momentum going into the Michigan State game.

Now it’s time we look ahead towards Michigan State. The team leading the division and fresh off a upset of Wisconsin. The Spartans have been playing good ball this season and with a seasoned quarterback like Kirk Cousins, they are expecting a trip the Rose Bowl. Nebraska is about the only team standing in their way of that Rose Bowl trip. Nebraska is still in the hunt for a Rose Bowl birth but it all comes down to Saturday. Gotta beat Sparty and then probably win out the rest of the way in my opinion.

So what are the keys to beating Mich St? I think it will the offensive line and running backs picking up the multiple blitzes that Michigan State will be using. Sparty blitzes something like 60% of the downs so the guys on offense are going to have to be quick and Taylor is going to have to get rid of the ball quickly to avoid the sacks. Hopefully we see a lot of Rex getting the ball early on and some more of the diamond formation which puts a lot of speed for the defense to worry about. Guys are simply going to have to make plays on offense whether it is catching a wide open pass or keeping a simple block going without getting called for holding.

On defense, it is all about stopping the rushing attack which I think Nebraska will have good success doing. Coach Pelini usually does not have a problem coming up with a game plan to stop a pro style attack like the Spartans run. Cousins is not as mobile as other quarterbacks the defense has played so don’t expect much scrambling out of him. I think the defensive ends will be pretty active as Carl and Bo should not have to worry about the rushing quarterback and they should be allowed to push straight through the line rather than have to contain the edge on every play.

I expect Mich St to really try and run the ball. Look for LaVonte David to have a big game at linebacker as he racks up the tackles on the running backs. When Cousins does attempt to go deep, the db’s are going to have to be in position and not be getting caught looking in at the running backs.

Nebraska is currently a four point favorite in the game. I’m going to predict a 35-30 game with Nebraska coming out on top and keeping their Big 10 championship hopes alive.

@NebSports

 


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Well Husker fans, the team is sitting at 4-1 on the season and 1-1 in Big10 play but there are still plenty of questions to be answered with the team and coaching staff but lets be happy for the victory and the way things played out on Saturday night.

Things didn’t start off good in the first half as the Huskers almost looked lost once again on both sides of the ball. Ohio State used up half the clock on their opening drive in the first quarter as the defensive line could not make the initial tackle.

Austin Cassidy almost stopped the bleeding towards the end of the first quarter but was unable to haul in what looked to be like an easy interception had he not jumped for the ball. Instead the Buckeyes scored would later score a td on the drive and go up 10-3.

As for the the offense in the first half, they pretty much sucked it up. Especially the offensive line. The line just couldn’t get any holes opened up for Taylor Martinez or Rex Burkhead.

I also have to mention the stupid play calling on the last drive of the first half for the Huskers. There was 40 seconds left in the half and 2nd down. Coach Beck calls for Taylor to throw over the middle of the field which I thought was stupid. Sure Kyler Reed was open but Taylor over threw him and the Buckeyes picked off the ball and then went down and kicked a field goal right before half time. Basically gave OSU three points when Beck could have easily called a run play and went into half time.

The second half of the game is where things started clicking for Nebraska. LaVonte David stripped Miller of the ball with eight minutes left in the third quarter. Miller had picked up the first down to extend the drive before David stripped the ball away. Martinez would then score two plays later out of the diamond formation and you could see the momentum starting to pick up for the Big Red.

On Ohio State’s next drive, Miller would roll his ankle and be done for the game. The Buckeyes could not move the ball with the backup quarterback and it seemed that the offensive line, Martinez and Burkhead could do nothing wrong after that.

It was first down after first down for Martinez and Burkhead. Martinez would also hit his open receivers including Burkhead on checkdown plays. Burkhead made one defender look silly as he took a swing pass to the end zone that tied up the game in the fourth quarter.

It was awesome to see Stanley Jean-Baptiste’s interception. He actually turned around and looked for the ball and had perfect position to pick it off. Great play for a guy that had only been playing corner back for three weeks.

It was a win, and a nice bounce back win for the guys as they head into the bye week. Time to get a little bit of rest and heal up some of those little injuries. Up next will be a road game at Minnesota on Oct 22nd. Gotta win those road games and pick up another conference win!

@Nebsports


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I’m finally back from Las Vegas after attending a conference and staying over the weekend. Had some fun at the Bellagio Sportsbook on Saturday as I watched football all day long and wagered on games. Came out far ahead on wagers and yes, that included the Wisconsin vs Nebraska game. I didn’t have good thoughts heading into the game for Nebraska but also didn’t think they would look as bad as they did.

I thought the game turned in the second quarter when Ciante Evans barely missed an interception and Wisconsin completed the a long pass play. Had Evans been able to pick it off, Nebraska would have got the ball back with a little bit of momentum and it would have kept the Badgers from putting another touchdown on the board. Instead, the Badgers score, and offensive coordinator Tim Beck decides hey, lets start throwing the ball 15 out of 21 plays even though we have a stud running back that can move the chains. Yep, you all know how the passes went with with a total of three interceptions. Including one on the first play of the second half that was a stupid play call in my opinion. No reason to come out from halftime and throw the ball.

Beck and company need to slow down up on the press box and think things over a little bit. Stop trying to score 21 quick points with the way the offense is currently going. Slow things down and let the guys actually think the plays through.

The defense played as I expected them too. Russell Wilson and company did anything they wanted to. Wilson knew exactly where to throw the ball and his receivers did a great job of out running the coverage or sitting down and making a nice grab in front of the Nebraska defenders. It seemed like the Huskers tried to get pressure with some blitzes but besides the first drive of the game, they were not working and it left linebackers and safeties trying to run all over the play defending.

I hope things get simplified a little bit for both the offense and defense and they come out and have a better performance on Saturday against Ohio State. There is no reason that the Huskers cannot win the game by 10 points which is the current point spread. Move the ball by handing it off to Rex and throwing some quick screens to Jamal Turner. Screw this chucking the ball 40 yards down the field in to double coverage crap. Four yards at a time with Rex and 8-10 yards a time with Tuner until the Buckeyes can actually stop it.

Prediction, Nebraska 21 Ohio State 14


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