Blog Entry

Wrecked: Texas Tech 31, Nebraska 10

Posted on: October 17, 2009 7:04 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2009 9:08 pm
We're six games into the season, and Husker Nation still doesn't know the identity of this Nebraska team and exactly what they can accomplish.

Following a last-minute meltdown on the road against Virginia Tech, a thrilling rally against Mizzou in a monsoon, and three convincing wins against Sun Belt opponents, Husker fans could point at this team and, despite all its scars and blemishes, feel somewhat good about them.  Yet, while most felt that the VT loss was as respectable as the Mizzou win was dramatic, many question marks remained.  There were those who thought that the rain-soaked game in Columbia, despite the thrill it gave much of the nation, obscured several glaring concerns spiraling around this Nebraska team, not unlike like the sheets of rain that pelted them last Thursday.

So, as much as we don't know about this version of the Cornhuskers, perhaps it's easier to talk about the things we DO know about them:

Their offense, when not playing Florida Atlantic or Louisiana-Lafayette, can be downright offensive.  Zac Lee is wildly inconsistent, not only in his throws but in his decision-making on the field.  While I no longer reside in Nebraska, I can only imagine the swelling opinion, correct or not, that will be resonating throught the state: Cody Green needs to play more, if not start altogether.  As it turned out, Pelini somewhat agreed as I wrote this, inserting Green into the offense in the second half, though it was far too little, far too late (a lone touchdown pass to Khiry Cooper following a near-interception). 

It's clear that Roy Helu Jr. cannot do everything and, while I feel that there is no room for excuses, the loss of Rex Burkhead as the number-two I-back was more costly than initially imagined.  Additionally, it seems that while a receiver or two might step up one week, no receiver has stepped up consistently.  The announcers today hit the nail on the head when they remarked that Nebraska's receiving corps is essentially wide-receiver-by-committee.

The Huskers' defense, just rewarded their Blackshirts by Pelini, have a very unsettling habit of playing soft towards the end of a half; they did it most notably against Virginia Tech, in the first half against in Missouri and also in the first half against Texas Tech.  Exactly what was Carl Pelini thinking at that point, calling a prevent defense and having his defenders play so far off of the Red Raiders' receivers?  And while Ndamukong Suh has been adding to his resume each week (except perhaps this one) and Jared Crick has been benefiting from all of the extra attention being paid to his linemate, the defense has had horrible lapses and not exactly where they might be expected.  Going into the season, the main concern surrounding the Nebraska defense was the lack of experience at linebacker, not the secondary, which is where a frightening amount of NU's defensive failures have occurred.  Yes, the Blackshirts held the Red Raiders' offense to just a handful of yards in the second half, but it was long after the real damage had been done.

One more defensive observation: Though they managed to put some pressure on Sheffield, how was the Nebraska defense not able to more fully exploit Tech's offensive line in the first half, when they had three players get nicked?

Another thing that Husker fans this season have known all too well?  Penalties.  Penalties, penalties, penalties.  Again not an excuse, but it's been very surprising to see a team, coached by a disciplinarian like Pelini, consistently shoot itself in the foot with stupid penalties and suffer other mental lapses, not the least of which was how the offense just gave up and stood around after the botched lateral from Lee to Niles Paul.

None of this bodes well as Nebraska still faces games against Oklahoma and Kansas (in Lawrence).  And at this point, following this game in which Nebraska had gotten most of the nation to buy what it was selling, if they didn't win the game outright, they were expected to at least feed off of the win at Missouri, continue their momentum and be competitive.  Instead, Nebraska hit a red and black wall of bricks and the Big Red machine came to a smoking, grinding halt.  At this point, no conference game is a gimme.

The final thing we do know about Nebraska?  They are NOT back.  Back?  We don't even know who they are.

Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: October 19, 2009 4:04 pm

Texas Tech 31, Nebraska 10

Now that's what I call "Creamed Corn."  It's funny that not long after the "regime-that-shall-not-be-named," we're left wondering when the offense is going to step up and help out the defense.  This just isn't a team built to come from behind.  Sure they did it in the driving rain at Mizzou, but they cannot continue to put themselves in that position.  I think they're going to have to return to the ball control mentality that they used during the second half of last season. 

Since: Jun 12, 2008
Posted on: October 18, 2009 4:42 pm

Texas Tech 31, Nebraska 10

This game explained a lot for both teams.

NU - I think Code Green (I think that's his name) should be your starter. He has that questionable sidearmed throw, but he makes it work. Aside from the Mizzou comeback, Zac Lee hasn't been overly impressive. Your secondary was questionable at some points yesterday, and your d-line wasn't as overpowering as usual.

TTU - First things first. Stephen "Sticks" Sheffield is the starter and overall better quarterback. Batch and Jeffers are great in the backfield and on end-a-rounds. Our o-line was impressive yesterday. And most of all, our defense was amazing, to say the least, yesterday.

Good game.

Wreck em.

Since: Aug 23, 2006
Posted on: October 18, 2009 4:19 pm

Texas Tech 31, Nebraska 10

You hit the nail on the head there SWC... Nebraska gift wrapped this game in the first quarter, and then tried to take it back.  But you can't give a Leach coached team 14 points, even at home and expect to win the game.

A day to think back and react, and really this game could have gone either way.  Five red zone possessions, only two scores, that's the story of the game.  Nothing else.   Defense played well and really pulled off a good game giving up only three scoring drives really, that is impressive. 

Got to score in the Red Zone to win games.

Since: Nov 4, 2008
Posted on: October 18, 2009 9:03 am

Texas Tech 31, Nebraska 10

I feel for you Husker fans.  Any Tech fan knows what it's like to have your heart ripped out on national TV.  Especially when you know you can play better.  The penalties, the self-destruction down in the red zone - nothing went right for you guys. 

Well, I'd say your defense did pretty well.  You held Tech to its lowest offensive output since Leach's first game in 2000.  Nothing shabby about that.  It was downright embarrassing as a Tech fan to watch our offense stumble around in the 2nd half.  Take away Tech's first TD that came after a miracle, double-clutch catch by Leong and the fumble return, and we would be talking about 17-10 and a whole new game in the 2nd half.

Since: Oct 6, 2009
Posted on: October 18, 2009 3:31 am

Texas Tech 31, Nebraska 10

Weird, not sure where my .02 went.

I was just agreeing that  "we are not back" yet.  Also, after watching the TX-OU game yesterday, the Big 12 North isn't that that bad of shape and might be a tad better than the South. We still have 5 more weeks to hash that out and I think a true contender in the Big 12 is still up in the air.  TX might be a frontrunner but not by much at all.  TTech looked good and they would have beaten OU and TX yesterday.

I am just glad TTech didn't throw 70 up on us today like a few years back.  Also, the Skers Defense isn't bad but we need to stop playing "reactively" if that makes any sense.  I just hope we can recover from this loss just as Kansas will be recovering from theirs.  Hopefully the offense will have a good practice week.


Since: Oct 11, 2006
Posted on: October 18, 2009 3:03 am

Texas Tech 31, Nebraska 10

Thanks Gator.  Be easy on us in your next blog entry.  NU fans are kicking this team enough as it is.

Nubbies, your message didn't show.  What were you wanting to say?

Since: Oct 6, 2009
Posted on: October 17, 2009 10:57 pm

Texas Tech 31, Nebraska 10

Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: October 17, 2009 7:38 pm

Texas Tech 31, Nebraska 10

Sorry about your Huskers, Tex.  I knew this would be a tough game, but thought they could pull it out.  I am surprised they lost by 21.  Like I said, though, the Tech O is revamped and rerevved.  Tough games all over the landscape today.  My Gators BARELY survive, and I hope the Spikes groin injury isn't too serious.  Now let's see what Bama does against SC.  If they win convincingly, you might be looking at a new number 1.  The other SC had to hold on to beat Notre Dame, so at least I (barely) had that going for me today.  Oh, I know, tslOwSU got upset by a team they had no business losing to.  There, I feel better already.

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