well, NU managed to win an old fashioned big ten rock fight
weather made it very difficult to throw the ball with any consistency for either team, so early on this one was looking like it was going to be a running game/defense game, which probably favored MSU
overall, Neb got outyarded, gave up more first downs, were out-rushed, were out-passed, had a worse third down conversion rate, fumbled something like 5 times, and finished even in the turnover department
so, htf did they win?
they won by being opportunistic, and generally winning the field position and special teams
(btw, they honor foltz and sadler before kickoff and then the only points scored in the game are fgs? hmmmm)
I thought AM looked off right from the beginning, regardless of the wind.
I thought the playcalling was a little suspect by SF. I realize that he had to toss prob half or more of his playbook after seeing the gusts and swirling wind in the stadium, but he should have been better prepared for this possibility, imo. I thought we'd see more of the QB run game, or maybe more short quick throws like slants and curls and in/out etc but maybe Spielman's absence played a factor in that as well (again, should have been better prepared, as JD was out of practice all week).
it's definitely a concern that some of our players appear to have a difficult time getting separation from coverage. but then again we did have some wide open guys that AM either missed or the wind made his passes sail or otherwise be off target
Oz ran hard, put up better numbers against the #1 rush defense in the nation than most RBs have all season, and that was with a stacked box because of the weather.
defensively, I was waiting all game for the blackshirts to make MSU's horrid offense look amazing, and while there were definitely some coverage and run fit busts, for the most part they contained MSU. we're probably lucky that MSU didn't run more between the tackles and/or run their QB more
shout out to special teams for not only not shitting the bed but basically winning the game. Pickering with 3 field goals including 2 that were his career longest at the time? 47 yard game winner in swirling wind and for the first time in the kids life he kicks in the snow? kick and punt teams were decent aside from Stan's botched punt return. hell Pickering even got a touchback on a kickoff into the wind.
NU made plays when it counted, and were generally patient (both coaches and players) in a tight game
(oh and the refereeing was horrendous all game, on both sides)
tough to grade/judge the offense with such a limited playbook, but you have to like how they managed to move the ball at times against the best defense that they've seen other than Michigan's. also tough for the same reasons in regards to the defense, but you still have to stop the other team (or let them stop themselves).
it was a good time for senior safeties Reed and Neal to put together the best games of their Husker careers. Reed had a hell of a game and I bet he gets a blackshirt this week. Neal also played solid. LBs again I thought appeared to be a weak link. secondary played decent enough. AM had an off day, I actually wondered when the game started if he was a little banged up as he seemed to be wearing a heavier knee brace... Stan was patient and then made a big play when the team needed it. OL played decent against a great defensive front 7. Oz and Mo ran well enough when given the chance. WRs and TEs needed to help more both getting open and catching but also blocking. offensive coaching I was not impressed with, there's been issues on occasion all season and hopefully SF learns and grows from this year as well. defensively we saw very little substitution all game outside of the DL, that has to change moving forward.
big final game of the season coming up. it will be senior day at home for Iowa, but this will be NU's bowl game for their season, and for some of these seniors, they've never won against Iowa (so sad to type that). Iowa just boatraced Illinois, which in and of itself is not particularly impressive, but it will be interesting to see how that game influences their preparation this week. Iowa has had an up and down season as well, and really at this point it's anybody's guess as to what will happen this Friday. If Iowa gets their shit together and plays a complete game, NU could get blown out. But the reverse is also true.
I think there's some players who don't like each other on either side of the ball in this one, so it will be interesting to see what gets said in the media this week and how things go once the ball is kicked off.
as for the future, I'll write more after the season, but I've been wondering if missing a bowl might actually be a good thing for this staff and team. they've been through a lot, and I'm not sure that an extra few weeks of bowl practices is really going to help the non-seniors all that much, especially if the tradeoff is the staff can focus more on recruiting for a few weeks. they've been playing catch up on recruiting ever since they came on board, having to assemble a full class late in the cycle and then being behind on communication and evaluation on all later recruiting classes. I feel bad for the seniors missing a bowl, but the staff needs to look at their roster and the results from the season and start to figure out what JUCOs/other recruits they need and what changes they need to make on the coaching/sheme/prep/offseason areas.
am also hearing rumors that one or more players has also recently left the team or informed others of their intent to do so, all signs point to Lighborne moving on after the season (probably a good idea for him to go elsewhere to get his head right) but I'm also hearing Guy Thomas may have already left or is in the process of doing so (had lots of hopes for that kid, and he's only a redshirt frosh, but if he couldn't see snaps over a true frosh in Tannor or a late season defense position switch of Domann, then he's going to have a tough time beating those guys out plus additional recruits next year and the years after. have also heard he's been homesick since he first set foot on campus and has been on the fence about leaving the entire time. I'm sure there will be others as well)