Same new Nebraska

by Aug 27, 20220 comments

The restructured contract and coaching staff overhaul was not good for what ails Nebraska, which is now the only program in 86 years of major conference football to lose seven straight games by a single digit.

Had to be discouraging for the beleaguered Huskers to have outplayed the Wildcats yet still find themselves down by three at the half. Turnovers were the difference throughout in Dublin. Nebraska’s first of three came way of a fumble near the Wildcat 10-yard line, when a touchdown had seemed imminent just moments before.

Quarterback Ryan Hilinski was effective (318 yards) and efficient (71 percent), but the explosiveness from the Northwestern backfield was perhaps the bigger story. Evan Hull and Cam Porter combined for 10 rushes of at least nine yards, or 134 of the team’s 214. Eight of those 10 long runs came in the second half, five in the fourth quarter, and three on essentially Northwestern’s last drive of the game.

Whirling dervish

The play of the day for Nebraska has to be Texas transfer Casey Thompson’s 58-yard hookup with Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda. On third and long, Thompson appeared to be headed out of bounds for no gain, only to put a foot in the ground, circle back, and convert an improbable third down deep downfield.

Nebraska fought hard, just as they always have under Scott Frost. An extremely questionable pass interference call on Northwestern allowed Nebraska to convert another third and long in the red zone early in the third quarter. Two plays later, Nebraska had retaken the lead.

The Wildcats responded on the very next play, ripping off a run for 21 yards, but defensive back Marquez Buford put his helmet on the football, forcing the fumble that led to Nebraska’s second touchdown within the first six minutes of the second half, and the Huskers were out in front, 28-17.

The turning point

The failed, disguised onside kick attempt once the Huskers took an 11-point lead will be infamously remembered by Nebraska fans. The Wildcats scored five plays later, making it 28-24. Pinning the outcome of 60 minutes of football on one play is hard, but it was bizarre to say the least. Hindsight’s 20-20, but those kind of decisions are only good when they work.

Turnovers for the win

Thompson was picked off by Cameron Mitchell with about 12 minutes left, which led to another Wildcat touchdown by way of a short field and put Northwestern in front, 31-28. Another INT inside of two minutes sealed the deal.

A look ahead

Nebraska will face two cupcakes (North Dakota and Georgia Southern) before hosting no. 9 Oklahoma Sept. 17. The Huskers have the following week off and then resume B1G play against Indiana.

With the win in tow, Northwestern has the week off. The Wildcats’ next three opponents — Duke, Southern Illinois, and Miami (OH) — combined to go 18-20 last year. Northwestern gets another week off, but not before traveling to Happy Valley Oct. 1 and hosting no. 18 Wisconsin Oct. 8.

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Author

Keith Eichholz

Lead writer for the Voice of College Football. Thorough, evidence-based, critical thinker. Husband to a beautiful wife, father to a terrific kid, always looking forward to football Saturday.

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