After what may have been the worst interception I have ever seen, followed by the easiest TD run I’ve seen all year, I was feeling pretty good. Maybe it was the fever I have been fighting, but I was feeling downright upbeat. Perhaps I could spend a carefree afternoon watching Nebraska Football. That would be a welcome change from the white knuckle ride of the last 6 weeks. It was not to be. Purdue proved to be a feisty bunch, but it goes further than that. This Husker squad is simply incapable of putting the pedal to the metal and destroying an opponent. They just can’t do it. It has to be something between the ears. Couple that with the fact that NU plays some pretty ugly ball from time to time, and you get games like Saturday’s. Purdue is not a good team. This game should not have been competitive. But NU dilly-dallies around, playing with Purdue like they are the family pet for the better part of the afternoon. The result was a fair amount of perspiration for this Husker fan..

The Husker defense had me sweating bullets early on. Purdue QB David Blough came in white hot, causing problems for a pass defense that has been pretty salty to this point. Josh Kalu tripped on a deep ball. That drive ultimately resulted in a TD. Then on a 3rd and 11 Deangelo Yancy takes a pass 88 yards to the house. Jesus!! Worse yet, Purdue was consistently moving the ball early in the first half. I was seriously concerned. Then, almost in unison, Blough cooled off and the Blackshirts collected themselves and turned in a very solid effort. Purdue did not score in the last 40 minutes of the game. In fact, David Blough was just 9/23 for 78 yards in the 2nd half after throwing for 231 yards in the 1st.  The best part was that NU got to David Blough with just their front 4. Freedom Akinmoladun, Carlos Davis and Ross Dzuris made life difficult for the Purdue signal caller. This is a terrific sign. Not only is the D-line improving, but the ability to get pressure with the front 4 opens up the playbook for Mark Banker. It should also be noted that it appeared Banker called a pretty good game. David Blough looked confused with the variety of pressures and coverages Banker threw at him. There were areas for concern. Chris Jones left the game twice with what appeared to be a leg injury. Jones has been outstanding thus far. If he is lost, or even banged up, that is bad news. Ideally, you would like to see a 60 minute effort from your defense. But this is not an ideal team. Overall this was a very solid performance, particularly in the 2nd half. Hopefully this is just another sign that this defense is getting better as major challenges loom in the next couple of weeks.

The Husker offense was downright maddening Saturday afternoon. What exactly did they consistently do well? What could Tommy Armstrong and company hang their hat on? The passing game was hit and miss. Tommy missed a few open receivers, threw a pick and was generally harassed by the Purdue defensive front. Armstrong was considerably better in the 2nd half going 8/11, but the pass game was inconsistent. The run game was extremely aggravating. What happened to the NU offensive line? I know there are injuries, but how is it possible that they have forgotten how to block anyone? Remember, this Purdue defense gave up an eye popping 365 rushing yards to Iowa and rank 124th nationally in run defense. Sure, Purdue loaded the box in an effort to stop the run. Still, I expected NU to have some success on the ground. There was little. Time after time, Boilermaker defenders were wreaking havoc in the NU backfield. It’s time to be concerned about this running game. The injuries along with the quality of play have taken their toll. Danny Langsdorf, Mike Cavanaugh and of course Mike Riley need to figure out how to jump start the run game. I’m not sure exactly what that means. Perhaps some different formations. Maybe shake up the offensive line. I know I would really like to see someone in there to replace Sam Hahn. Jalin Barnett? Going forward this run game has to improve or Ws like the one we saw Saturday could become scarce.

The saving grace for the Nebraska offense was the WR unit. NU was still down 14-10 mid way through the 3rd quarter when DeMornay Pierson-El caught a simple slant, then turned on the jets and left the Purdue secondary in the dust. Its good to see Pierson-El getting more involved with the offense. You can’t coach that kind of explosiveness. Brandon Reilly had 4 catches for 73 yards. Alonzo Moore also ran for a TD on a jet sweep. Stanley Morgan had a sensational catch as well. This unit created problems all day for the Boilermakers. There  were times that Tommy Armstrong delivered a precise, beautiful ball. There were others that he just missed. That’s life with Tommy. But these receivers were consistently open and made the most of their opportunities. Purdue simply had no answers for this group.

This team does not have the killer instinct that you would like to see out of a top 10 team. That much is indisputable. But what they do have is the ability to regroup, collect themselves and keep grinding. Furthermore, this team knows how to hang around and grind out wins. In many respects, that quality may be more important to the 2016 squad. Would I have enjoyed a 42-10 shit kicking of this inconsequential Big 10 bottom feeder?  Sure, without question. But that isn’t what this team does. This team grinds out wins. It beats the hell out of the alternative. As it stands this squad is 7-0 going into a very key stretch. The rubber meets the road next week. Wisconsin beat Iowas to keep their Big 10 West aspirations afloat. NU will bring that 7-0 record to Camp Randall next Saturday night in what could be the biggest game of the year. A win would all but seal the Big 10 West for the Huskers. That sure would be sweet. Make no mistake, it will not be easy.

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2 thoughts on “Never Pretty

  1. Lad you need to relax. I don’t know about you but 7-0 looks good to me. It’s a matter of perception. You perceive them as what you want them too be, instead of taking them as they are. There a good team. Are they the top ten unit you want them too be? NO, they don’t play like you want them too because they are not as good as you think. Plus you must not look much into coaching tendencies. Riley’s teams rarely blow the competition out. That’s a historical fact. All College Sports are coaches games. Pro Sports is much more a General Manager’s game. In the college game Coaching tendencies are a BIG part of the game. Much more than in pro’s. I can give you example after example of this. I look at the Huskers and I see a nice team that’s still growing. Do they belong in the top ten? Well honestly I don’t care if they do or not because the only thing that matters is they are there. Realistically, I put them between 16 and 22. I don’t pay much attention to any of the pools really. I just go by what I see, and not what someone else thinks I should see. (and yes that’s a dig at sport’s commentators). The most useless people on TV is ESPN’s experts. I do like the Big Ten’s Big football and Beyond, and the Paul Finebaum show on SEC, but I don’t really pay too much attention to them. Baseball I like High Heat on the Baseball channel, BUT the ESPN experts are anything but. Peter Gammons is good on baseball. The Pro football experts are just pathetic, and the College guys aren’t much better. But I personally don’t think much of ESPN. I think their a bunch of self involved assholes, who I wish would just show me the games they got on and shut the hell up and leave me alone. Don’t get me started on ESPN.

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  2. You think you have sports problem’s. Opening night for my Los Angeles Lakers IT’S GOING TO BE ANOTHER LONG, LONG SEASON. I would be happy with 25 wins this year. The trendy pick in Vegas while I was there (talked too a few guy’s I know there) is Minnesota over 41. We all agreed that Minnesota is loaded with young talent and with the addition of Dunn only adds to that. But with Thibodeau being thought of as a defensive minded coach as most people believe, instead of an offensive coach that he is. He always employed a inside – out schemes that should fit this team perfectly. Added on his defensive schemes and they should be a consistent enough. When you completely change your coaching staff it can take 2 or 3 year’s sometimes to get your system working. But when the light’s go on for this team, and yes it maybe this year look out.

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