Well, my preview couldn’t have been more wrong, so not sure what you’re doing continuing to read this. While last Saturday didn’t change this stat, the 2021 season now makes it after year 4 so that Scott Frost and this current staff do not have a winning record against any team in our division. They have a losing record against all of them, and are 2-2 against Northwestern and Illinois. I’m not sure I can wrap my head around that stat, and if you would have told me back in December of 2017 that would be reality, and Nebraska would have zero winning seasons in their first 3, and need to win all of their last games against Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Iowa just to get to a bowl game I would have called you crazy. Especially if I had a crystal ball and knew we beat Illinois and Minnesota year 1 by 20.
There’s just not a lot to say about this game. It reminded me of when Nebraska played Northwestern in 2011 at home. I don’t know if any of you remember that game, but Northwestern was up 21-18 and got the ball with about 9 minutes left. They proceeded to rush the ball 13 times for 65 yards and a touchdown to ice the game. Pelini at one point looked into the crowd and tried getting them to be louder, but we were all deflated. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing and what was happening. This past Saturday against Purdue, Jeff Brohm made a comment “we knew if we continued to run the dam would break.” I don’t know if he was talking our emotion or if our defense would break, but he was right. He then went on to say how he needed to be better and more patient with his run game and that he gets a little too pass happy. Purdue’s RBs had 33 rushes for 123 yards, or 3.72 ypc. That’s not that great, but they stuck with it. Conversely, Nebraska’s RBs had 19 rushes for 112 yards for 5.89 ypc. I’m not sure i’ve seen a stat that lopsided before and had 5.89 ypc lose. Going deeper into that, it’s not like we were losing the whole game. We were up 17-14 at half. We proceeded to just completely melt down and couldn’t find our rhythm. A team that hates to run ran the ball over 40 times against us, and won.
But I also hear everyone. Adrian Martinez played arguably his worst game as a Husker. We got a garbage passing TD late, but before that he had 18 yards rushing on 10 carries and had 1 passing TD and 4 INTs. It just looked all types of awful. I have defended Martinez quite a bit, even wrote about how he is better than McNamara at Michigan and we just ask him to do too much. But this game was tee’d up for him. Our RBs were getting yards and we were ahead. All you need to do is not make the mistake and we are probably fine.
I understand the people that want to get mad at Martinez or think it’s Frosts fault since he keeps running him out there. But i’m going to tell you guys just like I did on the other site when they were clamoring for McCaffrey to start… Smothers ain’t ready and he’s not even close. Our head coach has said as much, i’ve seen two practices, he’s not ready. So it’s not like we can run someone else in there and have a chance against Ohio State or teams like Iowa/Wisconsin with really good defenses. Now, I understand the people who say that’s on Frost too for not having a good backup, but that’s where we are. I’m just laying out what’s going on.
Offensively we are just kind of a mess. There’s one or two guys starting that just really should not be starting, and our offensive line while i’m not mad at how they did this game, they just aren’t good enough right now to win us games in the B1G. You can talk about Prochazka getting injured, but we are in year 4, so a true freshman’s injury shouldn’t dictate how good or bad a unit is doing. And we continue to make some of the same mistakes over and over.
But I do feel somewhat bad for Lubick/Frost, I mean we had the ball and we just overthrow a WR by 10 yards for an INT. It’s again why I laughed when people thought we needed taller WRs to get things done. That wasn’t our issue. We need to be more accurate and we need to get the ball where it is supposed to be. A taller WR didn’t help on that deep ball to Toure (no matter who you want to blame it on).
Defensively I wasn’t mad at what we did either. But let’s be real here, Purdue had the ball for 38 minutes while Nebraska had it for 21 minutes, our defense was freaking gassed. Some of our guys were out there for all 88 snaps, and while they would tell you that’s not an excuse, it is because bodies just can’t do that. Guys like Domann, Henrich, Reimer, they are out there for every single play and you are bound to screw up eventually. It just doesn’t work like that.
But Purdue did two things really well, I mentioned their ability to continually run the ball to chew up clock and lean on us a bit. The other was they did some real quick passes or moved the pocket for their QB. I mentioned in my preview that we would get multiple sacks from our DL, Stille got one, but other than that it was Nelson and Reimer with a half sack a piece. Brohm was not going to allow his OL to have to hold up against us. But in the second half, it was fine as we started getting more and more tired, so his OL started having less and less issues. Here’s one of Purdue rolling the pocket early to keep O’Connell out of danger from the pass rush:
There’s just not a lot to say on this guys… i’m not going to post a ton of videos because the bulk of our problem is mistakes this game. It was frustrating to watch.
I’m putting together my “Trev’s Big Decision 2.0” post for the bye week. I know a lot of you want answers, but lets see how Ohio State unfolds. Purdue was yet again another one score loss for us, but that may have broken our will. I’m really scared for what’s going to happen when the nations #1 leading offense comes to town.