Purdue Recap 2021

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.

25 thoughts on “Purdue Recap 2021

  1. I’ve seen enough. Time for SF to go. Sorry it didn’t work out, but I don’t buy the team being “close”. Close teams win many of the games they should and even some they aren’t supposed to. Frost is young enough that he still has a carter ahead of him, if he wants it. Perhaps he’ll take a measure of humility with him when he leaves here, God knows it would have benefited him the past 4 years. He may even turn out to be a good head coach, just not here. He’s lost, the team is lost, time to pay him and move on.

    1. I hate the “close” mantra. We aren’t. Say it to me after the Michigan, Oklahoma, or Michigan State games. But we aren’t close when i’ve watched the Illinois, Minnesota, or Purdue game. That’s the first game of the season and the last two, so it’s not like we are a different team.

      1. Sure enjoy your analysis, SOS. Here come the Buckeyes – if they blow us out again, that makes Trev’s job easier. But since we are “improving”, according to many Facebook posters, perhaps we’ll play like equals awhile before we fall apart. Ya think?

  2. Adrian Martinez might be the better QB on the team. Neb is 1-4 without him. But he has only won 14 games, and lost 26, (if my math is correct.) Out of those 14 teams only Mich St might be a win worth noting but that win was more on the defense. Neb beat Penn State without him. Maybe AM is better but he is not getting better. He is the same QB he was as a freshman, I don’t see a difference. When he is struggling with turnovers or hurt why not play another QB to get more experience and maybe those other QB’s will get better. AM is who he is, its his 4th year and he is still playing like a freshman. You might as well play a freshman and maybe that player will get better. CJ Stroud was not good his first two games, now he is playing way better now. Okla benched a Heisman candidate and possible first rd pick for a freshman and that has worked. 4 years of the same thing we are basically saying Neb cannot develop a QB, or make a QB better then they were in High School. If Frost is staying another year, he needs to start routing in another QB or if the backups are that far behind Neb will not win a game next year. let alone this year.

  3. I agree that another QB (on our roster) isn’t going to solve our issues. I also firmly am in the camp of I put that on Frost that there isn’t someone behind him. I don’t like though that someone who keeps playing so badly at times just stays in games over and over.

    I admit I don’t have a good solution to that problem…like do we shove Smothers in a game like that even if he’s not ready just to make a point? I mean, I don’t know. It’s like these are our options:

    1. We know nobody else is ready/better than Martinez and will struggle even more, so we’re not pulling Martinez
    2. We are putting in Smothers or someone else b/c Martinez is playing so bad in this game as a year 4 starter. Maybe to send a message, maybe to see what they’ve got. But we don’t think they will do any better.

    I mean I guess that’s why I was for putting in McCaffrey last year. It didn’t work out, but I wanted to at least see what he could do with the job full-time. But if your season is sucking with what you’ve got, try something new, and if it doesn’t work out go back to what you had.

    Aynway, either way, both aforementioned options aren’t pretty. I get that’s why it’s probably hard for Frost right now, because there’s probably not a lot that he can do to make things better as far as personnel switches or whatnot. But that’s why I say, well it’s year 4, so your job was to get us to a point with recruiting, development, game planning, etc. so that we aren’t in this hole. If there’s nothing else you personally can do as a coach to improve the outcome time after time, then the core is bad to start.

    Man, I just feel like I’m on repeat at this point. Like the end of your post, there’s just not much new to say that I haven’t seen for years now.

  4. I get not making a QB permanent change, but after that 2nd pick AM needed to be pulled for at least a series. Part of being a HC is knowing what strings to pull, and he obviously has not learned that after four years?

    Second point, our LBs were gassed because they were on the field the whole game. Why wouldn’t we use a nickel or dime package? I get Reimer and Domann can cover but we have DBs, why not use them against a team like Purdue?

    1. I think that’s fair. Smothers wasn’t going to be worse than what AM was doing.

      In regard to linebackers, we did go nickel, but that package leaves Domann, Henrich, and Reimer out there. So it gets a bit tough.

  5. Sometimes a lesser skilled player makes up for it by maybe not consistently making stupid ass boneheaded mistakes while trying to extend plays or doing too much..Sometimes when a backup comes in the play caller changes the types of plays called and tailors the calls to the backups strengths (limiting weaknesses) & maybe eliminates some options so that less thinking is involved. Speaking from experience, I remember only a 1/4 of the playbook was in play when I was sent into a game as a backup QB my sophomore year in college. Nothing truly amazing occurred but either did any turnovers….which was good.

    Everything going on is HCSF’s fault but he can’t see it or if he does he’s too stubborn or too stupid to fix it. Since he came back, I hoped what I saw was stubbornness…..I’ve known him since 1992 & know it’s not.

    1. I think that’s a good point. Someone may not have the ceiling AMart does but if he doesn’t turn the ball over…. well that gets us in a good spot against Purdue.

  6. SOS – what is your take on our defense? How could we do such a nice job against a top Heisman candidate and NW’s RB who is now third in the conference in rushing and we allow Purdue too much IMO on the ground?

    I guess I’d to really know your thoughts on how we are currently game planning as far as tempo? In the Minnesota game we have lost out in Time of Possession by a large amount. Heck, we only had 10 third down situations for the game against Purdue. My question is, with a “bend and don’t break” defensive game plan and a tempo offense can we be successful in the Big 10?
    To me, it looked like we tried to emphasize more of a ball control tempo against Oklahoma, MSU and maybe Michigan but we were behind so things changed. What are your thoughts on this style? I hear that we were so close but I see completely different tempo philosophies.

    I have more questions. Are we using our 2-4 or 2-5 look front too often? The last three games we have not been good against the run. Would we benefit from more three DL on the field at a time? I thought we made that adjustment vs Minn in the second half.
    Is our lack of a pass rush talent, S&C or scheme?

    By the way, I love the Blackshirts. Not trying to be negative, just curious.

    I always appreciate your insight. GBR

    1. I think we are getting gassed. Guys like Stille, Reimer, Henrich, Domann, they are out there all game long. But to your point, teams know that if they go 3 WR we are in nickel and Daniels is out many times so they can gash us.

      I will be interested to see where we are ranked defensively after the ohio state game.

  7. I get that Smothers isnt ready (well I dont get it, but thats besides the point…), but what does it hurt to put him in and run a conservative, run first offense. I mean Christ, they already dont respect AM and his crappy throws, so they’re already playing the same defense theyre gonna play against Smothers. Bring him in, get him some experience, see if he can make a play with his legs, because AM sure isnt, no matter how much Frost lies to us about him being healthy.

    Every week its the same baffling personnel decisions. Running the ball well, lets pass. Rahmir was running really well. Yant comes in and breaks off a couple nice runs, only to never be heard from again. I just dont understand it. At one point, we got the ball back, and AM proceeds to throw 3 yolo bombs incomplete and we turn it right back over. WHY?

    If the boos and empty stadium arent damning enough to drop SF now before its REALLY too late, then I dont know what is…..

    1. Spot on I just said the same thing. Smothers wasn’t going to be worse than what we saw from AMart this past weekend. Problem is, you can’t run him out ther against Ohio State. Frost saying it’s Martinez moving forward really worries me for the future.

  8. We continue reading because we love our Huskers and appreciate your insight about them. This is another case of why games are played on the field and not on paper. Like you said, the close argument only has some weight against the top teams. It loses credibility against the middle to low tier teams. At the end of the day, its still a loss whether it is by 1 point or 50. Now do I feel there has been improvement, but there are also positions that haven’t gotten better. Something needs to change. If its the type of player we are recruiting at certain positions to better fit what we want to do, the S&C they are doing, some of the coaches on staff, the scheme we are using, any or all of the above, because right now its not working and doing the same thing getting the same results is getting old. I still am going to cheer on my Huskers to the very end and nothing can keep me from loving them, but my heart is aching especially for everyone in the program who are putting their blood, sweat, and tears into the program. I don’t want to ever question anyone’s desire or effort, but something is just off that isn’t allowing all the pieces to come together.

    Now I didn’t watch the game, but listened to it this week as I was harvesting. It just had a different feel to it than all season. Every game before this (outside of Illinois) even if it was a loss, I had a feeling of hope of that if we can figure these few things out, the wins can start happening. After the Purdue game, that feeling wasn’t there. It was a feeling to me that I had when we knew Reilly was going to be out the door. Now I’m not saying we need to fire Frost yet. I want to see how the last three games play out. From the start, I wanted him to have success and hoped he could be the one to do it. I had the same hope for every coach at every sport that has come to Nebraska. Now we obviously all want championships, but realistically, I want a team that we can be proud of that is in contention for the conference most years.

    Arrogance leads to hard falls, but humility leads to change. Hoping for some positive change the rest of the season and in the future.

  9. I think the “were close” argument isn’t completely off. I don’t think you come close to Michigan, MSU or OU without having some dudes on your roster and a solid defense. What I do think is that it is even more of an indictment of Frost. Losing to Purdue, Minny and Illinois becomes inexcusable in year four with a 4th year QB and a lot of returning super seniors on defense in year four of a rebuild. This is an indictment of the coaching staff. If you can contend with teams in the upper echelon but still lose to bottom dwellers in the same year on multiple occasions it comes back to that old saying “you are what your record says you are.”

    But hey “They better get us now while they have the chance” LOL

    1. Yeah, I mean if you want to look at the record and say we’re “close” to being MEDIOCRE, I can buy that. Being close to beating good teams maybe tells me that you have a mix of talent/coaching that CAN be competitive, but losing to bad teams tells me systematically the foundation is bad.

      The “They better get us now while they have the chance” quote I remember cringing when I heard it. I think you can be confident and assertive without making brash claims. If you back that up, I still wouldn’t be a fan of making the quote, but sure, I would overlook it easier if you actually backed it up.

      I like to think I can stay pretty objective in my views regardless of rooting interest, which some tend to view as me being negative. But can you imagine if we were really good right now, like a Wisconsin/Michigan/Ohio St of the conference for the last 10 years, and a new Purdue or Minnesota coach had made that claim and then were as bad as we were the past 4 years? I am pretty sure our fans would have a field day with that coach.

      I see a lot of other fans say Nebraska fans are arrogant and just b/c of our history we thought we would come in and rule the B10. Most people I know didn’t think that. I admit I thought we’d be COMPETITIVE for the B10 West yearly. But that quote I don’t think helped our image at all in that regard. At the end of the day, it’s not like it matters much. But I’m not shocked when I hear how other fans really take pleasure in beating us right now, even thought we’re not good. Because honestly if the shoe were on the other foot, I would take immense pleasure of beating that school.

      1. Great way of putting it “the foundation is bad.” Everything above ground looks ok but deep down something is slowly rotting underneath and that is the only thing that matters.
        Also couldn’t agree more on your take on the quote. That came across as pure arrogance and incredibly smug. I would also take great pleasure in tossing that back at the fanbase it came from if it wasn’t from Nebraska. I am constantly taken aback at Frost’s continued lack of humility. It was one of TO’s greatest strengths and somehow it never rubbed on on SF which is truly unfortunate.

  10. Sure enjoy your analysis, SOS. Here come the Buckeyes – if they blow us out again, that makes Trev’s job easier. But since we are “improving”, according to many Facebook posters, perhaps we’ll play like equals awhile before we fall apart. Ya think?

    1. Yep, based on this season they’re a really good team, so we’ll play them really close and then miss a FG or throw an interception in the 4th quarter. And it’ll appear again that we can hang with a playoff team 🙂

      1. At this point, I would take the scenario (and live with another “close” loss). The Purdue game felt….different for some reason…..I will be really interested to see how we come out against the Bucks…..I am hopefull, but they are hitting their stride right now and while maybe we can hang for awhile, I think eventually the talent all over the field for tOSU will take over and I honestly think it gets ugly. Sad state of affairs for sure

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