Your Huskers’ Panic Stat of the Day

Saw this tweet this morning from 1620 The Zone’s host of Unsportsmanlike Conduct:

Here’s a quick little graph I worked up to further illustrate:
Husker Rush Defense

Huskers fall in Polls

After narrowly escaping Wyoming 37-34, Nebraska has fallen in both the AP and USAToday Coaches Poll. Previously ranked 18th in both preseason polls, Nebraska dropped to #22 and #23 in both polls respectively.

The rest of the Big 10 weighs in at:
Ohio State: #3 in AP, #4 in USAToday
Michigan: #17 in AP, #15 in USAToday
Northwestern: #19 in AP, #20 in USAToday
Wisconsin: #21 in AP, #21 in USAToday

Complete polls available on ESPN

2013 Husker Tunnel Walk

Nebraska 37 – Wyoming 34

There is a saying in college football that the biggest change you will see in a team happens from week 1 to week 2 of the season. Nebraska needs to put in some work this week. On the way to a 37-34 nailbiting win, Nebraska extends their season-opening win streak to 28, a lot of question marks emerged on the new turf at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.

Huskers take the field for 2013

Wyoming, coming off a 4-8 season last year, had the offensive chops to put the Huskers defense on their heels early. A team that average 390 total yards per game on offense in 2012, the Cowboys galloped to 602 yards against the Nebraska defense that was expected to be young, but much improved in, 2013. Quarterback Brett Smith passed for 383 yards and four touchdowns in addition to 92 yards of rushing.

Nebraska went with a largely conservative rushing game that became increasingly effective as the game went on. I don’t know if the gameplan was too keep the passing game short, primarily with outside screens and 10 yard in and out routes, but there didn’t seem to be a lot of big downfield attacks by the passing game. Particularly worrisome was the apparent return of the fumbles; putting the ball on the carpet three times, but only losing one.

And the defense. Nothing but question marks. They are young, but this was supposed to be a speedy defense with a lot of natural talent. I don’t care how fast you are, if you are playing catch-up to your receiver, you’ve already been burned and that was happening a lot. Zone coverage was slow to react to incoming receivers leaving enough gaps for the seasoned QB Brett Smith to find them when he needed. At the line, Wyoming was winning the push. Smith’s zone read options appeared to turn in to simple left-right reads at the snap. Nebraska did put some pressure, but not enough to force hurries and break plays. The only time they got to Smith for a sack, a personal foul negated the loss.

But enough with the negatives. Husker football season is here. Nebraska needs to win the games they are expected to win. They did that last night. The score wasn’t what most expected, but the W is a W and there are at least 11 more games to build upon.

There are enough positives from the offense to know that they can score the ball when needed. If this season becomes a “last-team-to-score-wins” type season, Nebraska can step up their game. Freshman running back Terrell Newby showed he has what it takes and could be an exciting player for the next few years to come.

Aptly, it is Labor Day Weekend and no doubt the Huskers will be putting in the labor to learn from this opener as they get ready for Southern Miss next week.

Tunnel Vision

What to Expect from Wyoming

Returning quarterback Brett Smith has an accurate arm and an eye for reading the defense. He isn’t a prolific passer, but will probably throw about 20-25 times against the Huskers. The other threat on offense is a deep rotation among several capable running backs, led by D.J. May. Last season may have been a disappointing year for the Cowboys, but the offense never struggled.

On defense, the 2012 99th ranked defense needs a strong improvement to turnaround last season’s results. A dismal rush defense was made worse by the graduation of their top three tacklers. Add in a 121st ranked run defense, giving up 232 yards per game, and you are setting up a Husker rushing steamroller. The most experienced facet of the Cowboy defense is the secondary with four returning starters from a passing defense that was respectable.

Key Players for Wyoming

Brett Smith QB
Robert Herron WR
Tyler Strong OL
Eddie Yarbrough DT
Blair Burns CB
Chad Reese FS

I’d anticipate Nebraska’s gameplan to exploit the run early, opening up the passing game and get ahead early. Defensively, Wyoming’s passing game should be a good barometer of improvements to the secondary. I don’t expect the running-back-by-committee gain much traction against the Huskers line which should be a good confidence builder heading in to Southern Miss.

Pinnacle Bank Arena Construction Timelapse

By the way, whatever happened to the ice rinks that were supposed to be associated with the Pinnacle Arena? Anyone know?

Husker Recruit Zack Darlington Injured, Airlifted to Hospital

Husker QB recruit Zack Darlington from Apopka, FL was injured in a violent hit in his high school game and airlifted to a hospital reports ESPN.

It is reported that he lost consciousness but later regained movement and was speaking at the hospital.

Thoughts and prayer for a speedy recovery.

Coach Pelini Pranks the Huskers

Bo Pelini pranks the 2013 Huskers with movie night instead of second practice:

Memorial Stadium East Stadium Media Tour

Stewart Mandell (Sports Illustrated) Big 10 Preview

LegendsStewart Mandell of Sports Illustrated released his Big 10 Preview.

In short, he predicts Michigan winning the Legends division and Ohio State as Big 10 Champ, defeating the Wolverines in the championship game. Mandell projects a conference record of 8-2 and an overall record of 10-2 for both Nebraska and Michigan. A head-to-head win by Michigan, avenging last year’s 23-9 loss, puts Michigan in the championship game.

Given the relatively soft nature of this year’s schedule, would you find a 10-2 record and missing out on the Big 10 Championship game a success or failure?