No shame in losing to Wisconsin, but when Nebraska loses like that it’s sad. As Bo Pelini said, “That was a joke.” No reason to belabor anything. Let’s get to it.
First Down: Russell Wilson is now a Heisman favorite – For awhile there, I thought the Huskers defense was playing well. They were making some stops, and they were getting pressure on Russell Wilson. It didn’t matter. Wilson would escape out of the pressure, most of the times, and make plays. When he wasn’t breaking ankles on the Huskers defense, he was throwing darts to his receivers. The good news? Nebraska won’t play a better QB this year, including Denard Robinson.
Second Down: Setting Taylor Martinez up to fail – Yes, Taylor Martinez threw three interceptions, but why was he being asked to throw so many times? The offense was performing well in the first quarter. Then Tim Beck seemed to panic and got away from the run in the second quarter. Martinez may have looked good passing in the first quarter, but that is a misnomer. There is enough of a sample size now to know he is not a passing QB. Getting away from the run led hurt the Huskers. So what if Jamal Turner is a difference maker at WR? You’re still reliant on Martinez getting him the ball.
Third Down: The more things change, the more they stay the same – Turnovers (Wisconsin scores 21 points off Husker turnovers), penalties (9 for 80 yards), panic on offense (giving up on run early in game, relying too much on Martinez), putting the defense in a difficult spot (and this year the defense isn’t as good to cover for the offense)…sound familiar?
Fourth Down: Can you fix it? – Bo Pelini said that he was confident he could fix the defense. Can he? It’s hard to say because I’m sure the repeated interceptions and stalled drives sapped the spirit of the Huskers defense. Plus, Russell Wilson is that good. Nevertheless, this defense is a work in progress, especially behind the front four (except Lavonte David). If the Huskers defense can improve, Nebraska should be in a rematch with Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Looking Ahead: Wisconsin is the best team Nebraska has played since 2008 Oklahoma. The rest of the schedule for Nebraska? It should be downhill after this, but who knows? Does anyone know how good, or bad, this Huskers team is? If the play calls on offense are reminiscent of Shawn Watson, if Taylor Martinez is being asked to win games by passing, if the defense doesn’t improve, it could be a long season for the Huskers. I’ll still stick with 9-3 for the Huskers’ season, because no one else in the Big Ten is as good as Wisconsin. However, Nebraska can’t seem to get out of its own way.