Saturday, September 11, 2010

News - Huskers Victorious Over Vandals

On Saturday, September 11, the Nebraska Cornhuskers took on the Idaho Vandals at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. Both teams came to this week 2 match-up with one win already under their belts, Nebraska having defeated Western Kentucky, and Idaho with a win over North Dakota.

Idaho was expected to be a tougher opponent for the Huskers than WKU was last week, and in that they did not disappoint. All-in-all, the Vandals scored 17 points, passed for 219 yards, and took away 4 turnovers from Nebraska, 3 fumbles and one interception. This would seem to raise some questions about the strength of Nebraska’s defense, but at the post-game press conference, coach Bo Pelini said he was pleased with the overall performance of his defense, and felt that they had a better understanding of his game-plan than they did last week.

If you look at the numbers a little further, it is clear that coach Bo was right to praise his squad. The Blackshirts gave up only 60 rushing yards, recorded 7 sacks for a total loss of 80 yards, and took away one fumble and 4 interceptions, including two that were returned for touchdowns.

Pelini was not impressed with the play of his offense, however. They did manage to rack up 471 yards of offense, including 360 on the ground, but only came away with 39 points when they clearly should have had much more. The offensive squad fumbled the ball no less than eight times, losing three to the Vandals, and Martinez threw one interception. Nebraska was also called for 10 penalties for a total loss of 110 yards, some of those coming at crucial moments when Nebraska was poised to score. Turnovers and penalties are silly mental errors that occur in every game, but Nebraska had way too many of them today.

The quarterback situation in Nebraska, if there ever was one, seems to have resolved itself with freshman Taylor Martinez in the starting role. Sophomore Cody Green took a few snaps today to spell Martinez, while senior Zach Lee did not play at all. I feel bad for Lee, having to sit on the bench for his senior year, but football is big business, especially in Nebraska, and the coaches have to put their best players on the field. Today, Martinez completed 12 of 17 passes for 106 yards, and rushed for a stunning 156 yards.

At the end of the day, a win is a win, and if you take away the mental errors, the team performed reasonably well. Nebraska was ranked number 6 this week, and I’ll be watching the polls to see if they move into the top 5 before their first road game next week in Seattle, Washington where they will take on the Washington Huskies. That’s right, it will be the Huskers versus the Huskies.

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