Many people picked this game to be one of the less attractive matchups and outcomes. Nebraska seemed convincing during their romp of Washington in September. But, this was a different story. This was an ugly performance by Nebraska. The Huskies had no turnovers, allowed no sacks, and committed only three penalties. They played physical, yet discipline. Washington knocked out Taylor Martinez with an ankle injury. In addition, Nebraska was outmanned on both sides of the line. The defensive line could not get off their blocking until the runner was well past the play. It seemed Nebraska had come into this game with a laid-back approach and it cost them.
Martinez and the offense never seemed to have the momentum after their first drive when Rex Burkhead fumbled and turned it over. Washington did a great job of putting Nebraska in a big hole (2nd and long and 3rd and long). Consistently, Martinez and Cody Green were forced to pass in no-win situations. Martinez was intercepted once, and the touchdown throw to Kyler Reed could have also been an interception. The Cornhuskers offense was barely getting by running the ball with Burkhead and Roy Helu Jr. They were not anything spectacular, but who was?
The Cornhusker defense played all right if you look at the stat sheet and the final score. However, the only aspect they exceled in was the vaunted pass defense, which only allowed 72 yards. Washington ran all over them with Chris Polk and occasional runs by Locker. This was the biggest key of the game. The Huskies’ line was very strong in the second half which it controlled the defensive line. I also saw some poor effort plays by lazy tackling from Nebraska. On Locker’s touchdown run, many players were trying to arm tackle Locker. Locker ended up breaking them and scampered into the end zone. Overall, this season started with a lot of potential in an emerging young quarterback and the defense. It ended in disappointment with Nebraska losing three of its final four games, including the Holiday Bowl. Next fall, the Nebraska Cornhuskers move to the Legends Division in the Big Ten Conference.
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Written by Darshan Patel