What happened and what mattered in the Nebraska 53-28 win over Minnesota?
Nebraska 53, Minnesota 28
The Nebraska offense put up 659 yards of total offense. Imagine what the team will be when it’s actually good. The running game rolled at will, Adrian Martinez was nearly perfect, and finally, the Huskers got their first win under head coach Scott Frost. Not that they didn’t make it interesting.
Up 28-0, it seemed like a coronation and a fun, cathartic afternoon, but Minnesota came roaring back to make it interesting. Just when it seemed like the Huskers were overdue to fold, the Huskers cranked out a big touchdown drive, took control back, and kept the O rolling. The D still needs to be tighter, but this is how it’s supposed to work.
Six penalties. The Huskers stopped with the royal screwups, there was only one turnover, and the offense converted 8-of-12 third down tries. Martinez? He completed 25-of-29 passes for 276 yards and three scores, and he ran for 125 yards and a score.
The skill guys showed up. Stanley Morgan caught ten passes for 163 yards and two scores. Devine Ozigbo and Maurice Washington each hit the 100-yard mark, too. There weren’t a lot of mistakes, the offensive machine kept on rolling through the adversity, and it all started to look like it’s supposed to.
Minnesota starting QB Zack Annexstad got hurt, Tanner Morgan completed 11-of-16 passes for 214 yards and a pick, and he ran for 35 yards and a touchdown. However, the Minnesota identity is with the ground game, and it couldn’t get going, with just 125 yards and no big dashes.
With a scrimmage against Bethune-Cookman next week, Nebraska gets another chance to keep tuning up the attack. With road games against Ohio State and Iowa, forget about running the table and going bowling, but as long as the offense keeps on doing this, everything will be fine as the program progresses under Frost. Now the team knows how to win a game.
This was devastating for the Gophers. On a four-game losing streak, they now have to win three of their final five games to get bowl eligible. Indiana, at Illinois, Purdue and Northwestern are all winnable, but there isn’t enough offensive pop, and the defense is getting lit up too easily. All the positivity from PJ Fleck might be the program’s attitude, but the team is supposed to be improving, and isn’t.