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Nugent: A bowl game can help build momentum, Huskers likely playing for one

Senior Day vs. Nebraska, 12/5/20
Senior Day vs. Nebraska, 12/5/20(Purdue Athletics)
Published: Dec. 5, 2020 at 10:15 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 6, 2020 at 7:00 AM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Don’t rule out a bowl game for the Huskers, if Nebraska can reach 4-4 by winning the last two games, it’s a real possibility. A 4-4 record isn’t essential during COVID-19 like other years, also the idea this year is to put games on tv people want to watch. A 4-4 Nebraska team on a three game winning streak will have appeal, that’s what is important.

Reaching 4-4 is very possible with a 2-4 record today. A two win Minnesota team comes to Lincoln Saturday, and those two victories are against Purdue and Illinois. Feels like a winnable game, plus the Gophers will be coming off a two game COVID interruption. Big Ten teams not named Ohio State are 2-5 returning to action after a COVID cancellation.

Then during championship week the Huskers will play a team with a similar amount of success, say Michigan, Michigan State, Rutgers or Penn State. Might get that game against the Scarlet Knights after all and outside of Rutgers there’s nothing daunting about any of those teams. A rematch with Penn State though probably isn’t ideal.

4-4 isn’t that far away, as long as this Huskers team can stack good performances back to back to back. Something it has not shown yet, but there has been real growth from one week to the next recently. You would expect that to continue learning a lesson from the week of practice before the Illinois game when the team did not handle success well off the Penn State win.

Not only can a bowl game help build momentum for the program but it could also help next year’s team. Granted not as much as bowl seasons in the past, but there’s value in extra practices. The Huskers aren’t exactly turning down opportunity. Any type of opportunity, we are talking about a team that has not triggered a game cancellation during a pandemic. That’s how serious it is about maximizing the season.

It’s a fairly young program that needs football, needs games to create game experience. Remember the program is where it is today in part because there weren’t any bowl practices a year ago, there wasn’t spring practice and there were not many padded fall practices. It adds up, there’s a price for missing bowl season.

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