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Nugent: Huskers doomed by another bad stretch, its happened three times in nine games

Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 7:42 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - As much as the mistakes are alarming, it’s also the reaction to those mistakes that’s also a concern. It took the Huskers too long to respond Saturday in Champaign and by that time they did, the game completely turned.

The Huskers went from leading by a touchdown to trailing by three in less than 15 minutes.

Illinois tied the game at nine with 2:51 to go in the second quarter, less than 15 minutes later they led 30-9, scoring 28 straight points.

Illinois put together a 75-yard drive to even the game, nothing odd about it, an old-school Big Ten possession. But then moments later, the Illini built on that touchdown with a defensive score off the Martinez fumble. Two quick touchdowns at the end of the half changed everything quickly. Some of the Huskers walked to the locker room with their heads down. No clue what the vibe was in the locker room but it probably wasn’t positive. That’s a valuable 20 minutes too.

Illinois received the kickoff and scored on yet another 75-yard drive. That is 21 points from the Illini in a stretch where Nebraska only ran five offensive plays.

Nebraska didn’t answer, instead, it was a three and out. The Illini scored its final touchdown on the next drive.

The Huskers needed a counter and they didn’t do it. It’s not the first time that happened.

Ohio State went on a similar run last year in the opener, the Buckeyes scored 24 unanswered. A run that also happened late in the first half and early in the second.

At Iowa last year after pulling ahead by seven early in the third quarter, the Hawkeyes owned the rest of the game winning by six. The Huskers needed an answer, it didn’t happen.

For whatever reason, there’s a delayed response in all these situations and it costs the team a chance to win. Other games have been back and forth, this isn’t the story every week, but this tendency continues to be a problem. The opposition knows if they can put a run together, there’s a good chance that will be good enough. It shortens the game and not in a good way for Nebraska.

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