Nugent: Do single digit losses show progress for the Huskers and Scott Frost

Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts, left, chats with head coach Scott Frost at Memorial...
Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts, left, chats with head coach Scott Frost at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. (AP Photo/Rebecca S. Gratz)(Rebecca S. Gratz | AP)
Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 6:22 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Waiting is the hardest part, right? If the margin of defeat means anything, and it should, the Huskers are making progress.

What it shows is a team that is better now compared to the start of the 2020 season. That’s the last time the Huskers played a top-five team. The opener at Ohio State, a 35 point loss despite being much closer through most of the first half. Compare that to Saturday in Norman, a seven-point game against a third-ranked Sooners team. No doubt you can make the argument today Oklahoma won’t end up in the playoff, but Ohio State wasn’t exactly a slam dunk playoff team last year too. We’ll see what happens to Oklahoma.

The last four Nebraska losses, which include the final two last year are all single-digit defeats. Six against Iowa, seven against Minnesota, eight against Illinois, and seven against Oklahoma. These games were close, the Huskers are close.

In many cases, mistakes played a significant role and that likely will be the step that changes these close losses into close wins. Which again drives home the frustration of self-inflicted mistakes. With an upgraded team, they are now even more important.

Compared to a year ago the defense is significantly improved, Adrian Martinez is better, and the Huskers have receivers who can make big plays down the field. The running game is still week to week.

There weren’t any issues returning punts this week, the problems that remain are penalties and the kicking game.

There are reasons to be optimistic, we saw all of them Saturday. We also saw plenty of problems too that could end up being the difference between a win or a loss. That means the team is making progress because a missed field goal doesn’t mean much when you lose by 35.

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