Nugent: Huskers struggle to maximize potential

Nebraska players run onto the field before an NCAA college football game against Northwestern,...
Nebraska players run onto the field before an NCAA college football game against Northwestern, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)(Peter Morrison | AP)
Published: Aug. 28, 2022 at 4:36 AM CDT
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DUBLIN, Ireland (WOWT) - Nebraska is the first major college team in 85 years to lose seven straight games by single digits, that from the Big Ten’s research department. Wonder if they can also tell us what percentage of surprise onside kicks have been successful the last 85 years?

Last year the Huskers found different ways to lose games and this year with all the new players and coaches, the Huskers again found a new way to lose a game. The unsuccessful onside kick in the third quarter, leading by 11 was the turning point in the game. Scott Frost wanted to be aggressive and end the game right there.

This is also the second consecutive game Nebraska built a double digit lead and lost it. It was a 15 point margin against Iowa on Black Friday.

New year, new team, hard to see a rinse and repeat scenario, despite how it feels right now.

The passing game was good, receivers were open. Right now, that is the Huskers strength. Ideally you complement it with a downhill running game, even though nobody will turn down shootout wins.

The battle up front is a concern on both sides, yes Anthony Grant did run 101 for yards and two touchdowns. Plus give the Huskers line a lot of credit for punching in two short yardage touchdowns on the ground, it’s not easy. The problem though is, what’s the confidence level in the running game? Without Grant breaking tackles on that impressive 46 yard burst, the running game only averaged three yards per carry. By the way, that’s a number that doesn’t include -19 rushing yards from sacks, were strictly talking running game.

It’s great to have Grant’s big play potential, no such thing as too many 46 yards rushing touchdowns. Following that run, when the game was tight in the final 25 minutes he had four carries for 11 yards. The Huskers as a team only had 14 rushing yards in the fourth quarter, the last possession skews that a bit because they were in a two minute offense. Point is, what’s the confidence in the running game when the game is up for grabs?

After a loss, especially one like this it is easy to focus on what went wrong, no game is perfect and certainly not the first one of the season. It will be interesting to see with all the new people, who were not part of last season, if this truly turns into a “here we go again” scenario or is this group ends the trend.