Big, big win for Nebraska over Oklahoma State, setting up a showdown with Missouri, fresh off a win over #1 Oklahoma, next weekend in Lincoln. Don’t worry, I’ll be getting everybody ready for that all week.
Key Sequence of the Game: I thought the deciding factor on Saturday occurred right before halftime (score: 27-24 OSU) when the Blackshirts forced a 3 and out from Oklahoma St, and the offense took the ensuing drive down for a touchdown seconds before halftime. The only time I questioned my confidence in the Huskers all day was when the Cowboys’ offense took the field with the lead. It lasted all of three plays.
Now lets throw down some grades on the different units from Saturday’s game….
Rush Offense: Held below their season average of just over 300 yards per game, tallying 217 against the Cowboys. The running game was efficient, but not explosive. The best run of the day may have come from Alex Henery, via first quarter fake punt, who even registered a broken tackle. Grade: B-
Pass Offense: T-Mobile temporarily transformed into Air Martinez for the day. Air-Mart crushed his previous career high of 150 passing yards, piling up 323 yards through the air. Niles Paul silenced his critics, for the most part, going off for 9 catches and 131 yards (and most importantly, only one drop). I’m also developing some man-crush like feelings for Kyler Reed, who isn’t quite a Wide Receiver, and isn’t quite a Tight End, but is, quite simply, a big play waiting to happen. Grade: A
Rush Defense: Oklahoma St. Running Back Kendall Hunter posted his second highest total of the season, totaling 201 yards. That is unacceptable from a Blackshirts defense. Opposing teams have found success spreading the field and running quick hitters up the gut of the defense. This presents a big worry going into the Missouri game (much more on this throughout the week). This is way too many yards. Grade: D
Pass Defense: The Prince Amukamara-Justin Blackmon duel was a unanimous decision in favor of Blackmon (however, not the early round knockout that it appeared to be at one point). After torching Prince in the first half, Blackmon remained relatively quiet in the second half (adding a harmless touchdown in garbage time). At one point, Pelini switched Alfonzo “The Fonz” Dennard onto Blackmon to pretty good success. Nebraska has two NFL quality corners at their disposal, with the potential to place four members of the secondary in the NFL. They made the stops when they absolutely needed to, but still, not good enough. Eric Hagg’s fantastic interception saves this grade. Grade: C-
Specialty Teams: Played fantastically across the board. From Henery’s beautifully executed fake punt (where I think he had the option to run or punt), to Niles Paul darting up the right sideline for a touchdown on a kick return, to Adi Kunalic’s mustache. The only downgrade might be Eric Martin’s attempt to kill a man (Eric you should probably lay low for a while, because you’ll probably be targeted on sports shows this week). Henery has to be a frontrunner for the Lou Groza Award (best kicker) and possibly even the Ray Guy Award (best punter). Grade: A+
Topics: Adi Kunalic, Alex Henery, Alfonzo Dennard, Big 12, Big 12 Conference, Blackshirts, Bo Pelini, College Football, Eric Hagg, Eric Martin, Hit, Justin Blackmon, Kyler Reed, Lou Groza, Missouri Tigers, Nebraska, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Niles Paul, Oklahoma St, Oklahoma State, Prince Amukamara, Ray Guy, Taylor Martinez, Vs