No one expected the first loss of the season to come so soon. Nebraska, like many Big 10 schools that travel to West Coast, stumbled against a PAC 12 team in UCLA on Saturday. The Bruins gave a dominating 2nd half performance, and pulled off a 36-30 win. The Bruins improve to 2-0 on the season, while the Huskers fall to 1-1. But what went wrong for Nebraska?
Nebraska head coach, Bo Pelini said he felt his team didn’t play well in any phase of the game in his opinion. In the 2nd half of the game Nebraska’s drives finished with, a fumble, 3 punts, a missed field goal, a safety, an interception, and one made field goal.
That is not going to beat any team in the country. Pelini, and quarterback Taylor Martinez said that the Bruins didn’t do much differently in the 2nd half. Martinez felt that slowing down the tempo was the biggest thing that was different from the first half to the second half.
Going into half time, Nebraska had a pretty even split of plays. The Huskers threw the ball 17 times, and rushed it 14 times in the first half. The Huskers threw the ball an additional 14 times in the second half. Martinez completed 13 of 17 passes in the first half. He completed just 4 of his 14 attempts in the second quarter. Finishing the day 17 of 31, with 0 touchdown passes, and an interception. Martinez did finish the day with 106 yards rushing, and 1 touchdown on the ground.
For the first time in Bo Pelini’s time at Nebraska, the Cornhuskers rushed for more than 200 yards, and did not put a “W” on the record. Nebraska rushed for 260 yards on the ground, led by sophomore I-back Ameer Abdullahs 119 yards, and 2 touchdown. The problem is the Blackshirts gave up 344 yards on the ground, led by UCLA senior running back Jonathan Franklin, who now has rushed for over 200 yards in two straight games.
When asked if he had seen any of the problems on defense in practice, he said the team just didn’t execute. In two games the Nebraska defense has given up a combined, 893 yards, and 56 points. UCLA’s 653 yards against Nebraska was the 2nd most yards given up in school history.
Defensive players continued to miss tackles, and a have shown poor form while tackling. The thing to look for in the upcoming weeks is if their is a change at certain defensive positions.
Redshirt sophomores Correy Cooper, Harvey Jackson, and junior college transfer Zaire Anderson saw a lot of game time on Saturday. The coaching staff may be looking to go with a youth movement as the year goes forward.
The one player who surprised me the most on the defensive side of the ball on Saturday was senior defensive end Joseph Carter. He finished the game with 3 tackles, all of which for a loss of at least 1 yard. One of the biggest questions marks going into the is season was defensive end. Carter may be pushing for playing time in weeks to come.
Senior linebacker Will Compton, P.J. Smith led the team in tackles with 8. Second on the list is senior safety Daimion Stafford. When you have two safeties leading you in tackling there is a major issue with the front 7. To me, the only player who has solidified his starting spot on the defense through two games is Compton. He has led the team in tackles two weeks in a row, and has had a sack in both games.
There is no way Bo Pelini hands out Blackshirts any time soon. With the conference schedule just three weeks away, this team has a lot of ground to make up.
By Jimmie Allen
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