Rush Offense: D
Normally Nebraska’s biggest strength, the rushing game was lifeless in Ann Arbor on Saturday. Running back Rex Burkhead, who entered the game third in the Big Ten, finished with only 16 rushes for 49 yards. The Huskers finished with 138 yards rushing as a team. Nebraska’s offensive line seemed incapable of handling Michigan’s defensive front seven and couldn’t establish worthwhile rushing lanes.
Pass Offense: D+
Quarterback Taylor Martinez was 9 of 23 passing for only 122 yards. The only meaningful passing play of the day came on a 54-yard play action pass to wide receiver Brandon Kinnie for a touchdown. Other than that, the Huskers had a ton of drops and, while Martinez didn’t look awful, there was no rhythm or consistency from the Husker passing attack.
Rush Defense: F
Going into this game, it was obvious that the Blackshirts would have to step up and shut down Michigan’s rushing attack, led by quarterback Denard Robinson. While the scheme looked solid, the execution of Nebraska’s front four failed to contain Robinson while it opened up rushing lanes for running back Fitzgerald Touissaint, who ran for 138 yards and 2 touchdowns. While the linebackers played a fair game, Will Compton and Lavonte David combining for 23 tackles, the Blackshirts unit simply couldn’t hold the Wolverines back.
Pass Defense: C-
There were times when Nebraska’s secondary showed some promise, even forcing a coverage sack. However, the Blackshirts couldn’t force any necessary turnovers or deflections on the day, and when it came down to key plays, Robinson was able to get the ball to his receivers with relative ease. Sadly, pass defense may have actually been Nebraska’s best upside on the afternoon.
Special Teams: C-
Kicker/punter Brett Maher played a strange game on Saturday. His first couple of punts were unimpressive, one of which went off the side of his foot out of bounds. Then, Maher went down with an injury after a bobbled snap on a punt, which resulted in a block. On his first punt after limping off the field, Maher booted the ball for almost 70 yards. Also, Maher added a 51 yard field goal. In the return game, it looked as though Tim Marlowe was close to breaking a couple runs, but ultimately the Huskers fell short of making any plays happen on special teams, while also fumbling the ball twice.
Photo Courtesy CBS Sports
By Chris Peters