Nebraska Football: Friday was full of Hawkeye Heartbreak

COLLEGE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 23: Rahmir Johnson #14 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers runs with the ball against the Maryland Terrapins on November 23, 2019 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images)
COLLEGE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 23: Rahmir Johnson #14 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers runs with the ball against the Maryland Terrapins on November 23, 2019 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images) /

Nebraska football had a tough game on Friday.

“So close. So close yet so far .” Those Frankie Valli lyrics may not have been written about a football game, but they certainly applied to the weekend clash between Nebraska football and Iowa. It took me some time to come to terms with my thoughts about the game considering upon the conclusion of the competition I was bouncing of the emotional rev limiter.

After careful consideration with a clear mind I have come to think that this game showcased perfectly the promise of young talent on  the Nebraska football roster hamstrung by simple sloppy mistakes. Adrian Martinez’s return to form gives me optimism about the remaining games against Purdue and Minnesota as well as next season. This is not a knock to Luke McCaffrey as I still believe in his potential, simply stating that with a convincing performance throwing the ball and

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eliminating turnovers Adrian Martinez has reestablished himself in the starting role at present and near future. Wan’Dale Robinson provided an excellent performance totaling 117 total yards Robinson  seems to be growing in prowess week by week.

Another positive to take away from this game was on the defensive side of the ball. Everyone knew how Iowa planned on attacking the Cornhuskers; with a physical run game. In the first half Nebraska stifled the Hawkeyes ground game forcing them to move the ball through the air, and holding Iowa to 13 points in the first half. Though the defense loosened up in the second half they gave the team a chance to win and you cannot ask for much more than that.

The final positive points I would like to bring up are that Iowa relies on being more physical than their opponents and muscling them around, however they were unable to break Nebraska defense. Though I will admit that the defense did bend more as the game went on, they made a key stop following a special teams turnover to give the offense the ball one more time. The final positive point is in regards to attitude and energy of the team. Following a horrible loss the weekend before, the team showed a lot of character by responding with a respectable performance on the road, in a rivalry game against a well prepared and talented Iowa squad. This is a good sign to see moving forward and shows that the culture of the team is moving in the right direction, attempting to fight through adversity, not packing their bags and  calling it a season.

Now after making note of the positives, let’s move into discussing the negative aspects of the game. In my opinion there are two major things that hurt Nebraska in this game and have hurt them all season long; Turnovers and lack of second half offense. Nebraska scored on four of their first 6 drives and none after that.

Lack of offense in the second half proved detrimental against Northwestern and almost allowed Penn State to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. This must be fixed in order to win games. Though penalties never help, they are endemic to the game of football so I won’t go into much more detail on the topic of penalties; so on to turnovers.

The fumble on the punt was a damaging blow, but thanks to a stand by the defense and some help from the crossbar it was not fatal. The final, fumble, interception, act of divine evil whatever you want to call it was.  This fatal blow WAS NOT Adrian Martinez’s fault. He had begun his throwing motion and did not have time to react. In a situation where protecting the quarterback and giving him time to find receivers downfield is key to success, it is paramount he be protected.

Though this is all I have to say about the game, I would like to address the fans. This hasn’t been the season we expected or hoped for. There have been definite positives accompanied with many negatives. However in these strange times we are in, let’s be happy there was a season at all. Considering the bountiful amount of young talent on the Nebraska football roster there is most certainly cause for optimism.  So let’s stay positive, stay engaged, hope for the best the rest of the way and expect big things next year.