Nebraska Football: Huskers are officially a second half team under Mickey Joseph

Nebraska Cornhuskers tight end Travis Vokolek celebrates his touchdown (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
Nebraska Cornhuskers tight end Travis Vokolek celebrates his touchdown (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Nebraska football team might be just 3-3 on the season, but there’s quite a bit of excitement surrounding the Huskers these days. One of the reasons for that excitement is that this is a team that has managed to find a way to overcome its own struggles to win its last two games.

The Nebraska football team is far from perfect under Mickey Joseph. For quite a long while against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, it looked positively bad. Until after halftime.

That’s one of the things that stands out for the Cornhuskers under Joseph. The team is one that has gone into the half, seemingly figured things out and come out with a better plan and a better approach.

In the three games that Joseph has coached, the Huskers have outscored their opponents 35-14 in the second half. Even against Oklahoma, despite the fact that NU lost 49-14, the Huskers were only outscored 14-7 in the second half.

At the time, it looked like that was more a spot of mercy from Brent Venables than anything else. But perhaps it was more about Joseph figuring things out and finding a way to get his team to play better.

Since the departure of Erik Chinander though, the team has really transformed itself after the half. Under the dynamic duo of Joseph and new defensive coordinator Bill Busch, the team hasn’t allowed a single point in the second half.

Against Indiana, the Nebraska football team allowed just 71 yards in the third and fourth quarter. Against Rutgers, they allowed just 85 in the same period. The Hoosiers had 219 yards in the first half, the Scarlet Knights had 263.

Since Busch took over defensive play calling, the Cornhuskers have allowed just 9 first downs after halftime. The offense has recorded 20 of its own. Yards per play allowed were especially impressive when comparing halves. IU had 5.6 YPP in the first and second quarter, they had just 2.5 YPP in the third and fourth. Likewise, RU was at 6.4 YPP in the first and second. 3.1 in the third and fourth quarters.

It’s not just the defense. By and large, the Nebraska football team is more efficient on offense as well. While they had more yards and scored more points against Indiana in the first 30 minutes, they had more total rushing yards and were better on third down after halftime. Joseph’s squad had more yards in every aspect and was slightly better on third down after the break.

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Now that the Nebraska football team has shown they are indeed a second-half team, especially on the defensive side of the ball, it’s time for Mickey Joseph can also make his squad a first-half team. When and if that happens, the Big Ten West should be on alert.