Nebraska Football: 3 takeaways following the crushing loss to Minnesota

Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis (8) hands the ball off (Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports)
Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis (8) hands the ball off (Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports) /
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The Nebraska football team is now 3-6 thanks to a loss to the Minnesota Golden Gophers that didn’t feel like it needed to happen. That might actually be the first takeaway from yesterday’s contest. While it had felt as though Mickey Joseph had successfully exorcized the ghost of Scott Frost when it came to these kinds of games, the last two weeks have shown that it’s not all on Frost.

The Huskers took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter while managing to dominate the Gophers with a defense that hadn’t looked that good since last year. Then … things fell apart. At this point, the falling apart bit feels inevitable. It is what bad teams do, after all. But why did it have to happen on Saturday? What are the takeaways for why the Nebraska football team once again let victory turn into defeat in such a profound way?

Nebraska football has a quarterback management problem

There may not be anything more annoying to come out of both this week’s and last week’s loss than the idea that Chubba Purdy is better than Logan Smothers at anything. That’s not to say that Purdy might not have the better raw talent or the better passing ability when the two are in practice.

However, we’ve now had more than enough looks at both players when they are on the field in a game. That Mickey Joseph and Mark Whipple continued to give Purdy a long leash and took so long to give Smothers a real chance is confounding. It’s an indictment of the interim head coach.

Keep in mind that Purdy hasn’t looked great in any game he’s played this year. The hope was that most of that had to do with the fact that he hadn’t gotten much playing time. However, he got plenty in the last few weeks and actually looked…worse.

According to PFF, Purdy finished yesterday with 38.1 offensive and 31.4 passing grades. Smothers meanwhile posted a 79.4 total grade and an 83.4 passing grade. But Purdy kept playing because the Huskers “needed to pass” according to Joseph and Whipple. There has to be more questions as to why Purdy was the first choice to replace Casey Thompson in two straight games and then why he was allowed to lead the Huskers to offensive ineptitude for so long.

If the Nebraska football team wants to get even one more win this season, that needs to be figured out and corrected.