Nebraska Football: Fatalism and finality arrives against the Wolverines

Trey Palmer #3 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers looks for yards after a first half catch (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Trey Palmer #3 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers looks for yards after a first half catch (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Nebraska football fans around the country had a strong feeling that the game against Michigan wasn’t going to go the Huskers’ way. But fans are allowed to be fatalistic about their team’s chances. What struck me more than a few times, especially in the first half in The Big House, was how much the Cornhuskers looked like they knew they were going to lose.

One of the things that won Scott Frost so many points around here, and so many years, is that his teams usually went into a game looking like it expected to be able to come out with a win. Sure, they rarely accomplished that, but they were in every game and were usually giving opponents a scare for a little while. Up until Saturday, the same could be said for Mickey Joseph-led squads.

But starting right from the opening gun, the offensive game plan especially seemed to be more about limiting damage than trying to win.

That’s not to say that “limiting damage” isn’t a good approach. Joseph talked all week about going to the run more and being more deliberate on offense. That would have been fine. But this felt like the team was deliberately trying to shorten the game and just get off the field.

Even when it was only 7-0, Michigan and the Nebraska football team forced the Wolverines to punt on their second possession, but there didn’t seem to be the usual ripple of excitement through the Huskers team. There wasn’t a feeling of “oh my gosh, can they make this a game?” It just felt like the team was probably going to punt it back. And that’s what happened.

Coming into the game as a 30-point dog, it’s not like I thought the Cornhuskers were going to pull off an upset. But I expected the team to look like they expected to give Harbaugh’s boys a game. After all, they did last year. And Michigan was arguably a better team last year.

The fatalism that infected the state of Nebraska all week, with quite a few people talking about how they weren’t excited about the game, seems to have infected the team. And thanks to that infection of fatalism, there’s now some finality.

The Huskers are 3-7 on the year. They’re going to miss a bowl for the sixth straight season. It sure feels like they’re going to go 3-9 for the second straight campaign. That’s some serious fatalism I understand, but it feels warranted. Two more games, two more weeks and then the fun (?) really starts for the Nebraska football team.