It wasn’t pretty on Saturday, but the Nebraska football team found a win to grind out a victory over Louisana Tech.
And gosh, what a sight for sore eyes.
If you’re a fan expecting the ’95 Huskers to trot out that tunnel each week, you’ve got another thing coming.
I even saw one “fan” on Twitter/X write, “I know we won, but it felt like a loss.”
Really? Where have you been for the past 10 years?
In case you forgot, let me help you out:
Six straight losing seasons. Never more than five wins. Last year, Nebraska was tied 17-17 with FCS North Dakota late in the 3rd quarter before pulling away. The next week, they lost to Sun Belt Conference member Georgia Southern. We all know what transpired the next day.
Nebraska football is learning how to win. We have every reason to believe that at any time in the last five years, they would have lost that game.
Don’t turn your nose up at this win–or any win.
One intangible that’s helping Nebraska football
Perhaps the single most important reason Nebraska football has been able to close out teams it should beat the past two weeks is that this coaching staff knows how to make halftime adjustments.
Matt Rhule’s four-quarter philosophy is no joke. Start fast? That’s a bonus. Finish strong. Non-negotiable.
A team can only finish strong if coaches can make the proper adjustments. We’ve seen that on both sides of the ball in the last two weeks.
Has it been perfect? Of course not. Old habits die hard. But there’s growth. That’s the one thing everyone–including most fans–wanted to see this year.
Can they do it against big-boy competition in the Big Ten?
We’re about to find out.
Nebraska football’s recipe for success this year
There’s an obvious formula for Nebraska to get to six wins and a bowl game:
- Stop the run.
- Run the ball.
- Solid special teams (even or better).
In other words, Nebraska football should be the more physical team down after down. Be the team that takes a hit and gets back up. Be the team that delivers the knockout punch.
“Body blows,” Rhule calls it.
Does it sound like Iowa’s recipe for the past decade?
Sure. Maybe. Aside from this year, that’s not so bad when considering where Iowa’s been lately.
My eyes are especially on the second element–running the ball. Can Nebraska’s run game continue to improve? Let’s be honest. The offense can look…lethargic at times. Even sloppy. That was especially true last weekend in what was perhaps the most boring first half of college football history.
That’s mostly due to the offensive line.
But only parts of it.
What intrigues me is that the offensive line improves as the game progresses. Now, it’s obvious that Turner Corcoran continues to struggle. Teddy Prohazka can’t get to 100% soon enough. But the others? I see growth. They create holes. They finish plays.
In fact–and this may shock you–Bryce Benhart graded out as one of the top tackles in the Big Ten and the #10 tackle in the nation according to Pro Football Focus.
On Saturday, they wore LA Tech down. And it produced over 300 yards rushing.
If not for a couple of holding calls on receivers downfield (at least one of which I think was bogus), Nebraska would have had over 400 yards rushing.
I’ll take that any day against any opponent.
Can the Huskers replicate this recipe in the Big Ten?
Be honest. Does anyone on Nebraska’s schedule scare you other than Michigan? Probably not. The West division is a dumpster fire right now.
Are there four wins there? I think so. Some projections are also saying Nebraska football will get to a bowl.
Stop the run. Run the ball. Play solid special teams.
Nebraska football has struggled to beat the Big Ten for years. So now, they’ve become like them. It won’t win national championships today, but it’s not the worst thing in the world.
It’s the path of least resistance to Nebraska football becoming a winning, respectable program again.
Go Big Red.