Published Saturday, September 15, 2012 AT 5:34 PM / Updated at 9:02 PM
Coordinators impressed with NU’s response to adversity
Jon Nyatawa Omaha World-Herald

A tough week got even tougher at halftime Saturday. Nebraska took the field while its head coach headed to the hospital in an ambulance.

And there was a moment — with Nebraska up 28-10 and 5:12 left in the third quarter — where you couldn’t help but wonder if the Huskers were going to be overwhelmed by it all. Arkansas State had the football on NU’s 15-yard line.

The UCLA loss. The frustration echoing from different corners of the fan base all week. Chase Rome’s departure. Bo Pelini hospitalized. The Red Wolves coming back.

But the Huskers responded exactly the way they needed to, holding ASU to a field goal before scoring touchdowns on their next two offensive possessions to put the game away. They improved to 2-1 on the year with a 42-13 win.

Said defensive coordinator John Papuchis: “The theme of this week was, ‘How are we going to respond?’ … There were so many life lessons that I think our guys can take from this. It’s been a very trying and emotional week.”

And offensive coordinator Tim Beck: “We were able to gain our composure again and finish the game out, for the most part, like we wanted to.”

Obviously, the story Saturday is Pelini’s status. We’ll continue to pass along updates when we can. He released a statement after the game, saying he was “fine” and planned to be back to work Sunday.

Until we hear more, here’s a look back at Nebraska’s bounce back win, courtesy of Papuchis and Beck…


>> Biggest concern for NU’s defense going in? Adjusting to Arkansas State’s up-tempo offense. The Red Wolves moved faster than Nebraska thought they would. The Huskers were back on their “heels” early on. But that was expected. Said Papuchis: “We knew we had to survive that initial surge.”

>> Zaire Anderson, who started at weakside linebacker, showed a bit of nervousness and did miss some assignments, according to Papuchis. That’s OK, though. The staff played him because it needed his athleticism. “We knew there were going to be some bumps in the road,” Papuchis said. Anderson had three tackles.

>> This defensive lineup may not be the same one you see when Nebraska plays Wisconsin in two weeks. Going forward, Papuchis said the “style of offense will dictate who plays on defense.”


>> The game plan on offense was to establish the run and stick with it, Beck said. Mission accomplished. He didn’t plan on getting Ameer Abdullah so many carries (30 rushing attempts for 167 yards), though.

>> Taylor Martinez finished 13-for-14 (92.9 percent), the program record for the best single-game completion percentage with at least 10 passing attempts. The junior quarterback was “efficient” and “patient,” Beck said. “He just played within the confines of the offense,” Beck said.

>> What didn’t Beck like about Saturday’s performance? The four turnovers. And an illegal chop block in the third quarter that wiped out a third down conversion.

About Jon Nyatawa

Jon Nyatawa has covered local sports, primarily Nebraska football, for The Omaha World-Herald since 2008. He and his laptop, cell phone, tape recorder, pen and notebook all live in Lincoln. Follow him on Twitter: @JonNyatawa. Email him here: He welcomes feedback.


  1. joey says:

    Hey Beck? On the things you didn’t like? What about an OL that let a cup cake team like Ark St smack TM around??? Wow that gives me a hint to how ugly division play will be for NU. 6-6 season for NU anyone??

  2. trailboss says:

    Next week I hope Braylon Heard gets 20 carries and Cross gets 10-12. There is no acceptable reason for a running back to have 30 carries in non conference game with the talent Nebr has at running back.

    1. Colorado Springer says:

      An acceptable reason may be that the game was not out of reach until well into the fourth quarter. Arkansas State is an explosive team.

  3. A Husker says:

    Nice job AA!! Now we know more of what he is capable of. We can count on Ameer same way we can Rex if he keeps ahold o that ball. Braylon is FUN to watch run. We’ll see him more I bet next week. For once in three years I agree with espn “That looked like Nebraska football. They ran the ball, the possessed the ball…” Congrats to the team. So much to learn as QB but TM is keeping a well earned form for the most part and undoubtedly learning more each week. A few answers got underway yesterday. Get well coach. GO BIG RED.

  4. Doug says:

    Why do we continue to change personel on defense. We find a good mix and now say we may change again. Hard to get chemistry with no reputition.

  5. Touchdown FG says:

    This was a good win. I don’t have a problem w/ AA getting 30 carries. He’s tough, he can take it, & we have others to step up if he gets hurt. Our O-line played pretty well, but Ark St. seemed small. I wonder how we’ll do in Conf. play? Hopefully our defense gets more consistent w/ tackling. We seem to be in okay positions but miss tackles. Idk what’s goin’ on with Wisconsin right now, so hopefully we can take em’ down & go to Oh. St. @ 4-1. & win.