Nebraska’s offense appears to have finally found its rhythm. But is it too late?
The Huskers drove 93 yards on 12 plays, trimming their deficit in half when Taylor Martinez found Rex Burkhead for a 3-yard score with 3:11 left before halftime. Martinez was 7-for-7 on the possession, throwing for 53 yards. He also had two big runs for 32 combined yards.
Wisconsin tried to answer but missed a field goal just before halftime, its efforts aided by a third down pass interference penalty on Daimion Stafford (a good call because the NU safety never looked for the ball).
Despite the sloppy start, filled with unforced errors and silly mistakes, Nebraska has a chance here. The Huskers seem to have the momentum, at least. The third quarter is certainly important.
Here are some observations from the first half of play…
>> Injuries to watch: Cornerback Josh Mitchell left the game after dropping James White in the backfield, but he returned on the Badgers’ next possession. … Defensive tackle Thad Randle couldn’t put any weight on his right leg when he left the game early in the second quarter.
>> Wisconsin’s averaging just 1.9 yards per carry on the ground, though much of that is influenced by a couple sacks of quarterback Joel Stave. Still, Nebraska’s not been getting gashed up front so far. Montee Ball has 59 yards on 17 carries.
>> That roughing the punter penalty called on Stanley Jean-Baptiste was obviously a key play. It led to Wisconsin’s third touchdown. But what was the play call? Did Nebraska bring the block? Was that the correct play call for that situation?
>> It appears that Nebraska’s coaches were confident enough in their cornerbacks to leave them in one-on-one scenarios against Wisconsin receiver Jared Abbrederis. It hasn’t worked out too well for the Huskers. Abbrederis has five catches for 107 yards … The Huskers are giving up an average of 17.9 yards per completion to the Badgers.
>> Speaking of the secondary, NU’s utilized a different look in certain short yardage situations. Safety P.J. Smith has lined up at cornerback, with reserve Harvey Jackson taking his place next to Stafford. Interesting look. (No Jean-Baptiste so far and very little Mo Seisay). … Ciante Evans has played lots of cornerback.
>> Is Wisconsin going to continue to kick off to Ameer Abdullah? He already found the open field on one and was dangerously close to breaking another one.