An uncharacteristically fast start has Nebraska in good position early here at Memorial Stadium. The Huskers scored on their first two possessions, moving the football without much resistance.
It was hard to predict what kind of first-quarter showing you’d get from NU after senior day festivities and a memorable pregame scene.
In case you haven’t heard …
It’s Tom Osborne’s last home football game as a Nebraska employee. So fans in the East Stadium bleachers honored the legendary coach and current athletic director by spelling out “Thanks TO” in a card stunt. After the tunnel walk video recognized Osborne’s achievements, the Memorial Stadium big screen revealed this image: Osborne standing next to Bo Pelini outside the NU locker room. Together, Osborne and Pelini led the team out of the tunnel and on to the field. As expected, the soldout crowd went wild.
But despite all of that, the Huskers jumped to an early 10-0 lead. Minnesota’s driving now after an NU possession stalled out, so we’ll see how the Gophers respond.
Some observations are below:
>> No on-field Rex Burkhead sighting in his final home game yet. He’s in pads and he’s active on the sidelines. But no playing time for the senior, who’s battling back from an MCL sprain.
>> Take note of Nebraska’s pace offensively. The Huskers are moving quickly. A step faster than normal, especially to start the game. We’ll see if the tempo has an impact in the second half — or sooner.
>> Quarterback Taylor Martinez has targeted Jamal Turner six times so far. Turner has four catches for 48 yards. Lots of bubble screens or quick throws to Turner (Kenny Bell had one, too). Seems like Nebraska wants to use its speed against Minnesota.
>> Turner’s returning punts this week. With Tim Marlowe banged up and Ameer Abdullah contributing heavily at running back, Turner’s the next option.
>> Minnesota’s first play of the game: A zone read option against a the Huskers’ six-defensive-back formation. Quarterback Philip Nelson gained 9 yards on the play. ONe would expect to see more running plays out of spread looks going forward. Passing against this NU secondary won’t be easy.
>> Andrew Green needed help to get off the field just before the end of the first quarter. Green had lined up at the dime back spot once in the game. Mo Seisay took his place on the third down play after Green’s injury.