The problems that plagued Nebraska’s defense in its loss last week at Minnesota appear to have carried over to Saturday. Northwestern’s running all over the Huskers so far.
The Wildcats are calling running plays about two-thirds of the time so far, and that percentage may even increase if they continue to have this much success. They’re averaging 8.8 yard per carry (totaling 123 yards already).
Nebraska’s defense gave up 271 yards to Minnesota’s downhill-style attack last week. Lots of things to fix on the sideline for the Huskers once again.
It’ll be up to the NU offense to keep pace.
The Huskers looked sharp on their first drive, operating at a quick pace and keeping Northwestern off balance as they covered 76 yards on eight plays.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Tommy Armstrong looked as smooth as ever running that option (his fake pitch is deadly). And he’s been pretty accurate throwing the ball.
But he’ll need help — kind of like the impressive 23-yard catch by Quincy Enunwa between two defenders that pulled the Huskers out of a third-and-20 hole.
The Huskers’ second drive ended after three plays (all on the ground). Their third drive was derailed by a sack.
Other observations are below…
>> Nebraska’s rotated more at receiver and running back that it has in recent games. Already, five receivers have played. All three I-backs have at least one carry (including a jet sweep handoff to freshman Terrell Newby).
>> Pretty aggressive play-calling early by Bo Pelini and the NU defensive staff. The Huskers, often lining up out of a 3-4 look, have blitzed a lot. The tactics might have worked had the defenders tackled a little bit better — especially on a 9-yard scramble by Colter on third down during Northwestern’s first drive.
>> Linebacker David Santos (in most situations) appears to be the one who’s matched up against Northwestern superback Dan Vitale, who’s been the Wildcats’ most consistent pass-catcher in Big Ten play. Senior defensive back Andrew Green has lined up on Vitale as well.
>> Nebraska’s defense has played mostly out of its nickel package, though it’s gone to dime on pass-first downs. Redshirt freshman LeRoy Alexander (entering at safety) has been replacing Santos. Green’s been moving from safety to the dime back spot in those instances.
>> A slight concern for Northwestern’s backfield going forward. Redshirt freshman Stephen Buckley left with a serious left knee injury (he was carted off). The Wildcats are already without Venric Mark and Mike Trumpy. … Although, Treyvon Green looked just fine on a 39-yard run up the middle, leading to Northwestern’s second touchdown.
>> NU senior Wil Richards, a special teams contributor, was also carted off the field. He was injured on a kickoff return.
>> Former Husker Ndamukong Suh is in the house. He received a standing ovation between quarters.