Lot to like: Nebraska’s physicality on both sides of the ball. The offensive line more than held its own against this vaunted defense, and there had to be a sideline of red faces beneath the shiny green helmets when Imani Cross burst up the middle and outran the secondary on a 51-yard touchdown. Defensively, Nebraska’s front seven is feeling it, and it took all of the clutch throws Connor Cook could muster to put this one away.
Not so much: Nebraska’s idea of a punt return. Look, if you don’t want to go after a blocked punt, especially with some of the maximum protection schemes back there, fine. But then go down and set up a return. Bo Pelini seems content to do neither. It’s like they consider it a non-play. It’s not.
Grimminger Award: To Jeremiah Sirles, who not only suited up but started one week after being helped off the field at Michigan with a knee injury. Sirles tweaked the knee again and had to leave, but his presence showed a lot of character and leadership. Ol’ Harry would be proud, Jeremiah.
Bottom line: With two games left, the Huskers are playing for pride and nine wins, and we can debate what the latter is worth. But the program needs a strong finish. The young players who will be the nucleus of 2014 need it. There likely won’t be a Jan. 1 bowl this year, unless the Huskers fall to the Gator Bowl. Don’t count on that. The Fiesta Bowl/Buffalo Wild Wings folks haven’t had Big Red in the desert since 1999. You better believe they want ’em, against an old Big 12 friend.