I keep going over in my mind what was different about last weeks win vs several losses earlier in the year. I’ve decided there were a few minor things, but overall not a lot…largely, the ball just bounced Nebraska’s way last week. There were some painful turnovers that killed scoring opportunities, and there were some frustrating penalties that kept drives alive for the Spartans…but lets talk about the little differences that helped.
Probably the biggest difference I saw was on the offensive line. Those guys got more push than I have seen in any other game this year, and did a great job in pass protection (no sacks on Tommy!). It didn’t hurt having Imani Cross picking his holes well and really fighting for extra yards! I thought the energy level as a whole was better last Saturday…and it stayed pretty good the entire game. There was even more energy in the stands. Although the Husker defensive backfield got picked apart again by the opposing QB, they still seem to be improving (other than the Purdue game). Instead of being able to drive a truck between the receivers and defenders, the Blackshirts were actually able to make good plays on the ball several times. Connor Cook had to make some perfect throws and his receivers had to make some spectacular catches to get their yards. It is certainly not where we want the Blackshirts to be, but the improvement is encouraging.
I actually thought the Minnesota game was a little cleaner with no turnovers and only 2 penalties, but the energy level was higher for the Michigan State game. Put the two together and the Huskers could be very special going forward.