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The punt returns were nice to see. That was one thing that, in addition to the sacks, looked like the Nebraska of old.

As non-remarkable as Taylor’s performance was, with last year’s quarterback we might have lost this game. (I’m presuming at least a couple more interceptions, leading directly to opponent scores. That might be a stretch...we’ll never know.)

Ruud playing like, well, a Ruud kept this game from becoming alarming. His interception and TD altered the course of the game. Maine had the momentum at one point in the 4th quarter. I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence, but watching the game, it was true. I have rarely seen a home crowd so quiet late in a season opener. I’ve certainly never seen it against a Division 1-AA opponent.

Taylor played like you’d expect a player to play for whom a 1-AA team was a step up in competition. It seems like he hasn’t been going against our first-team D very much in practice. Maine’s pressure bothered him a lot. At times it was hard to tell if our line just wasn’t protecting very well, or Taylor’s lack of mobility was the issue. If Taylor continues to struggle, I foresee that Callahan won’t stick with him like he did with Dailey. Some of the coach’s comments make me think he believes the team has other, legitimate options this year. Ganz could see time, or perhaps Beck. Taylor had some balls dropped that could have led to points, but both of his interceptions were of the “I can’t believe he threw that” kind.

The running game was somewhat ho-hum. Ross doesn’t usually have two-fumble games. It was disappointing to not see Glenn get any carries, because there were situations where I think we could have used his power.

Once again the play calling was curious. Let me go out on a limb and say that this is a Callahan/Norvell issue at this point, rather than a “We just need better players” thing. On our first drive of the game, we ran on 4th and 6 when we were in field goal range. And then those three straight passes (ending in a pick) from the 1 at the end of the first half were…unpretty.

On defense, it’s disturbing to see Grixby getting burned by Maine receivers on simple out patterns. Much of the time, he was at least 3-5 yards away when the ball arrived. Sacks hide this problem pretty well against the likes of Maine. When we come up against a team that throws well, and has a line that isn’t so overmatched against ours, our secondary could get torched. In many ways, this issue concerns me more than our quarterback play. Green seems (generally) closer to his man on pass routes, but he is still a work-in-progress. Bowman is a good player, but he doesn’t seem quite ready. Of course, his hamstring problem doesn’t help.

On the good side, our linebackers rock, even without Octavien (who I am very bummed about), and the new additions to our D-line add much-needed juice.

Still, if the “Maine version” of NU shows up against Texas Tech, we are going to get bombed again. Our next two opponents (Wake and Pitt) are 0-1 right now, so maybe we have the chance to get better in September, without absorbing a loss.


Because of our league (and the nice perk that Texas isn’t on the schedule), the Huskers have the chance to have an okay 2005 season. This was only the first game, but it appears NU may need a few more years of great recruiting before the Maines of the college football world come into Lincoln and are dispatched with properly. We need a Frantz Hardy and Steve Octavien at more positions across the board before the Saturdays return where fans are flipping through game programs in the 4th quarter, trying to look up the player’s name who just made a nice play.


Fellow Big 12 teams Iowa St. (defeating Illinois St.) and Kansas (over Florida Atlantic) both won by whopping 11 point margins. Meanwhile, Kansas St. beat Florida International by 14, and Oklahoma St. won against Montana St. by 5. Not all that sizzling, to put it mildly. Makes beating Maine by 18 a little more palatable.


I hope the defensive line’s sacks continue. Even if we only get half the amount. Perhaps Taylor will have added motivation against Wake, his former team, and will come up big. Historically this has been known to happen with players who are transfers. Maybe we’ll be on the “giving” end this time, rather than the other way around. Fluellen and LeFlore coming back from injury would help things along, too.

The voice of Scarlet Commentary is Jeffrey A. Leever, a Nebraska native also stuck behind enemy lines in Jefferson County, Colo. He is a 1994 graduate of the University of Nebraska (Kearney) and a freelance writer and author. Some of Jeff’s writings of the nonfootball kind can be found online at Barnes & Noble (12), Amazon.com (12), and MenofIntegrity.net (12345). Contact Jeff at splasheditorial@hotmail.com.