Nov. 10, 2016 –
Welcome, Husker Nation, to Prediction Thursday, and today Im going to give you Carrikers Keys to the football game on Saturday – my keys to the Nebraska-Minnesota football game this weekend.
As of right now, I dont know who is going to be the starting quarterback, which leads me to my first key, which is on the offensive side of the football. Im not going to spend a ton of time on the offensive side of the football, because as I started to break down my prediction I started to realize Im not going to change much from what I said on Tuesday. And Tuesday I addressed what needs to happen if Ryker Fyfe starts instead of Tommy Armstrong. And even though Tommy gives us a much better chance of winning, I wouldnt change the game plan going in if I was the coach – or the keys to the game all that much offensively, and Ill tell you why.
The last 4 games leading into the Ohio State game, Tommys stats were 49.5% completion percentage, he was passing for just over 200 yards a game, he had 3 touchdowns and 6 INTs. I remember at one point this year I was happy because he had 11 total touchdowns and 1 INT. He just hasnt been playing well lately throwing the football. I dont think we can count on either quarterback through the air for us. I think Tommy gives us the better chance to win, but I wouldnt change the scheme a whole lot whether its Ryker Fyfe or Tommy Armstrong.
The things that would be different are Tommy gives you the deep ball. Hes got the stronger arm; you dont have to be so conservative with short passes like youd have to be with Ryker. And also I talked about the wildcat on Tuesdays video – check that video out if you havent seen it. I talked about the wildcat. I would still run that, you just wouldnt have to run it as much with Tommy under center. But Ill be honest with you, I like the idea of putting Zack Darlington and DeMornay Pierson-El back there, two guys who were high school quarterbacks who could run and throw with the football, and lets ignite this offense. Lets do something Minnesotas not ready for. This offense has been struggling, we have to do something different to get it rolling and I just dont think its going to be through the air. So lets do something different on the ground. And also it protects Tommy. We see what happens when Tommy gets knocked out of football games – it doesnt go well. So the less hits he takes the better it is for the team as a whole.
I watch a team like Navy who doesnt have the talent we do and the run the ball 90-95% of the time and they have been having a really good season and theyre a really good program. I remember watching a certain team growing up who ran the ball 90-95% of the time and they won a whole lot of games and a few championships along the way – that certain team.
Now, we can throw the ball a little bit more than that, but I think you know what Im saying.
My second key has to do with the defense, and it aint hard. Get back to playing solid defense like we were before we played Ohio State. Dont give up the big plays.
The third key – defense again. Get off the field. Third downs and turnovers. It aint complicated. Weve led Division I in interceptions multiple times this year. We dont have to lead it every week, but we need to take that football away and get back to that being our calling card.
Number four, nothing fancy about it. And it may be the most important thing about this Saturdays game. Its a gut check. Its a heart check. Do you know that in the past 15 years since 2001, 7 times we have given up 62 points or more? What I remember about last year was that Purdue game. One of the worst losses weve had in recent Husker history, and what did this team do? They came out fighting. They came out swinging and they followed that up with one of the biggest wins against Michigan State the very next week that weve had in recent Husker history. The question is, how is this team going to react?
The only thing that would be worse than the Ohio State loss on Saturday is losing to Minnesota on top of it. Just win. Just find a way to win. I dont care if we run the triple option every play and we put the kicker at quarterback. The score could be 2-1. They dont get the touchdown and kick the extra point. It could be 100-99, I dont care. Just find a way to win.
This is about heart. If the Patriots can win games with their second- and third-string quarterbacks and Ohio State can win a national championship with their third-string quarterback, who had never started a game in college football, we can find a way to beat Minnesota if our program is truly trending upwards. Not gonna be easy, but it can happen.
Now, you want my prediction for this game. My prediction for this game is simply this. I gave four keys. Find a way to ignite the offense; I think thats through running the football because I dont trust us throwing the football right now. No big plays on defense. Get off the field on defense. Come out and play like your season depends on it, cuz it just might. If we do those four things, or even three of those four things, were gonna win the football game. But if we dont, it doesnt matter who is under center, we will not win the football game. Now Im not dodging a tough question, you know me, Ill give my opinion. Im not just going to conjure up an answer. I dont know whos starting at quarterback and I dont know how this teams going to respond to that Ohio State loss; Im not in that locker room. But that is my prediction based on what the team does.
Oh, by the way, this is my dads favorite hat. Fifteen years old and its still pretty awesome.
I didnt give a lot of stats, but sometimes you just gotta fasten that chinstrap, lace up your cleats and hit somebody in the mouth. What I can guaran-frickin-tee: Its gonna be a butt whooping on Saturday. Were going to bring the butt or the whooping.
Go Big Red, and always remember to Throw the Bones!