Monday Morning Quarterback: Do you see the Huskers beating the point spread against the Sooners?
Anyhoo… if the Illinois game hadn’t been such a soul-sucking gut punch, we wouldn’t all be feeling like we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. But alas, that game couldn’t have been a worse start to the season. That’s why we are all a little nervous about the national TV spotlight on the Husker / Sooner game. But goodness, what an opportunity for Big Red to show and prove that the recruiting and hard work and staff adjustments and investments in the program are starting to pay off.
So yeah, Fordham and Buffalo aren’t powerhouses by any means, although Buffalo has a legit program. And the Mid-American Conference has shown it definitely has game and should not be taken lightly by any Power 5 team. But the Huskers handled Buffalo, overcoming some (again) key mistakes to take care of business on a tough, hot day.
One of most upsetting things about the Illinois game is that Huskers didn’t seem like they were ready for what seemed apparent to all on the outside was a big game for the Huskers. So, while we can’t put too much into the following two wins, let’s look at the positives from those games and how those can translate to a tough game for the Sooners in Norman.
The Blackshirts have been carrying the team these past two years. They bend, they make the occasional mistake, but they rarely break. They totally put the clamp on Buffalo. They look like they will again be able to keep the Huskers right in the mix in most games. And how great is it to see a Huskers Big Ten defensive player of the week – and from a sophomore linebacker no less? There is talent and playmaking on the defensive side of the ball. The Blackshirt tradition is alive and growing stronger, and players like Reimer, Deontai Williams, Cam Taylor-Britt and JoJo Domain – all potential future NFL players – are great signs of the tradition’s revival.
On offense, things are dicey. Crucial mistakes and penalties continue. And most worrying is a real struggle to put together any kind of consistent running game, making it really tough for the team to put together the long drives to wear down the other team and give the defense the rest they need. There is some good news. Gabe Ervin looks to be a potential stud running back that a running game can be built around. A 6-foot, 215-pound freshman that almost never gets negative yardage, and can also get the tough goal line yardage for points.
The other part of the offense, which is super important in a game like the one against the Sooners, is that the Huskers now have two guys who can make big plays. Adrian Martinez has been ripping some thrilling runs, consistently reaches 300 yards total yardage, and so far this year has cut down on his mistakes, save for the heartbreaking one against Illinois. In Samori Toure, it sure looks like Nebraska has its first NFL-type big receiver since Stanley Morgan, that can get 50-50 balls and can bust a long gain at any time. Those two guys can put three or four touchdowns on the board and keep the Huskers close enough to the Sooners, thanks to the Blackshirts, to be in the game down the stretch.
Oklahoma had a tough game against Tulane, and yes they wiped up the floor with Western Carolina, but the Southern Conference is a far cry from MAC. What do you think – do the Huskers stomp all over the spread and make a game of it in Norman?