Well blogging after a W is always easy and nice....I got a good line up today so lets dive in.....
THE HOT LIST:
1. Nebraska/Misery Breakdown (Grade Outs)
2. What does this W mean for Nebraska?
3. Around the Big 12
1. Well I came close to calling the final score but man it sure didn't look like it for 3 quarters last night. Nebraska needed to pressure Gabbert all night...they did, Nebraska needed to create turnovers to win...they did, Nebraska needed to run the ball effectively on the road....they didn't...but still used a blitz-streak of 27 points to bury the Tigers in the fourth quarter and walk out of Faurot Field with a win for the first time since Eric Crouch won the Heisman....the conditions made it a mental game that simply the Tigers just couldn't keep up with in the fourth quarter. Gabbert was finally forced to make smart decisions with the game on the line and he crumpled under pressure. Nebraska flexed it's muscles and won 27-12 in front of a national audience last night. To the Grade Outs:
There's no question the defense has earned their blackshirts this week. They played flawless and gave up NO touchdowns...go back and look at the replay...Gabbert was short of the goal line at the end of the first half (and we have replay to look back at it...make the right call).....They forced Gabbert to make poor throws, they picked him off twice...and made him run for his life in the pocket all night. That's how you defend the Spread Offense...all you need is a dominate defensive line to create pressure and solid coverage behind them. Nebraska put on a clinic defensively....they sent a very much needed message to the Big 12 the Nebraska's defense is fast, vicious, and very very good.
Offensively the grade might seem a bit lower for most people considering we did win...but look at how poorly the offense executed for 3 quarters...it took a blown coverage play to spark Zac Lee to 3 TD's passes. The troubling thing about the offense was their inability to run the football early in the game to establish the tempo of the game. They started out with a couple of nice runs, but it seemed like Shawn Watson and his staff abandoned the power running game early in favor of the short passing game. This is troubling because Nebraska needs to be able to run the ball with authority on the road and last night they simply did not do that until late in the fourth quarter. Nebraska struggled mightily last night blocking Missouri's linebackers, giving Zac time to throw the ball, picking up the blitzes. These errors must be fixed because honestly Missouri is a decent defense but not a great one...Oklahoma will bring a great defense to Lincoln next month...and getting those mistakes corrected now is a must if the Huskers want to continue to win. Nebraska really won't be able to practice that running the ball "at you" mentality it needs to on the road until it plays Baylor...then you get Kansas two weeks after that for what ultimately could decide the Big 12 North this season.....No matter how you look at it....Nebraska lost a valuable opportunity to grow on offense on the road...they went back after blowing out Lafayette at home....corrections need to be made and players need to step up...or a loss on the road will become inevitable for this team. On a brighter note though...the offense did do something it didn't do at Virginia Tech and that was score TD's...instead of 5 FG's the Husker's pounded out 4 TD's for the victory....they made a step up to closing out the game but still have a lot of work to do.
2. What Does This W Mean For Nebraska?
This was a very interesting question that I pondered over last night and this morning....and here's my take on that:
This win no doubt gives Nebraska the inside track to winning the Big 12 North as you have to expect that KU will likely lose 2 games from Oklahoma, Texas, or Texas Tech. That means that a single loss in the conference gives Nebraska it's first Big 12 North title since 2006. The message was sent loud and clear to the teams in the Big 12 North...our defense is good...very good. They will no doubt keep Nebraska in every game this season and it will take a lot to break them to beat this team. (Look at VT's 2 miracle plays that beat the Huskers).....if you pride yourself on defense wins championships than I think that Nebraska has the makings of the best defense in the Big 12....Oklahoma has the next best but they have been exposed by speed and misdirection and have been worn down by the teams that beat them.....That doesn't bode well for Texas who I feel might be the best team in the conference but with the leagues 5th best D. Remember how Texas Tech's defense reeked havoc for Colt McCoy for most of the night......
Nationally....the win was huge to establish that Nebraska is getting back to beating teams it just simply needs to be beating every year....Sorry K-State, Iowa State, KU, and Missouri...Nebraska needs to beat you guys every year...their program is better...their tradition is richer...and their talent is better...I don't expect Nebraska to get much love from the pollsters this weekend but keep winning impressively with this defense and it will become harder and harder for them to keep Nebraska out of the top 10 by the time Nebraska travels to KU.
Nebraska made a statement last night....this program is on the right track and making progress...faster than it's counterparts want it too.....hope you guys enjoyed your time in the spotlight....get use to being in Nebraska's shadow.......again....because they are coming back...
3. Lets preview this weeks games around the Big 12
Baylor @ Oklahoma
Iowa State @ Kansas
Oklahoma State @ Texas A&M
Colorado @ Texas
Kansas State @ Texas Tech
The biggest game on this slate has to be OSU and Texas A&M, it'll be interesting to see how the Cowboys offense looks without Kendall Hunter (out with an injury) and Dez Bryant (suspended for the rest of the season)...this will really test Zac Robinson...I'll be watching to see if he really is the upper tier Big 12 quarterback that everyone thought he was or was just a product of the talent around him. I'll be looking to see if the Aggies can seize this opportunity and get a much needed upset win, to put the horrors away from last weekend's beatdown by Arkansas.
My Picks: Oklahoma, Kansas, OSU, Texas, Texas Tech
It's been a very great week of blogging...big games this weekend...coming back on Saturday for a special what we learned about the day blog like last week...it'll be the last one this season as Nebraska gets back to battling on Saturday's. Till Tomorrow.....Skocz Out!!!