Blog Entry

State of Shock: Iowa State 9, Nebraska 7

Posted on: October 24, 2009 7:08 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2009 3:02 am
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The Huskers entered the stadium solemnly, four-by-four, arms interlocked as a show of unity.  A silent display to all, a statement that they would not be divided following a loss to Texas Tech the week before and and all the criticism that followed it.

The Cyclones entered the stadium not having won there since 1977.

As the old rhetorical question goes, "If you knew before the game that Nebraska's defense would hold the Cyclones, who were playing with a redshirt freshman at QB and another redshirt freshman replacing the Big XII's leading rusher, to nine points, would you think that the Huskers would win?"  Yes, that was a bit longer than your typical rhetorical question, but the point is made.  Most Husker fans would feel confident going into that contest, not knowing that the sum total of Nebraska's points would be a three-yard touchdown run by Dontrayevous Robinson.

Nebraska's first play from scrimmage resulted in a fumble (fittingly, it would later seem) by Roy Helu Jr.  Nebraska's last play ended in an interception by Zac Lee.  In between, there would be six more giveaways by the Husker offense.

The Cyclones, meanwhile, didn't turn the ball over even once, preserving the ball and a two-point victory that left Husker fans speechless, temporarily.

Temporarily I say, because my cell phone has already blown up with calls of "Fire Watson!", "Bench Lee!" and the suggestion that our trip next week to Waco, to watch the Huskers play Baylor, be canceled.

So, is the "pound of flesh" that Husker Nation demands warranted?

To be sure, an autopsy of this cold corpse of a game is needed, no matter how painful.

Following the Robinson score, Nebraska's defense stopped Iowa State and, after a punt, Nebraska's offense started at their own fourteen-yard line.  They moved the ball methodically to the Iowa State sixteen where a bizarre play that changed the entire complexion of the game occurred.  The Cyclones' Jesse Smith tipped a Lee pass intended for Mike McNeill which bounced around like an exploding kernel of popcorn and finally landed in his teammate's hands.  The game wasn't the same after that.

To be sure, this is not your father's Cyclones.  A fake punt on the next possession extended the Iowa State drive.  Jerome Tiller (one of the aformentioned redshirt freshmen) threw a 47-yard bomb to Jake Williams for a touchdown.  A recurring theme: Nebraska's defense played well overall, but gave up a huge, game-changing play.  And while the extra point was blocked by Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska would not lead again, let alone score.

In the second quarter, Niles Paul dropped a sure touchdown catch as he was tripped up on his way to six points.  The ball dribbled into the end zone and was pounced upon by a Cyclone defender.  From touchdown to touchback in the blink of an eye.

On Iowa State's ensuing drive, it looked like Nebraska would force a turnover of their own as Barry Turner stripped a scrambling Tiller, but Jared Crick was unable to recover the fumble.  Any momentum that Nebraska might have gained was thwarted.

The Husker offense tried to compose themselves and drove down the field following a Cyclone punt.  Then Helu supposedly fumbled at the ISU two yard-line.  I say supposedly, because the call on the field was overturned when it seemed fairly cut and dried to everyone not wearing Iowa State colors (or black and white stripes).  Touchback.

Either way, Helu wasn't right.  Robinson's number was called.  For a while he shouldered Nebraska's offensive load and did it with an aggressive attitude, an attitude that ended up costing him and his team.  While running through Cyclone defenders in the red zone, Robinson gained a first down, was stood up at the ISU five and, while he was fighting for more yards, stripped of the ball.

The Cyclone offense was stopped once more by the Husker defense.  Nebraska again with the ball, their inconsistent offensive line playing almost the entire game without its starting center, Jacob Hickman, allowed a sack, bringing up third and fifteen.  Lee completed a pass to Menelik Holt, who was also stripped.  Cyclones' ball.

The Blackshirts again stopped Iowa State despite the Cyclones having their best field position of the day and Suh punctuated the defensive stop with another blocked kick that was returned by Sean Fisher to the Iowa State thirty-five.  However, the offense failed to get anything out of it.

If this sounds repetitive, well, it was.  All day, Nebraska's offense shot itself in the foot, the hand, the head and Nebraska's defense tried to keep the walking wounded of the offense in the game.  They couldn't.

Two more interceptions by Lee in the fourth quarter, as he tried to make something, anything happen and, in the end, Nebraska would have more turnovers (eight) than points.

The turnovers would breakdown this way: Helu fumble, Lee interception, Paul fumble, Helu fumble, Robinson fumble, Holt fumble, Lee interception, Lee interception.

Did Lee throw errant passes?  Yes.  But, while it's easy to point at the quarterback for the loss, his receivers had too many dropped passes.  The Huskers couldn't hold onto the ball when it mattered and tied their record for turnovers in a game.

Take nothing away from Iowa State.  Yes, they got lucky at times, but they also forced turnovers.  Again, Nebraska had eight giveaways.  Iowa State had none.  Nebraska lost by two points.  They were lucky that the margin was that small.  Against the powerhouses of the Big XII, they would have lost by five touchdowns or more.

So, you could blame Lee.  You could blame Watson.  But when the offense literally drops the ball on almost every possession, this is the result.  

Needless to say, it ain't pretty.  As ugly as a 9-7 game sounds in theory, this one was downright hideous.

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Comments

Since: Dec 1, 2006
Posted on: March 10, 2010 3:22 am
 

State of Shock: Iowa State 9, Nebraska 7

Wow ISU 9 Nebraska 7. 

Too bad ISU didn't have their starting QB, conference leading (at that time) running back and several other players available for that game or it would have really been something to see.



Since: Oct 11, 2006
Posted on: November 6, 2009 10:29 pm
 

State of Shock: Iowa State 9, Nebraska 7

Maybe we should just put some "stick'em" on Watsons hands so he'll quit fumbling the ball.Nice one, Schlinn.



Since: Dec 19, 2006
Posted on: October 30, 2009 10:28 pm
 

State of Shock: Iowa State 9, Nebraska 7

In my opinion it's the Offensive Coordinators job to put the team in a good position to be successful.  Would most of you agree with that?

Okay with that being said, do you not think we were in a good position to be successful against Iowa State?  Is 5 trips within the opponents 5 yard line not a good chance to be successful?

Maybe we should just put some "stick'em" on Watsons hands so he'll quit fumbling the ball.



Since: Aug 15, 2009
Posted on: October 30, 2009 8:56 pm
 

State of Shock: Iowa State 9, Nebraska 7

Well, the offense struggles and we are trying to find reasons why.  We have poor recievers who can't hold on to the ball.  A QB who needs recievers who are eight feet tall and running backs who need to empty the jar of stick um before they walk on the field, those my fellow Husker fans are fundamentals. It also seems to me our offense is in disarray and in need of direction, an identity.  One week the offensive line can't block anyone or else they hold everyone, does anyone see a direct link to anything in common?  Seems to me it goes back to the offensive coaching staff.  We have ,no continuity in anything we are doing, it almost seems as if when we find something that works we go away from doing that.
I think it is the coaching, and that blame rests squarly with Coach Watson, that my friends is the bottom line.
The Big Red Machine has the defense, but we need changes on the offensive side of the ball.



Since: Mar 13, 2008
Posted on: October 27, 2009 12:44 pm
 

State of Shock: Iowa State 9, Nebraska 7

I have been chewing on this game for several days, trying to sort out all the emotions from a shocking loss. A team that seemed to be pulling itself back toward elite status the way Nebraska looked early this season should not lose at home to Iowa State.
Bo was absolutely right when talking about the turnovers. I didn't think it was possible to turn the ball over eight times in a game. 
There are three main areas of concern on offense.
1, the offensive line, which was supposed to be the offense's strength, has been inconsistent. I put that on coaching. That means you Barney Cotton. You've got to have them better prepared so they can execute on game day. This is a question of focus and determination, not talent.
2, drops by the wide receivers. Niles Paul has a load of physical skills, but he has not had his head in the game the way he needs to. Nebraska's biggest problems started when he dropped that lateral against Texas Tech and quit on the play. He hasn't turned it around since and that attitude seems to be carrying over to the other wideouts. That must change. 
3, Zac Lee just isn't getting the job done. He seems to wilt against better defenses. With three losses, it's time to look to the future and Zac isn't it. Time to put Cody Green in as the starter. He's going to take some lumps, but it will be part of building him up rather than a situation of trying to hang on.
All these points are killers for what looked like a promising season because the Blackshirts are the Blackshirts again. The defense, particularly Mr. Suh, has been awesome. How else to you hold a team to 9 points when you give the ball away 8 times? The offense owes them an apology.



Since: Nov 28, 2007
Posted on: October 25, 2009 8:43 pm
 

State of Shock: Iowa State 9, Nebraska 7

Tex,

I do think that your drop count is pretty close for the game I thought around 4 on other posts; but I am STRICTLY talking about the last 2 drives in the 4th qtr and I don't remember any obvious drops just INT's.  Lees passes were all too high or low or behind the Wr.

We were only down 2 you don't need to abandon the RUN like was done. 



Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: October 25, 2009 10:28 am
 

State of Shock: Iowa State 9, Nebraska 7

Sorry about this one, Tex.  I'm amazed they were even in the game, turning it over eight times.  When you turn it over 8 times, that falls squarely on the players, be it Lee, somebody fumbling the ball, or the offensive line not protecting Lee (not sure exactly where this falls as I didn't see any of the game).  If you want to see a team where you can blame a lack of offense on the O.C., look no further than my Gators.  The spread option has practically disappeared, along with two of our better plays out of it A) Pitching it to Demps or Rainey on the edge and B) the inside shovel pass to Hernandez.  Still, I'd write this one off and get ready for next week, and work on ball security.  It always sucks knowing you lost the game when by all rights you were the better team.  That being said, though, nobody deserves to win giving the other team eight extra cracks at it.



Since: Dec 10, 2008
Posted on: October 25, 2009 3:00 am
 

State of Shock: Iowa State 9, Nebraska 7

Remember when we sucked at offense. Everyone blamed the QB and everyone was calling for the backup. Nobody was impressed the QB in his first season at Nebraska. But the coaches kept saying that he was the guy. Yeah there was competition from the second string but the starter was the guy. The offense just couldn't put a game together. It wasn't his fault. Then the starter broke his collar bone and the backup went in and re-wrote the record books. It was 2007, it was Sam Keller who sucked and it was Joe Ganz who didn't. Watson was the coach making the call then. He is the one making the call now. When do you learn from the past and aim for success in the future? This is the same story, second verse.



Since: Oct 11, 2006
Posted on: October 25, 2009 2:08 am
 

State of Shock: Iowa State 9, Nebraska 7

Wow, that was barely coherent.

As for dropped passes, I counted two by Gilleyen, two by Paul, one by Holt and one by Kinnie.



Since: Nov 28, 2007
Posted on: October 25, 2009 12:50 am
 

State of Shock: Iowa State 9, Nebraska 7

I blame Watson.  Why??  Our line blocked well and even though there were TO we were over 5 yards a carry and only down by 2.  The last 2 TO's were by Lee pissing down his leg in the 4th qtr because we needed him to make plays that was  Watson's belief and play calling.

We got he ball back with around 5 minutes and 2 time outs.  Instead of having Robinson in who was at 80 yards for the day we had Roy in there the guys HURTING C'mon bench him till he's better He// Green and Mendoza tore up Tech for a socore.  But NOOO Well I thought maybe we would run some outs or draws for him and maybe he could get us back on track. But NO long pass after panickie long pass from Lee NONE WERE DROPPED BY THE WR's. 

No we got in the shietgun maybe ran once then passed down field 10 yards plus at a time for the BIG play. The Big play was not needed just 5-7 yards and first downs. 

Yeah I blame Watson simple short routes used in the first half were FORGOTTEN running when ISU thought we were PASSING!! Yeah I blame Watson!!! Not calling the plays that were successful earlier AGAIN in crunch time!!!!Yeah I blame Watson  Shietgun  passing only to 12 to 15 yards outs when your down by 2 with 2 time outs and still 4 minutes on the clock!!!

YEAH I BLAME WATSON FOR THE CALLS AND LEE FOR NOT EXECUTING THEM WHEN IT COUNTED THERE WERE NO PENALTIES SACKS OR DROPPS JUST BAD PLAY CALLING AND ENOUGH BAD PASSES FOR INT'S AND A PUNT.

OOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHH YYYYYYYEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

I blame Watson


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