The Blame Game: Nebraska Cornhuskers Lose In Epic Collapse
31-10. It's what the scoreboard said at the end of a stunning game.
To say Husker Nation was stunned today wouldn't be the word. The word I am looking for is more serious, more upsetting, with more consequence. The word I would chose for this loss is devastating .
On the heels of one of the most incredible comebacks in recent Husker history, a supposed turning point not only of the season but in the program, Nebraska dropped an egg on the field today and it all started in the first quarter.
Who is to blame for the 21-point throttling vs. Texas Tech, though? Is it the defense? Certainly not. They held one of the best offenses in the nation to only 24 points in the game (seven points came off of a Niles Paul fumble) and they held the vaunted Texas Tech offense to only 259 yards of offense.
Was it the offense? Well in many ways it was, scoring only 10 points against the Red Raiders almost guarantees a loss. Not punching it in in the red zone costs games, but the offense did amass more total yardage than the Red Raiders with 285.
The blame to me actually falls on two singular units. That's right, just two. And no, one of them is not the quarterback.
People may call me short-sighted, they may even call me stupid. But to me, Zac Lee was not the reason we lost the game. Sure, Cody Green threw a touchdown pass, that's great, but he also threw an interception in the end zone.
Zac Lee's line isn't horrible: 16 of 22 with 128 yards and no interceptions could be enough to win a game.
So who am I blaming for the loss today if it's not the quarterback, running backs, or the defense?
The offensive line and the wide receivers.
Watching the game today I couldn't help but notice the lack of production from the Wide Receivers. Dropped balls, less than crisp routes, and poor execution led to Zac's inability to move the ball down the field.
Not that Zac Lee was perfect, no not by any stretch of the imagination, but the wide receivers didn't help things.
In what ended up being the key play of the game in my eyes, Niles Paul dropped a perfectly thrown screen pass, or should I say lateral, at about the 20-yard line of Texas Tech.
Paul didn't attempt to recover, in fact it appeared he didn't even care as Nebraska fans were forced to watch big Daniel Howard rumble 82 yards for the touchdown that put Texas on top 14-0.
Niles Paul holds on to that ball and this was a different ball game. Maybe even a winnable one.
The offensive line played horrid once again. Ricky Henry had plenty of penalties to add to his lack of blocking skills.
And when receivers were getting open, the line wasn't giving Lee any time, and say what you want, but the offensive line played no better with Cody Green in the game.
I could count until my mind went numb how many times the offensive line and wide receivers didn't execute today.
I'l leave you with something to think about: Nebraska had the ball inside the Red Raider red zone five times and only came out of it with a touchdown and a field goal.
That's a 20% success rate in the red zone, definitely not good enough to win a game against a team like Texas Tech.
In fact, if Nebraska is able to score a touchdown on each of those three possessions inside the 20, and take away the fumble that shouldn't have been, and Nebraska wins this game by a score of 31-24.
But, could've, should've, would've scenarios are always a loser's consolation. And that's what Nebraska was today, the loser.
The only thing left to do. Pick it up, dust it off, and move on to a game against Iowa State.
Win the next two games you guys and you are still 6-2 going into a game against Oklahoma. It's time for a wake up call. And I'm making mine to the wide receivers and the offensive line.
If there is one thing a Bo Pelini coached team as exemplified it is the ability to remain resilient. It's time to dig deep and press on, a 6-0 or 5-1 ending to the season is not out of the question.
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