Like any Husker fan, I don't like to dredge up memories of 2007. Nobody likes remembering massacres of biblical proportions or watching Bill Callahan stand seemingly indifferent on the sidelines as opposing teams rang up the scoreboard like they were playing Madden on XBox instead of facing a once-proud program.
While Kevin Cosgrove led the Husker defense to the septic tank of the NCAA rankings (including giving up 38 points per game), the other side of the ball was an entirely different story. In the last three games of that doomed season, the Huskers rang up 39, 73, and 51 points.
The fans were only left to wonder what the team would be able to do if they had a defense that could even play in the top 50, let alone an elite unit like the one residing in Lincoln this season.
When Callahan got the axe and Pelini was hired, many fans were thankful Watson was retained. The thought process was, with Pelini fixing the moribund defensive unit and Watson keeping his job, the offense would continue humming until the defense was on par. When a team's offense and defense are both ranked in the top 25, it's not hard to come to the conclusion you're going to win your fair share of games.
Last year, with the offense still residing in the top 25 and putting up 35 points per game, the defense rose halfway up the rankings to the mid-50s, which led to a nine-win season and a (perhaps unwarranted) large amount of optimism heading into this season.
Halfway through, well...let's just say things haven't worked out quite as well as we expected.
On the defensive side, the Huskers took another quantum leap under Pelini, jumping into the top 25 in nearly every defensive category. The only one where they still haven't cracked?
Turnover margin. Having Zac Lee and Team Anvil Hands in the offensive backfield isn't helping that cause.
What has been stunning has been just how far the offense has regressed. It would be one thing if only Zac Lee was playing poorly. However, the fault can't be piled on his efforts alone. The ineptitude has been spread all across the skill positions.
Nebraska's offense now finds itself ranked 58th in the country. That's funny, because it's pretty much exactly where their defensive counterparts found themselves last year.
How did we get here? How on earth do we have the best Husker defense in 10 years, only to watch it completely wasted by an offensive stink bomb that nobody saw coming?
To think, if we had last year's offense was still here, we very well could be undefeated. I guess the lesson to take away from this article is that I really miss Joe Ganz and Nate Swift. Who knew Watson's offense would fall so far so fast?
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